FDA to investigate Salmonella in petfood
Concerns not new, but policy refinement and closer scrutiny likely
As the moderator for the sessions on petfood safety at the 2013 Petfood Forum, I can say without fear of contradiction that Salmonella control was a very hot topic. Multiple speakers addressed the subject, and the information conveyed to the manufacturers in the audience was indeed timely. Most readers are likely aware of the notable uptick in the number of recalls due to potential Salmonella contamination of petfoods in recent months. This may be due to more reports of contamination as mandated under the Reportable Food Registry as well as increased vigilance and testing by state feed control officials.
Regardless, an announcement by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine on its plans to investigate the incidence of Salmonella contamination in petfoods will likely result in even more scrutiny of the industry.
The FDA notice, dated March 22, 2013 (see Sidebar: 2013 Salmonella assignment), indicated that it has issued an assignment to district offices throughout the US to collect an undisclosed number of samples of domestically manufactured petfood products for analysis. The sampling is to include mainstay foods as well as treats and nutritional supplements. Instructions are to collect samples from a wide variety of manufacturers and from different locations; i.e., both from manufacturing sites and from distributors and retailers. The types of petfood to sample are not specified, but since canned foods are expressly excluded from the assignment, it can be assumed that all other types (e.g., extruded, baked, smoked, frozen…