Friday, October 25, 2013

FDA Unveils New Rules to Make Animal Food Safer

Posted By on Fri, Oct 25, 2013 at 11:24 AM

In what it promises to be sweeping new safety for pets and farm animals, the Food and Drug Administration announced this morning that it would tighten the leash on production of animal feed for the first time.

The proposal comes nearly six years after the biggest pet food recall in history, tied to to a Chinese producer, that caused the deaths of animals across the United States. The outcry triggered the Food Safety and Modernization Act in 2010, giving the FDA more control over the production and processing of animal food.

The proposed rules would require those who sell pet food and animal feed in the United States—including importers—to follow certain sanitation practices and have detailed food safety plans. All of the manufacturers would have to put individual procedures in place to prevent their food from becoming contaminated.

The rules would also help human health by aiming to prevent food-borne illnesses in pet food that can be transferred to humans. People can become sick by handling contaminated pet food or animal feed.

But the proposal doesn't address the use of antibiotics given to animals, sometimes in feed. Public health advocates warn that it is contributing to dangerous levels of antibiotic resistance in humans.

The proposal is now open for public comment for 120 days.

The FDA said the rule could cost the industry $130 million annually to comply. Smaller businesses would have more time to put the rule in place.

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