The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced on Friday (Oct. 25) that it is proposing new safety regulations for pet food and animal feed to prevent foodborne illnesses in both animals and people.
If the new regulations go into effect, pet food producers that sell their products in the United States would have to draw up written plans for preventing foodborne illness and confronting any problems that might arise. In a first, pet food and animal feed makers would also have to follow standard manufacturing practices that address issues like sanitation, the FDA said. The new rule will be open to public comments for 120 days.
"Unlike safeguards already in place to protect human foods, there are currently no regulations governing the safe production of most animal foods. There is no type of hazard analysis. This rule would change all that," Daniel McChesney, director of the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said in a statement.
The news comes days after FDA officials said they are investigating a spate of reports about pets becoming ill or even dying after eating jerky treats, most of which were made in China. The agency is aware of at least 3,600 dogs and 10 cats that became sick after eating such treats in the past six years. Nearly 600 of those pets died. The FDA has appealed to veterinarians and pet owners to come forward with further suspected cases through the agency's Safety Reporting Portal.