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How to Report a Pet Food Complaint to the FDA

You can report complaints about a pet food product electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal or you can call your state’s FDA Consumer Complaint Coordinators.

Please have as much of the following information available when submitting your complaint:

Consumers often transfer dry pet food into other containers for easier handling.  If possible, please save the original packaging until the pet food has been consumed.  The packaging contains IMPORTANT information often needed to identify the variety of pet food, the manufacturing plant, and the production date.

  • Exact name of the product and product description (as stated on the product label)
  • Type of container (e.g. box, bag, can, pouch, etc.)
  • Product intended to be refrigerated, frozen, or stored at room temperature
  • Lot number – This number is often hard to find and difficult to read.  It is stamped onto the product packaging and typically includes a combination of letters and numbers, and is always in close proximity to the best by/before or expiration date (if the product has a best by/before or expiration date).  The lot number is very important as it helps us determined the manufacturing plant as well as the production date.
  • Best by, best before or expiration date
  • UPC code (also known as the bar code)
  • Net weight
  • Purchase date and exact location where purchased.
  • Results of any laboratory testing performed on the pet food product
  • How the food was stored, prepared, and handled

Description of the problem with the product.  Examples include:

  • Foul odor, off color
  • Swollen can or pouch, leaking container
  • Foreign object found in the product.

If you think your pet has become sick or injured as a result of consuming a pet food product also provide information about your pet, including:

  • Species (dog, cat, rabbit, fish, bird, other)
  • Age, weight, breed, pregnant, spayed/neutered
  • Previous health status of pet
  • Any pre-existing conditions your pet has
  • Whether you give your pet any other foods, treats, dietary supplements or drugs
  • How much of the suspected product your pet normally consumes
  • How much of the “suspect” product was consumed from the package?
  • How much of the product you still have
  • Clinical signs exhibited by your pet (such as vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy)
  • How soon after consuming the product the clinical signs appeared
  • Your veterinarian’s contact information, diagnosis and medical records for your pet
  • Results of any diagnostic laboratory testing performed on your pet
  • How many pets consuming the product exhibited clinical symptoms
  • Whether any pets that consumed the product are not affected
  • Whether your pet spends time outdoors unsupervised
  • Why you suspect the pet food caused the illness

FDA Controls for Animal Food

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Preventive Controls for Animal Food rule is now final, and compliance dates for some businesses begin in September 2016.

This final rule is the product of an unprecedented level of outreach by the FDA to industry, consumer groups, the agency’s federal, state, local and tribal regulatory counterparts, academia and other stakeholders. This outreach began before the rule was proposed in October 2013.

In response to input received during the comment period and during hundreds of engagements that included public meetings, webinars, listening sessions, and visits to farms and food facilities across the country, the FDA issued a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking in September 2014. The proposed revisions were designed to make the originally proposed rule more practical, flexible, and effective for industry, while still advancing the FDA’s food safety goals.

The final rule has elements of both the original and supplemental proposals, in addition to new requirements that are the outgrowth of public input received during the comment period for both preventive controls proposals.

To continue reading, go to: www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm366510.htm

Pet Food Safety

Many people don’t realize that the basic principles of food safety apply to their pets’ foods too. For example, pet food or treats contaminated with Salmonella can cause infections in dogs and cats. And contaminated pet food that is not handled properly can cause serious illness in people too, especially children.

If you’re a pet owner, one of the most important things you can do to keep your pets, your family, and yourself safe from foodborne illness is to wash your hands:

  • Before and after handling pet foods and treats, wash your hands for 20 seconds with hot running water and soap. (Tip: Sing “Happy Birthday” twice to time yourself.)
  • After petting, touching, handling, or feeding your pet, and especially after contact with feces, wash your hands for 20 seconds.
  • Wash hands before preparing your own food and before eating.

Because infants and children are especially susceptible to foodborne illness, keep them away from areas where you feed your pets. Never allow them to touch or eat pet food.

The US Government has a great deal of helpful tips and information for pet owners.  To learn more, go to: http://www.foodsafety.gov/keep/types/petfood