The FDA and the Pet Food Recall

The current pet food recall has placed considerable scrutiny upon the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There is an increasing focus on the inadequacies of the agency. Alka Chandna reports in The Mercury News:

“When dogs and cats began to sicken and die after eating certain brands of commercial food, the public had the right to expect swift action from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to resolve the situation. That’s not what we got. Instead, FDA officials have dithered, hemmed and hawed and appear more interested in protecting manufacturers’ reputations than in preventing more suffering and death.”

link: FDA chief has failed to protect U.S. pets

The article is disturbing in many respects.

Personally, I have found the FDA web site to be lacking. The news is not updated in a timely fashion. One would think that the FDA web site would be the prime source of information during this troubling recall. Unfortunately, other news sources are first to report. Granted that the FDA is not a news services, this problem though is part of its public mandate.

One obvious missing data point is the number of deaths that can be attributed to this food contamination problem. An up-to-date count is not available on the site. If it is available, then it is my error and I have not found it, after numerous searches by myself and others with whom I am in direct contact regarding this pet food fiasco. A count would allow the public to gauge the extent and magnitude of the problem. In this day of government data bases, surely it would not be that difficult to have veterinarians and state health officials report and have the data aggregated. It is important public information. The lack of disclosure of such information raised doubts and concerns about the agency itself.

The government and the pet food industry will learn that pet owners are a unique segment of the population. Pet owners will not let this debacle pass quietly. And that is an absolute certainty.

Catherine Forsythe
Director of Operations
FlyingHamster: http://flyinghamster.com/

[tags]fda, pet food, recall, security, health, data base, news, pet owners, catherine forsythe[/tags]