Archive for February, 2014

An important opportunity to improve pet food safety

DVM360 Magazine

Veterinarians, pet owners need rigorous testing to be mandatory.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has requested public comment on a proposed regulation called the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA, for short), intended to strengthen the safety of pet food and animal feed sold in the United States. If it’s done right, this regulation has the potential to significantly improve the safety of pet food, prevent recalls and assure the public that it can depend on the safety of the food fed to family pets.

There is currently no requirement that pet food factories test finished products for contamination from Salmonella. Finished product testing means that after a food product goes through manufacturing but before it is shipped, it goes through one final round of testing to ensure that the product is safe. Most major pet food manufacturers already undertake such procedures—and have strong internal food safety programs—but these food safety standards are voluntary and are not universally implemented across the pet food industry.

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Consumer research demonstrates need for pet food label reform

DVM360 Magazine

Most veterinary clients have no idea what labeling mean for their pets’ health.

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Attention, veterinarians: Do your clients read the labels on the food they feed their pets—the list of ingredients, the feeding guide or the “guaranteed analysis”? Do these labels influence how and what they feed? Do they make sense and are they easy to understand?

According to recent research conducted by a major U.S. pet food manufacturer, most pet owners would answer “no” to all of the above questions. Most consumers do not read pet food labels, and when they do, they often find them overwhelming and confusing. As a result, the information provided is not meaningful and is not used as intended to guide consumer purchasing and feeding decisions.

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Policy future looks bright with new generation of veterinary students

DVM360 Magazine

Boots on the ground makes a big difference in Congress.

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More than 65 U.S. veterinary students took two days off from classes this week for a good cause. These representatives of accredited U.S. schools met in Washington, D.C., with AVMA’s leadership and its Governmental Relations Division to learn how to be effective in advancing the policy agenda of America’s veterinarians. Banfield Pet Hospitals served as event sponsor to defray travel costs for the students.

After an advocacy “boot camp” on Feb. 10, the students and AVMA leaders hit Capitol Hill on Feb. 11 to meet with senators and representatives. A prime topic was the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act, previously discussed here, in addition to equine soring and transportation issues.

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