(NaturalNews) In the wake of yet another wave of animals deaths caused by tainted pet treats, the FDA has just announced new "Preventive Controls for Food for Animals" rules that would, for the first time, establish basis manufacturing standards for pet food.
Natural News readers know that I am usually an outspoken critic of the FDA on issues like drug safety and the agency's attacks on nutritional supplements and raw milk. But on this issue of dog food manufacturing, I honestly have to agree with the FDA in this context.
Today's pet food manufacturing practices are abhorrent. They are beyond sickening; they're downright toxic. There are virtually no rules governing pet food manufacturing, meaning almost anyone can set up a dog food plant in a garage or warehouse, and they can pack and sell commercial dog food products even without following basic rules of hygiene and food contamination prevention.
Even worse, consider what ingredients are allowed in pet food products: there are currently no laws or regulations whatsoever that limit the amount of toxic heavy metals, toxic chemicals, artificial substances, fillers or anything else in pet food. Manufacturers of pet food have, for decades, gotten away with selling the most contaminated, polluted, toxic and sickening "food" imaginable (all promoted with happy, healthy-looking dogs and lovey-dovey images, of course).
In America, it is currently legal to manufacture a pet food product that kills pets, and there's nothing the public can do about it.
Contaminated pet food is killing our pets
Because of these practices, America is currently experiencing an epidemic of pet cancer and diabetes. Pet diseases are at an all-time high, and just as with humans, much of that is caused by low-quality foods and high levels of food contaminants.
It really is time to require pet food manufacturers to meet, at minimum, some basic standards of food quality and manufacturing practices. And even though you know me as a person who prefers small government, there are a limited number of situations where centralized government regulation is actually needed -- and one of those is in establishing and enforcing basic food manufacturing standards.
I also happen to think that another proper role of government is to establish honest food labeling laws such as forcing food manufacturers to disclose GMOs on food labels. Labeling and food safety issues can only be enforced by a central authority of some sort, because the corporations that make food (for humans and pets) would try almost anything if they could get away with it!
For the record, I am strongly opposed to government regulations that impair individual liberty, such as the Obamacare mandate which ridiculously requires people to buy health insurance they often don't want or need. But I am in favor of government regulation of large corporations which almost always tend to be in the business of lying, stealing, cheating or harming the public. In my view, we need the FDA to lay off small farmers and spend more resources clamping down on big business. This should include pet food manufacturers.
FDA wants pet food manufacturers to have a food safety plan
On the FDA Voice blog, Daniel McChesney, Ph.D. explains that the proposed new regulations would "require facility owners to have a food safety plan and to have controls in place to minimize any potential hazards."
This makes sense to me. Remember, our own store engages in food packaging, and we have already undergone USDA organic certification, FDA inspections and county-level health department inspections. I am not opposed to any of these because if we are going to have a relatively safe supply of foods in this country, we do need some fundamental standards to be enforced among those who manufacture and package foods.
However, the FDA has a huge problem in that it really doesn't understand what "safe" food is. In the FDA's view, the only safe food is a dead food which is why the agency supports so much fumigation and irradiation of food products. What the FDA doesn't understand is that there are certain types of food -- such as raw milk -- where living bacteria actually benefit consumers by providing diverse probiotics. The FDA doesn't understand this. According to the FDA, all microbiology is assumed to be bad by default.
On the issue of heavy metals, I agree with the FDA's position that metals should be minimized in foods. Lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and even tin, aluminum and copper can be toxic at levels frequently found in foods. The FDA actively spot checks imported foods for these metals and will quarantine products showing levels that are "too high." Yet, at the same time, the FDA refuses to publicly release these threshold numbers. What does the agency actually consider to be "too high?" It's a secret, and they're not telling.
The FDA's authority must be kept in check by reasonable oversight
Whatever the FDA decides to do with pet food safety, it needs to be kept in check with both congressional oversight and public whistleblowing in case the agency gets out of line. Yes, these proposed pet food regulations seems to make good sense, but the FDA could go too far and get tyrannical with it.
For example, I don't think the FDA should be raiding pet food plants at gunpoint like they helped initiate with James Stewart, the raw milk farmer from California. That's clearly an abuse of power. But if the FDA enforces basic standards at pet food manufactures using reasonable application of authority (i.e. warning letters followed by fines and only then followed by more aggressive action if needed), then I honestly think nearly all pet owners in America would be okay with that.
If you don't agree with me on the need for stronger pet food regulations, I dare you to get a job in a pet food factory and see how long you can keep from puking your guts out. Once you see this firsthand, you will BEG for the FDA to nail down some basic guidelines. The stuff that goes on in pet food manufacturing plants should never have to be seen by human eyes. It is beyond nasty. It's inhumane.
So I'm going to keep an eye on the FDA with all this. If they roll out reasonable pet food safety regulations and enforce them in a reasonable, professional manner that prioritizes the public interest, I will support it. If they go "militant" on us and start raiding pet food plants at gunpoint, I will obviously speak out against it.
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