Pet food manufacturers’ continued efforts to minimize food safety risks in their products are essential.
One big reason why is because FDA has executed a number of significant policy changes, notes Shawn K. Stevens, a global food safety lawyer and founding member of Food Industry Counsel LLC, Random Lake, Wis. His best four-legged friend is a Yorkshire Terrier named Ruby.
FDA’s policy changes are in addition to the agency writing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive regulations, which create complex new requirements for manufacturers of both human and pet foods, Stevens says.
“Those policy changes were developed because, in the last decade, the food industry has witnessed an incredible increase in the numbers of foodborne illness outbreaks and recalls,” Stevens relates. “In 2015 alone, there were more than 500 food products recalled. Many of these recalls were triggered by the presence of harmful pathogens in the food products or resulting outbreaks.”
As part of its enforcement scheme, FDA is now conducting microbiological profiling inside food processing facilities during routine inspections and testing vast amounts of food at retail, Stevens explains. “And, as part of these initiatives, FDA announced that it is now targeting pet food aggressively,” he says.
According to Stevens, regarding FDA policy, while FSMA requires more inspections more often, the agency shift to perform microbiological profiling in food facilities is unwritten. “According to my clients who are scattered across the country, the agency is now doing it as a matter of course, and this has been confirmed to me privately by the agency,” he mentions. “Although FDA routinely samples all foods, including pet foods, at retail, they have in the past announced targeted efforts at pet foods.
About Linda L. Leake, MS
Linda L. Leake, doing business as Food Safety Ink, is a food safety consultant, registered SQF contract auditor, and award-winning freelance journalist based in Wilmington, N.C. Specializing in agriculture, food, food safety, and travel, her articles have appeared in some 89 print and online publications. Along with garnering awards for her articles and photographs, she holds the prestigious Master Writer status with American Agricultural Editors’ Association. Majoring in Dairy Science, she completed a BS in Agriculture at the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Food Safety at Michigan State University. She’s an active member of IAFP, Toxicologists Without Borders, Inc., and the National Dairy Shrine. She’s currently enrolled in the International Development Doctoral Program at the University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast. Reach her at Llleake@aol.com.