Here's something to chew on:
Raw meat guidance document
Â· The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has announced the availability of the draft guidance entitled Manufacture and Labeling of Raw Meat Foods for Companion and Captive Noncompanion Carnivores and Omnivores. This draft guidance document is intended to provide specific guidance on the manufacture and labeling of foods that contain raw meat, or other raw animal tissues, for consumption by dogs, cats, other companion or pet animals and captive noncompanion animal carnivores and omnivores.
The FDA does not believe that raw meat foods are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets. According to the FDA, for firms choosing to manufacture and market raw meat and raw animal tissue products, more specific guidance is warranted for how such products could be manufactured and labeled to protect pet owners and pets from risks involving food safety and nutritional deficiency.
Comments on the draft guidance must be submitted within 75 days of publication in the Federal Register (December 18, 2002) to ensure their consideration in preparation of the final document. Electronic comment submissions can be sent to www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments.
Comments should be identified with the full title of the draft guidance document and the docket number 02D-0468. For further information, contact William Burkholder, Center for Veterinary Medicine, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet Food Institute label study
Â· The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is in the process of considering a BSE-related precautionary label on all petfood sold at retail that would state â€œdo not feed to cattle or other ruminantsâ€Â¾even though there is no BSE risk in the US currently. The proposed label on petfood is part of the agencyâ€™s examination of the overall BSE prevention efforts.
The Pet Food Institute (PFI) conducted a survey to determine what the consumer impact of such a statement would be. As the survey revealed, the impact could be very damaging to the petfood industry. The deadline for comments to the FDA on this issue is February 4, 2003. PFI encourages petfood manufacturers to make their position known to FDA before the deadline.
The survey results were obtained from a poll of pet owners who make buying decisions about petfood. They were not given any prior knowledge that the proposed label had anything to do with BSE prevention. The poll was designed to be representative of the US population and was conducted for PFI by Edge Research of Falls Church, Virginia, USA.
According to survey results, when consumers saw a label that said â€œdo not feed to cattle or other ruminantsâ€ on petfood, a full 42% had a negative reaction to it. An additional 16% were not sure about it and 35% were neutral. When asked about the safety of the product, if it had that label, 56% would be very (38%) or somewhat (18%) concerned. When asked what the reaction would be if they knew the label was required by the FDA, the 56% that were concerned increased to 57%.
One of the most telling statistics found in the survey, was that if consumers saw the label on petfood, 17% would feed their pet something else like table scraps or homemade food. This possible 17% decline represents a US$2 billion reduction in petfood sales (17% of $12 billion in sales for 2001 = $2 billion). This could mean serious problems for the petfood industry, even though there is currently no BSE in the United States and the current rule already requires the labeling of salvage or distressed petfood.
PFI has made education about handling salvage and distressed petfood one of its top priorities. PFI still has plenty of Handling Salvage and Distressed Petfood brochures available for free to anyone who might need them. Contact Stephen Payne for your copies.
Stepping away from what this rule could do to petfood sales, PFIâ€™s survey also found that 19% of consumers would be very (10%) or somewhat (9%) concerned about the safety of beef and lamb products they buy for themselves. Almost one-fifth had safety concerns about things they would eat and BSE was never mentioned in the survey. PFI believes that these numbers would increase when consumers learned that the label was placed by FDA as a measure to prevent the spread of BSE, if it were ever found in the US.
For those of you scratching your heads and asking yourself what is BSE it is also known as Mad Cow Disease.