F.D.A. Bids to Regulate Animal Food, Acting After Recall and Deaths

 

Pigs ate at a farm in Middletown, Pa., in 2012.

JESSICA KOURKOUNIS FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
By SABRINA TAVERNISE
October 25, 2013

The Food and Drug Administration proposed rules on Friday that would govern the production of pet food and farm animal feed for the first time.

The regulation would help prevent food-borne illness in both animals and people, officials at the agency said, as people can become sick from handling contaminated animal food and from touching pets that have eaten it.

The proposal comes six years after the biggest pet food recall in history, when a Chinese producer contaminated dog and cat food with melamine, a compound used in plastics, causing the deaths of animals across the United States.

The public outcry helped lead to the inclusion of animal food in the Food Safety and Modernization Act, a landmark food safety bill, which passed with broad support in 2010 and was the first major overhaul of the Food and Drug Administration’s food safety laws since the 1930s. It gives the F.D.A. more control over food imports as well as broad new powers to set standards to prevent contamination of produce and processed food. The rules proposed Friday offer details on how this would be accomplished.

Jerky treats have also caused pet deaths. Since 2007, the F.D.A. has counted about 580 pet deaths, nearly all dogs, connected to chicken, duck and sweet potato jerky treats, nearly all of which were imported from China. It is not clear if the new regulations could have prevented the deaths because the F.D.A. is not sure yet what the hazard is.

The agency had received more than 3,000 complaints about the jerky over five years. The reports involve more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats. One sickness associated with the treats, an illness of the kidneys known as Fanconi syndrome, appears to be concentrated more in smaller dogs, the agency said.

The proposal is open for public comment for 120 days. If passed, it would regulate the production of feed for millions of farm animals, including cows, pigs and chickens, as well as pet food. In all, there are about 78 million dogs and 86 million cats as household pets in the United States.

Much like regulations proposed for human food this year, the rules would require makers of animal food sold in the United States to develop a written plan to prevent food-borne illnesses, like salmonella, and to put it into effect. Producers would need to put protective procedures into place at critical points in the production process where problems are likely to arise.

For example, for canned dog food, producers might have to set up a system to monitor whether the food has been cooked long enough at the right temperature, said Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine. They would also need to keep records to document it.

“We know from experience that when the system doesn’t deliver, people get irate,” Mr. Taylor said. “It’s all about having a systematic plan to make the food safe.”

The rules would also require producers to correct problems that arise and re-evaluate their plans at least every three years. And they would require them to maintain standards of cleanliness for the facilities and people who work in them. Smaller businesses would have more time to comply with the rules, once they become final. If companies do not comply, the agency said it could take any number of actions, including issuing warning letters, advising consumers, and in some cases, seizing products and prosecuting producers.

The proposal does not address the use of antibiotics given to animals, sometimes in feed. Public health advocates warn that the practice is contributing to dangerous levels of antibiotic resistance in humans.

 

 

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2013/10/26/health/fda-moves-to-regulate-food-for-animals.html

Jerky treat recall: 600 pet deaths and 3,600 fall ill, list of pet treat recalls

October 23, 2013
A jerky treats recall is making headline news Wednesday morning after a variety of jerky pet treats are included in the recall. The jerky treats that fall under this recall are all made in China and they are suspected to have caused the death of 600 pets and sickened 3,600 others, according to “Fox and Friends” live on Wednesday Oct. 23.

The Christian Science Monitor today reports that the FDA is asking for the help of pet owners whose dogs and cats have become sick after eating a jerky treat. The FDA has no idea why so many animals have gotten sick and died after eating these pet treats. They are asking that you report any sickness or death of your pet after eating these products to the FDA.

The majority of the deaths and illnesses prompting this jerky treat recall have been dogs, but a small amount of cats are included out of the 3,600 illnesses. The symptoms come on rather quickly after the pet eats one of the jerky treats:

Within hours of pets eating one of these jerky treats they can suffer from a decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting and diarrhea among other symptoms. These treats are sold under a variety of brand names as jerky tenders or strips made of chicken, duck, sweet potatoes or dried fruit. Most of these jerky treats were made in China.

The FDA reports that severe cases of sickness after a pet ingesting a treat have occurred, which involves kidney failure, gastrointestinal bleeding, and a rare kidney disorder. The companies below have voluntarily recalled their products.

The Jerk treat recalls include:

Nestle Purina PetCare Co. recalled:

Waggin’ Train
Canyon Creek Ranch brand dog treats

Del Monte Corp. recalled:
Milo’s Kitchen Chicken Jerky
Chicken Grillers home-style dog treats

Publix stores recalled their private brand of:
Chicken Tenders Dog Chew Treats

IMS Pet Industries Inc. recalled:
Cadet Brand Chicken Jerky Treats sold in the U.S.

Other companies had removed their jerky treats from the store shelves when in January a New York state lab found evidence of up to six drugs in some of the jerky treats made in China.
You can read the entire FDA statement on the jerky treats recalls here on the FDA website.

 

http://www.examiner.com/article/jerky-treat-recall-600-pet-deaths-and-3-600-fall-ill-list-of-pet-treat-recalls

 

 

FDA to vets: Watch out for jerky pet treats; some linked to illness, death

By CNN Staff

updated 9:53 PM EDT, Tue October 22, 2013
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The FDA says it’s received reports of thousands of pets getting sick
  • Official: “This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered”
  • The agency asks veterinarians to report illnesses tied to jerky pet treats
  • The FDA says most of the treats involved were made in China

(CNN) — The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a message for veterinarians and pet owners: If dogs or cats get sick after eating jerky pet treats, let us know.

The agency says it’s received reports of more than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats that got sick after eating jerky pet treats since 2007. Of those cases, the FDA says, more than 580 pets have died.

“This is one of the most elusive and mysterious outbreaks we’ve encountered,” said Bernadette Dunham, director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.

“Most of the jerky treats implicated have been made in China,” the FDA said. Investigators have tested more than 1,200 samples but haven’t uncovered what could be causing the illnesses.

On Tuesday, the FDA issued a letter to veterinarians asking for helptracking the illnesses. The agency also released a fact sheet for pet owners warning of possible symptoms, including decreased appetite, decreased activity, vomiting, diarrhea, increased water consumption and increased urination.

“FDA recommends that pet owners whose pet becomes sick after eating jerky pet treats should hold on to any unused portion of the product in its original container for at least 60 days, in case FDA calls to request samples for testing,” the fact sheet says. “Owners should place the container inside a sealable plastic bag, if possible.”

The FDA says there isn’t a particular brand for which consumers should watch.

“The illnesses have been linked to many brands of jerky treats,” the FDA says. “The one common factor the cases share is consumption of a chicken or duck jerky treat or jerky-wrapped treat, mostly imported from China.”

hdr-us

 

My Dog and I: Ouch, my feet hurt!

The other day I had an annoying pebble in my shoe I wanted to get rid off.  So, I stepped out of my shoe and put my toes on the pavement –OUCH, the ground was so hot that I actually burnt my toes!

egg-frying-on-sidewalk

Ozzie sat next to me, happily, looking up at me with that loveable, huge grin that is so characteristic for him.  This made me think:  if I burn my toes on the hot pavement, what about his little paws?  I figured I already knew the answer, but I did some research just to be sure.

Here is what I found out:

People think: Dog paws have protective calluses and won’t burn on hot pavement.
Not so: A dog’s paws can and will burn when exposed to extremely hot surfaces such as pavement, sand, concrete, asphalt and so forth.  Test the ground; hold your bare hand or, as in my case foot, on a sidewalk for 5 seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin to handle it is also too hot for your dog’s paws to handle.  In fact, Fido’s pads cannot only burn but blister, too.

People think: Dog paws have protective calluses and won’t burn on hot pavement.
Not so: A dog’s paws can and will burn when exposed to extremely hot surfaces such as pavement, sand, concrete, asphalt and so forth.  Test the ground; hold your bare hand or, as in my case foot, on a sidewalk for 5 seconds. If it’s too hot for your skin to handle it is also too hot for your dog’s paws to handle.  In fact, Fido’s pads cannot only burn but blister, too.

People think: Oh, I have her winter booties; they should protect her from the hot ground when I take her for a walk.
Not so: If you put outright winter boots on your dog’s feet in the summer, chances are that he will sweat even more.  According to Thais Zoe, author of Lucky Duck Living, “dogs have the ability to cool their paws through the in-between of their pads”.  Heat rises from the ground up and gets trapped in the boots.

mainA much better alternative is Pawz boots (because they don’t trap the heat and the dog actually has traction, and, therefore, she can walk properly) or Musher’s Secret, which is a super dense wax that protects paw pads in extreme temperatures –hot or cold.

Musher's-S

I love this stuff, I use it on my arms when they are scratched-up from the rose garden, or from playing with my cats and puppies, I use it on my chapped hands and lips, I use it on Oskar’s nose and pads, and I use it as a general heal-all remedy for minor surface injuries.  Trust me, my husband thinks I’m nuts. But hey, if it works, why not 😉

The point is that it’s easy to misunderstand or overlook our pets’ discomfort.  We need to pay close attention to their body language as well as other signs.  Our French Bulldog, Oskar, always has a huge smile on his face, even when he’s panting like crazy.  So, if you can’t walk your pup in the shade, take preventive steps.

As Dr. Patty Kuhl points out in her PetMD article If You Can’t Stand the Heat … On Burnt Pad Denial in Dogs,  “Your dog would probably follow you to the ends of the earth and never complain.”

Woof, woof & meow!

Images courtesy of: Dietmar Hoepfl, Musher’s Secret.net, Pawz.com

May is National Pet Month!

National-Pet-Month

Since May is national Pet Month, lets all celebrate our Pets! Here are 6 gifts we can give to our pets:

ADD AN ID CHIP.

A microchip is the single best way to ensure that our pets will make their way back to usin case they run off, or get lost.
homeagain-microchips-facts

HEALTHY WEIGHT.

To ensure strong and healthy joints and our pets’ overall longevity, we can make sure we feed them properly, keep table scraps out of their bowl, and create opportunities for exercise.
Penny and Benny blue copy

THE BIG FIX.

Getting our dog or cat spayed or neutered not only reduces the likelihood of unwanted offspring,
but it offers many health benefits, too.
BigFix1

PEST PREVENTION.

It takes year-round vigilance to prevent fleas and worms-our pets’ good health depends on it.
flea-lifecycle

DENTAL CARE.

We can’t let our pets suffer from tooth or gum disease. We can consult with our vet about keeping our pets’
mouth clean and healthy.
pet_dental_health

VACCINATIONS.

We should visit our vet regularly and make sure our cats and dogs are up to date on all of their immunizations.
0810-noncore

Images courtesy of: all-pets-info.com, valleyanimalcoalition.org, catinfo.org, vetcoclinics.com, k9fitclub.com, kewbeachvets.com

My Dog and I: Mommy, Mommy, My Harness is Pinching Me!

My blog post of April 3rd “Improperly Fitted Harness is Dangerous” has generated a whole bunch of requests for more information, so, I followed the call.

image-19

Anyone out there who loves a soft harness?  Somebody who prefers an H-harness to a traditional harness?  How about a Buddy harness, a Rope-on the Go harness?  Oh, yes, and how about a Halti, or an Easy-Walk harness, or a No-pull harness, or any other specialized harness?

Confused?  I’m not surprised, because there are countless styles of dog harnesses available today, and making the right choice for your particular dog can pose an almost impossible challenge.

Bottom line is this, whatever type of restraint you chose for your dog, buying a harness is not just a matter of personal preference, because even dogs from the same breed come in different sizes, shapes, weight, girth and so forth.  So, go and get help; the best way to fit your dog with a harness is to take him to the store with you!  There, trained staff will assist you in finding the right style and fit, so you won’t pick form over function, or beauty over safety, and still end up with a rockin’ piece of safety gear for Fido.  This may take some time and a few fittings, but any decent retailer will do this for you and your dog.  All staff at The Jumping Bulldog are trained to fit a harness properly, and none of us will let a dog walk out of the store with an ill-fitting restraint because it’s dangerous.

A harness that is not fitted appropriately can cause chafing, bruising, chocking, it can affect a dog’s gait and posture, and a dog can simply slip out and run off.

As for Ozzie, he lives in all kinds of funky step-in harnesses.  They are easy to use and adjust; they provide an even distribution of pressure around the dog’s chest and they are choke-free (no tracheal interference). Equally important is that he feels comfortable in them.  How do I know this?  No, he didn’t tell me.  But I know my dog, and if he is a piece of gear that doesn’t fit right, or feels too stiff, or is itchy, or pinches him somewhere, he will not move –not even for a t-bone steak!  But he loves his step-ins, and when it’s time for a walk I lay his harness on the floor, he steps into it on his own, and trots happily along my side -and that makes a mom happy.

Step-in Harness

 

 

 

 

Those are the facts.

Then there is my husband’s philosophy that says that Oskar’s harnesses should be pre-worn for a proper fit.  Similar to those special people in England who hire someone to walk-in their shoes for six months, or wear their suits before personal use (No, I am not kidding!).  So, my advice is to listen to me, instead of my husband 😉

To learn more check out this great articleDog Harnesses – makes, models and colors explained I found on Squidoo, or write to us at info@jumpingbulldog.com.

Woof, woof & meow

 

Images © The Jumping Bulldog