The FDA governs foods – finished ready to eat foods and the ingredients within. But, the USDA governs raw meat. The FDA is obsessed with Salmonella (rightfully so – but they are obsessed with little else). The USDA doesn’t care about Salmonella – it is not on their radar. Combine the two, FDA standards and USDA standards – add in pet food/treats and the rant begins.
Simply put, the USDA’s job is to make certain an animal to be slaughtered is healthy, the meat tissue is healthy (no tumors, no drug contaminations, and so on). Salmonella is not their concern.
On the other hand, it is the FDA’s job to make certain any food is not contaminated – such as contaminated with bacteria like Salmonella. Except – and this is a big exception – raw meat. The FDA considers raw meat an unfinished food – so its not their concern. Raw meat for human consumption is USDA’s concern. But, if that raw meat is used in or is part of a finished food – such as in a pet food/treat or as a pet food (a raw pet food) – then the ‘food’ falls back into FDA’s control.
Walk into your grocery – the entire raw meat section is of no concern to FDA. The FDA considers raw meat an unfinished food. One step away, to a finished food containing meat…different ballgame. Finished foods – ready to eat – the FDA governs. But one step back to the raw meat section, the USDA governs. Remember – the USDA does not have Salmonella on their radar. The USDA has told me they assume every piece of meat – inspected and approved for human consumption – is contaminated with bacteria. The USDA does not test for bacteria, and they don’t reject/condemn for bacteria contamination.
Now enter raw pet food; held to a different regulatory standard. Raw pet food is a ‘finished/ready to eat food’ – though it is still raw meat. Because it is a ready to eat food, it now falls into FDA’s scope of control. The FDA can swarm in with their Salmonella test kits swabbing the floor, the walls, and everything in-between for Salmonella in a raw pet food manufacturing facility. But not a grocery meat department. That’s off limits – it’s USDA’s control. It does not seem to matter that the entire meat section in your local grocery could be full of bacteria.
Somehow, regulatory authorities feel consumers know how to properly handle raw meat for human consumption, but pet food consumers aren’t intelligent enough to do the same with raw meat pet food.
The very same product – raw meat – in a grocery store, is not held to the same standard that raw meat pet food is held to. No regulatory authority swarms the grocery meat department with their Salmonella test kits. No regulatory authority swarms a poultry processing facility with their Salmonella test kits.
By the way – FDA, consider this an official dare. I challenge you to take your Salmonella test kits into any grocery and swab the floors and walls and meat containers and raw products – just the same way you do to pet food/treats. I dare you to take your Salmonella test kits into any poultry processing plant; please make certain to take the very same samples/swabs you do at U.S. raw pet food or pet treat plants. While you are at it – take those swabs back to China too. Swab those Chinese jerky treats before they are blasted with ridiculous levels of irradiation. Test swab the floors and the walls in the Chinese plants as well. Be sure to share your results with us – inquiring minds want to know.
You – as a human food consumer – are allowed to purchase raw meat contaminated with Salmonella, but you – as a pet food consumer – are not.
Where is the regulatory sanity? It’s perfectly acceptable by FDA for pet food to include diseased euthanized animals as rendered ingredients, but not Salmonella.
Do not misinterpret this as condoning Salmonella or any bacterial contamination. But do interpret this as my personal rant to the absurdity of regulatory control (or lack thereof) to food; human and pet food.
I want to know where is the aflatoxin testing of pet foods/treats? Were is the pesticide contamination testing of pet foods/treats? Where is the pet food/treat testing on contaminants that are well known to kill pets?
Rant over – fury remains.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Association for Truth in Pet Food
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
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