This week the US Food & Drug Administration and the Partnership for Food Protection launched a new web-based system to enable real-time information sharing about pet food incidents.
‘Incidents’ are those occasions that appear to be related to defects in pet foods or illnesses brought on because of the consumption of pet foods. The concept is that federal, state and local authorities that are responsible for regulation of the pet food industry and the tracking of outbreaks of disease in companion animals will register information on the voluntary system. If they suspect a trend or suspicious connection with pet foods, they’ll register their information on the PETNet system.
In 2007, there was the huge recall of pet foods contaminated with melamine and when the events were debriefed, it showed that veterinarians were picking up on a trend but had no readily available platform to share their concerns. Regulatory authorities were slow to react. Through the internet, email systems and professional networks, veterinarians were able to get the word out that there was a problem with pet foods, but not in as quickly as they would have if there was a platform such as PETNet.
The Partnership for Food Protection was established in 2008 by the FDA bringing together federal, state, local, territorial and tribal representatives with expertise in food, feed, epidemiology, laboratory, animal health, environment and public health.
Source: US Food & Drug Administration media statement, 1 August 2011