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New FDA regulation takes aim at pet and farm animal food

Just days after pet owners were faced with media reports of continued contamination issues with jerky treats made in China that have caused the deaths of hundreds of animals and sickened thousands, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced a proposal that would strengthen standards for food that is made both for pets and farm animals.

The proposed regulation, which is part of the agency's Food Safety Modernization Act, would cover both domestic and imported animal food. It would encompass pet food and treats and animal feed, as well as ingredients used in those products. As FDA officials have noted in discussing the proposed regulation's inclusion of food given to farm animals, this is a natural step in trying to insure food safety for humans, because they are part of the food chain.

While the FDA already prohibits impurities like salmonella in pet food, currently it does not require manufacturers to follow "current good manufacturing practices" (CGMPs) that include analyzing the food for potential safety hazards and sanitation issues to prevent defective products.

The new regulation could become law within 180 days, following a public comment period of 120 days, and then up to another 60 days after the comment period closes. The FDA says that compliance requirements for companies will depend on their size, with smaller manufacturers being allowed more time.

When humans eat animals, they are eating everything those animals have ingested. Therefore, it only makes sense to try to insure the safety of animal feed, since it is part of the food system for people who consume meat and dairy products. This new FDA regulation can only improve the safety of our food, and that of our beloved four-legged companions.

Source: NBC News, "FDA proposes strict new safety rules for animal food" JoNel Aleccia, Oct. 25, 2013

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