Today, the FDA published a video that’s a total must-see for every cat, dog, horse, bird… heck, if you own any flavor of pet, you should see this video.
There are several points of interest to note. First – and it jumps right out at you – is the open acknowledgement that pet foods can not only be contaminated with bacteria (which everyone should be aware of by now), but they can be contaminated often enough to require routine safe handling practices. This was coupled with the additional acknowledgements that hazardous toxins and chemicals can be present in these foods, and that errors can be made during the manufacturing process to cause these foods to become dangerous to the very pets they are meant to nourish.
This is all stated in a very matter of fact manner I find almost chilling.
On the other hand, before a process can be fixed, there needs to be an acknowledgement that it is, in fact, broken.
Second, raw is spoken of nonchalantly in the same breath as commercial foods – even before the presentation begins; the text below the video reads (in part), “No matter whether you give your pet a commercially prepared diet or raw meat, this video describes how you can avoid problems if you follow some basic, commonsense, food safety guidelines.” The FDA refrains from vilifying raw-feeding practices in any manner and during the discussions of pathogens, toxins and their symptoms, the mention of raw foods – by voice or visual – is conspicuously absent.
Now, I hesitate to believe the FDA is tacitly implying raw foods are healthier, but if that’s not a deliberately intended take-away, it’s a pretty interesting oversight, given the overwhelmingly negative manner in which raw feeding is commonly viewed.
Third, the video opens with the statement, “We at FDA have responsibilities for making sure that pet food is safe AND nutritious for your pet.” I love the emphasis on this statement. I think it’s indicative of the pressure the FDA is under to make improvements to the pet food industry, especially as the toxic agent(s) behind the still (unbelievably) available Chinese canine jerky treats continues to elude their best scientists.
Finally, the FDA takes the time to describe pet food-related illnesses and symptoms, and pushes for pet owners to get their animals to the vet for treatment. It then spends a good chunk of time carefully delineating all the ways a pet food or treat product suspected of sickening a pet can be reported (not incidentally remarking upon the number of FDA officials who also own pets).
I find it very telling the FDA has come out with a presentation of this sort. This is more evidence of the growing affection and care with which pets are regarded, and the dawning awareness that the pet foods so readily available – and promoted so heavily as “100% Complete and Balanced” – aren’t everything they’re cracked up to be, or even everything they *should* be.
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