By Susan Thixton. The Truth About Pet Food

More information regarding the denial to attend the Petfood Forum and follow up information on our Citizen Petition to the FDA.

I take detailed notes when I speak with anyone in the pet food industry.  I want to be sure, should I need to report on what I'm being told, to get things accurate.  Well...yesterday I found the notes of my original conversation with Steve Akins (Watts Publishing, Petfood Forum - that told me no I cannot attend their industry conference) requesting a pass to the forum and workshop.

My conversation with Steve Akins, Vice President of Watt Publishing took place on February 3, 2011.  I called him to inquire about a press pass for the 2011 Petfood Forum to be held in Chicago in April.  I introduced myself and asked how I could go about getting a press pass for the event.  I told him that I wanted to attend the event to report to Pet Owners.  Mr. Akins was quite pleasant, and told me he'd have to consult with others including business partners - those that his company caters to - before he could respond.  Regarding my attendance to the event, they would have to discuss "what kind of risk does it pose".  When I assured him that my intentions were to provide Pet Owners with further education on the industry he made a very telling statement (which I wrote down word for word).  I quote, "No matter what your intentions are, they are very protected." 'They' being the 'business partners' that participate at these events; such as pet food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers, importers, and the like.

When I ran across these notes yesterday - "no matter what your intentions are, they are very protected" jumped off the page at me.  I felt it was significant at the time, but not until after I was denied access to this event - even if I paid their $1095 admission to the Petfood Forum and $655 admission to the Petfood Workshop - did I realize just how significant these words were.

THEY ARE VERY PROTECTED.  Yes...they certainly are.

The only reason they could need to be "very protected" is because they have a great deal to hide.

So then I wondered, was it just me being denied entrance into the Petfood Forum and Workshop or would any Pet Owning Consumer be denied?  I sent this question to our friend Steve Akin at Watt Publications - his response....

No Response.

That's a significant message too isn't it?

An update from our Citizen Petition to the FDA.

In August of 2010, over 500 pet loving citizens signed a petition to the FDA.  Note that this petition is not a typical petition.  An FDA 'Citizen Petition' is the protocol required to request FDA issue, amend, or revoke a regulation or order.  In our case, we were simply asking FDA to enforce existing law.  Yes, it's a bit crazy to have to ask the FDA to enforce the very laws their government organization is designed to enforce...but it's what we had to do.

Well...I just received a response from the FDA.  The following is what they replied, received this week...

January 28, 2011

Re:  Docket No. FDA-2010-P-0416

Dear Ms. Thixton:

This is a tentative response to the Citizen Petition (FDA-2010-P-0416) filed with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on August 5, 2010.  This petition requests the FDA to: enforce all Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) laws with respect to pet foods and pet treats; require the removal from store shelves of pet foods and treats containing certain ingredients until such time that the manufacturer provides evidence that those ingredients are within the guidelines of the FD&C Act; and consider certain pet food and pet treat manufacturers sourcing ingredients from specified sources adulteration to be high risk, thereby requiring frequent FDA inspection and burden of evidence of compliance from the manufacturer.

Pursuant to the administrative regulations at 21 CFR 10.30, FDA is required to respond to your petition within 180 days.  FDA currently is considering the issues raised by your citizen petition.  However, the agency will require additional time to issue a final response due to the existence of other agency priorities at this time.  FDA will issue a final response to your citizen petition after completing the analyses of all the issues raised in the petition.

Sincerely yours,

Bernadette M. Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D.
Director, Center for Veterinary Medicine

How significant a problem is it when ordinary citizens have to ask a Federal agency to enforce the federal laws they are supposed to enforce already?  And I can share with all that from what I know of FDA's history of providing a final response to a citizen petition, it will probably be sometime in next decade that we'll hear from them, if ever.

So...there ya have it.  We pesky educated pet food consumers pose a risk to protected industry and are causing the FDA to spend time analyzing why they should enforce federal pet food safety laws.

Wishing you and your pet the best,

Susan Thixton
Truth about Pet Food
Petsumer Report