Hundreds of animals have died after eating jerky treats, and thousands more became ill. Unlike foods for humans, foods for pets have never been regulated in the U.S. But on Friday, the Food and Drug Administration proposed regulation to govern the production of pet food and animal feed.
The FDA proposed rules would require makers of pet food and animal feed to develop a plan to prevent food-borne illnesses, such as salmonella, in both animals and the people who can become sick from handling the contaminated animal food.
Procedures would need to be put in place at points in the production process where issues may arise, such as monitoring the temperature of the foods cooked for canned dog food.
Under the rules, facilities would be required to maintain standards of cleanliness.
If passed, the production of feed for millions of farm animals, including cows, pigs and chickens will be affected, as will production of pet food.
The FDA has received more than 3,000 complaints about jerky over the past five years. Approximately 580 pet deaths, mostly dogs, have been reported to the FDA since 2007. The deaths were connected to chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats imported from China. It is not known whether the deaths could have been prevented had there already been regulation in place, since the FDA reportedly does not yet know the source of contamination.
The FDA will hold a series of public meetings and take comments for 120 days before the new rules become a law within 60 days after the comment period closes. See more at fda.gov.
Click here to go to the group Animal Parents Against Pet Treats Made in China on Facebook.
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