FDA Finally Adds Pet Food Manufacturing Requirements

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FDA announces new pet food safety rules

For the first time ever, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced today it is establishing requirements for the current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) for food for animals.

“In addition, we are adding requirements for certain domestic and foreign animal food facilities to establish and implement hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for food for animals,” the FDA stated.

It’s about time.

After thousands of dogs and cats in the United States died eight years ago as a result of eating contaminated pet food, Congress passed the FDA Amendments Act of 2007. It requires improved regulations for pet food safety, including stronger labeling requirements, an early warning system for tainted food, and establishing standards for ingredients and manufacturing.

“However, eight years later, most provisions of the pet food safety law have not been implemented and protections Congress enacted are not in place,” wrote U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg in March.

The senators were requesting an FDA investigation into the class-action lawsuit filed in February claiming that thousands of dogs were sickened or died after eating Beneful dry kibble.

“To our knowledge, the FDA has not issued any investigations, warnings, consumer guidance or product recalls to address these alarming issues,” the senators wrote.

Regarding its new CGMP requirements, which go into effect Nov. 16, the FDA stated, “We are taking this action to provide greater assurance that animal food is safe and will not cause illness or injury to humans and animals, and to implement new statutory provisions in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

“The rule is intended to build an animal food safety system for the future that makes modern science- and risk-based preventive controls the norm across all sectors of the animal food system.”

The Preventive Controls for Animal Food Rule is one of two rules finalized today that will implement the FSMA. The other is the Preventive Controls for Human Food Rule, which will create new safety requirements for facilities that process, package and store food for human consumption.

Photo credit: Tony Alter