Is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) agency disorganised to the point where it undermines their effectiveness in protecting the health of pets? There are indications that it is disorganised. When a government agency is disorganised it is unable to fully discharge its duties and the machinery of government fails to operate properly – government can’t govern. This is what is happening in the UK. For example, border controls are inadequately organised and manned. There are numerous other examples such as the Inland Revenue failing to collect taxes adequately.
The reason why I ask whether the FDA is disorganised is because there is an interesting article on the truth about pet food website in which the author of the article, Susan Thixton, states that she presented a freedom of information request (FOIA) to the FDA concerning the number of complaints that they had received about Beneful Dog Food. In the USA, this is a notorious food that has caused many serious dog health problems.
The response was that they had received 11 complaints over 2 years. This was puzzling because the Veterinary Information Network (Vin News) reported in March 2015 that the FDA had informed them, “since January 2011, the FDA has received approximately 400 reports about Beneful pet foods. FDA spokeswoman Megan Bensette said the reports reference approximately 480 sick dogs and 140 deaths, including one cat”. In addition, in March 2013, the FDA told Susan they had received eight consumer complaints for March 2013 but their response to the freedom of information request shows a single complaint.
There are conflicting reports emanating from FDA. This squares up with a statement from a nice employee at the FDA who spoke to Susan on the telephone when he said (in relation to testing the product), “there are many divisions of FDA, it’s sometimes hard to locate records”. This appears to be an admission that the FDA is unable to retrieve information effectively because its systems are not joined up. Another example of FDA inefficiency is the 3031 days (as at the date of this post) that the FDA have been investigating pet deaths and illnesses thanks to eating Chinese jerky treats. How much time do they need?
The indications are that the FDA is perhaps not as organised as it should be which, if true, puts the onus on cat and dog guardians to be extra vigilant and take the responsibility upon themselves to protect their pets from defective manufactured foods. The point is: can people rely upon the FDA to look after their interests and those of their pets? The response is probably ‘no’ and thanks to the internet pet owners are nowadays more able to research matters themselves.
Historically, large government organisations and agencies including quangos have a tendency to become inefficient for various reasons one of which is that they are funded by the taxpayer. There is no competition to drive efficiency. There is probably some lobbying going on too. Manufacturers lobby (pressurise) legislators who then pass it on to government agencies.