Veterinarians should ensure that they keep comprehensive records of health problems created by defective commercially produced petfood and pet guardians who suspect food as a culprit in sickness and death of their cat or dog have an obligation to ask their veterinarian to communicate with the FDA on the matter and provide their report to the FDA.
Veterinarians’ reports can then go hand-in-hand with consumer complaints. Only, in this way, will the FDA be motivated (and be able, they say) to take action against the pet food manufacturer.
The FDA complains that they do not receive enough reports from veterinarians in respect of alleged defective pet food causing ill-health and death in pets despite the fact that they receive many customer complaints.
Without veterinarians reports they say they are unable to take action, as I understand it. The vet’s report should clearly link a specific pet food with a particular illness. For example, if a cat or dog eats various types of pet food made by various manufacturers it would be impossible, the FDA states, to associate a particular pet food to a certain illness unless the vet has isolated the culprit. Therefore the vet’s report needs to be comprehensive and precise.
Here is a specific example of what I am writing about. Purina’s Beneful kibble for dogs has been linked to health problems over many years. Many customers have written to the FDA over the years and nothing has happened. This is incomprehensible to consumers and obviously distressing and frustrating.
In response to one consumer’s complaint about this pet food, Dr Durham the Director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine at the FDA responded:
“FDA has received complaints about Beneful dry kibble and is looking into them. The complaints the Agency received related to Beneful have been primarily from pet owners, which we value very much, however, many of the reports are lacking key information that FDA would need to help determine appropriate follow up. Where possible, it is extremely helpful to have both the veterinarian and the pet owner provide information to the FDA.”
For me and others, the obvious question having read about this is why don’t veterinarians support customer complaints to the FDA with their comprehensive records? It appears that many vets don’t know what to do, or how to report these pet-food health problems, which seems very odd.
It should be very easy for veterinarians to find out what the FDA requires and to ensure that they keep comprehensive records when there are indications that pet food has caused illness in a patient or patients. If one were cynical one could argue that some veterinarians are reluctant to provide the FDA with their records (if they have them) because they may feel that they are potentially damaging the reputation of a business with which they are associated themselves on a commercial basis (i.e. receiving commissions on sales of pet food at their clinics).
Another reason is that it might be difficult for a vet to categorically associate pet health with a certain food on a scientific basis. They may argue that customers often provide anecdotal evidence which is inadequate. However, where there is a flood of customer complains and observations vets must take the matter seriously.
I don’t know, for sure, the reason why the FDA is not receiving enough reports by veterinarians. However, it is probably fair to say that if their clients, cat and dog guardians, made a point of asking them to file a report at the FDA then they should do it and if they don’t, then questions can be asked. In addition, questions could be asked about whether they are, in fact, keeping records under these circumstances.
Cat and dog guardians have a duty to the wider cat and dog population to gently chide and push their vet to take proper action.
- Source: Susan Thixton and her website Truth About Pet Food (via Sandy).
- The FDA have the responsibility to ensure the safety of pet and human foods amongst many other responsibilities.
- There is a lawsuit in progress against Purina concerning Beneful dog food.