The Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) displays its mission on its logo. That is: “Protecting and Promoting Your Health.” (Emphasis in original)
The “you” allegedly encompasses both 2-leggeds and us 4-leggeds. In fact, in a blog post by the FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Stephen Ostroff, titled: “Our Goal in Enforcing Food Safety: A Rapid,Science-Based Response“, Dr. Ostroff argues that the FDA ensures food safety for everyone by being a science-based organization:
“The FDA’s actions have to be based in science and we go where the evidence leads us.”
“Because the FDA acts on science-based evidence, it has credibility with food producers (and their internal and external legal teams) and consumers.”
“Our stated mission to protect public health is more than just words on paper. We are always working to be better at our job…”
Moreover, there are literally dozens of reference to the FDA being a science-based organization throughout its website. In fact, a search of the term “science-based” on the FDA’s website reveals 2,100 such references. Here’s a link.
Us 4-leggeds believe that it would be fair to assume that the word “consumer” encompasses 2-leggeds who purchase commercial pet “foods” for us 4-leggeds. It would also be fair, again us 4-leggeds believe, that the FDA would have a multiplicity (or at least one) science-based studies showing that commercial pet “food” ingredients are safe and nutritious. However, the evidence provides proof that this is not the case (come on you saw this one coming!). Let’s review.
The FDA, like any other governmental organization is ruled by laws written byt eh Congress and enacted by the President. As such, the FDA is bound by the terms of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act which provides, in part, that “adulterated” food cannot be used as “food.” The Act further provides the following definition:
“Adulterated Food” (5) if it is, in whole or in part, the product of a diseased animal or of an animal which has died otherwise than by slaughter.”
This definition applies to pet foods. However, of its own volition, the FDA has carved out an exception which provides:
“Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable.”
This is not federal law, but rather an exception carved out by the FDA based on its interpretation of what the Congress intended. Of course, as far as we know, no one at the FDA officially asked the Congress whether it did or did not intend to carve out such an exception.
In any event, where’s the science to show that such ingredients are safe for us 4-leggeds? Well, thanks to pet food activist Susan Thixton we now know that the FDA does not have such proof or, if it does, it’s not disclosing it.
In response to several Freedom of Information Act requests filed by Ms. Thixton, the FDA replied… you ready? Here goes:
“After searching our files, we did not find the requested records.”
What did Ms. Thixton requested of the FDA? Here goes:
“FDA CVM has Compliance Policy relating to pet food and rendered ingredients. CPG 675.400 Rendered Animal Feed Ingredients and CPG 690.300 Canned Pet Food are the Compliance Policies that I am requesting data on.
I am requesting the CVM data that these Compliance Policies were based on – specifically the data that proves rendered diseased or non-slaughtered animals is not a risk to pets. It is assumed CVM has science to prove diseased and/or non-slaughtered are of no risk to pets. I am requesting the science CVM has on this issue (proof this material is of no risk to pets).”
Ms. Thixton also requested to know how the FDA reached its conclusion that the Congress did not intend for the law to be applied to pet food:
“Also CPG 675.400 states “In addition, the Center for Veterinary Medicine does not believe that Congress intended the Act to preclude application of different standards to human and animal foods under Section 402.” I am requesting the data that CVM bases their “does not believe that Congress intended the Act to preclude…animal food” on. Specifically I am requesting evidence CVM was provided by Congress stating FD&C Act excludes animal food.“
In each instance, the FDA replied that it could not find any record in support of its position. Could it be that the science shows otherwise? Things that make you go “hmmmm”!
If you are just as baffled as us 4-leggeds at the FDA’s interpretation of the Congress’ intent and the use of adulterated ingredients in our “food”, Ms. Thixton provides a sample letter for 2-leggeds to mail or email to their Representatives along with a link to find who they are. Here’s a link to it. Please join my 2-legged in sending this letter to your Representatives.
Happy and healthy eating home-cooked meals made with human-grade ingredients and table scraps,