Susan Thixton earlier this month sent me her newsletter noticing that “In a move that's a day late and a dollar short, the FDA is asking American Veterinary Medical Association members to report complaints about pet food to the FDA."
Here is how the American Veterinarians Medical Association (AVMA) publishes the news on their website:
“The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine is encouraging AVMA members to report complaints about pet food directly to the FDA, particularly in light of last year's adverse events following contamination of ingredients with melamine.
Many practitioners report adverse drug events to drug manufacturers, and the law requires drug manufacturers to submit the reports to the FDA. In the case of pet food, however, manufacturers are not required to submit consumer complaints to the agency. Therefore, the FDA may not learn of any potential problems with a pet food until after the manufacturer has investigated complaints independently and notified the agency that the investigation identified a problem.
Veterinarians and other individuals can report complaints about pet food and other animal feed to the FDA by calling the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in their state. Reports should include product details such as lot number, brand name, expiration date, manufacturer or distributor, and location of purchase. Reports also should include medical information, including signs of illness, numbers of animals that do and do not have the signs, and complete medical histories. Additionally, veterinarians should consider contacting the manufacturer so any necessary investigation can be initiated immediately.”
Interestingly, the notice from the FDA on the AVMA website states that many (veterinary) practitioners report adverse drug events to drug manufacturers, and the law requires drug manufacturers to submit the reports to the FDA. In the case of pet food, however, manufacturers are not required to submit consumer complaints to the agency.
Susan wants to know: “Now why is that? Why wouldn't the FDA require any and all companies that provide food or drugs to US citizens to report complaints from consumers? The FDA regulates all food and food ingredient companies, why shouldn't those food and food ingredient companies be held responsible for their products?
It is a good idea for the FDA to ask veterinarians to report cases of sick pets, but...the next concern is will the veterinarian do it, and how often will a vet actually believe a pet food is the cause of a pet's illness. Time will only tell if this action will help.”
I agree and for my part am very skeptical as to if the vets will follow the call. Reporting such issues could result in having an impact on a for these days many vet’s very lucrative and important profit center in their business. Second, as she says, many vets don’t see the food as a problem. It is, I believe, the reason why some of them are prescribing questionable food in the first place.
By the way, did you know that as a consumer you can report complaints about a pet food to your state FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinator? Information for each state's FDA representative and how to file a complaint can be found at http://www.fda.gov/cvm/petfoods.htm.