Next Gen PFMA, representing our members, will meet with the acting director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at the Center for Veterinary Medicine (FDA) at their headquarters in Rockville Maryland on December 18, 2018. This is the first time a trade association has formally met with the FDA representing needs of the real pet food industry. In this first meeting, the focus of the discussions will be on regulatory handling of raw pet foods.
In 2018, there have been 20 recalls for raw pet food products. In only one case was the recall initiated due to a report of illness. All other recalls were simply due to regulatory action. Contrast with the handling of romaine lettuce-linked illnesses in the United States in 2018 in which almost 400 people were sick and 6 died.
The grand majority of raw pet food manufacturers, and certainly all Next Gen PFMA members, use only USDA inspected and approved meats. Historically, so-called raw food developed in the 1970’s – in actuality, these were companies selling 4-D meat to zoos and greyhound kennels to provide low-cost alternatives to these venues. Raw pet food was not developed nationally until the last 1980’s and USDA inspected and approved meats were the source for the high caliber companies.
The purpose of our meeting with the FDA is to open collaboration. Through conversations with our regulatory colleagues, building relationships based on respect for each other‘s knowledge and perspective, can change be made.
This is just the first of our discussions we will have with the FDA. We have begun collecting information regarding the DCM, dilated cardiomyopathy, concerns in “grain-free” diets. That will be another meeting on another day to present our data to the FDA.
For now, know that Next Gen PFMA works to represent its members, not just in regulatory meetings at AAFCO, which sometimes is hard to understand the relevance, but also at more visible venues such as CVM/FDA.