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Unacceptable FDA Warning Letters

Unacceptable FDA Warning Letters

I subscribe to several FDA warning and recall email lists; the warning letters issued by the FDA have caused me some concern. The last several lists provided by the FDA of warning letters have each contained warnings issued to livestock producers – folks who provide meat producing animals for human and pet consumption. The most recent email listed five warning letters issued by the FDA – 2 of these were to livestock farms. Both of these warning letters addressed concerns of the animals sold as human food (what is not processed into human food will be processed into pet food) that contained unacceptable levels of drugs, making the meat adulterated. The warning letters nor the FDA website provide information if the drug adulteration of the meat was found prior to processing into human food or after. Both of these most recent warnings told of unacceptable levels of drugs found in kidney and liver tissues.

Here is my ‘beef’ about this…Either way – if the high drug level was found prior to processing this animal into human food or if it was discovered after – more than likely the organs that were tested (kidney and liver) will end up in somebody’s pet food bowl. And that’s unacceptable to me.

One of the adulterated animals sold in which a warning letter was issued in this last FDA batch contain three times the acceptable level of a drug called timicosin in the liver tissue (and five times the acceptable level in muscle tissue). In a medicalnewstoday.com 2006 article timicosin is described: “Tilmicosin is an antimicrobial substance used exclusively in animals to treat respiratory diseases such as pneumonia in cattle and sheep.” Assuming that this particular animal was prevented to be processed into human food (let’s hope so) it still ends up in pet food. We don’t have a clue how these drugs are affecting our pets! Unacceptable.

My only thought of a resolve to this issue is stricter FDA and USDA testing and penalties. Throwing caution to the wind here, livestock producers know full well which drugs are allowed and which are not. If the FDA and USDA implemented big fines – even for first time offenders – I’m sure things would change quickly. Instead of a ‘warning letter’ – how about the FDA sending each farm that tries to sell an adulterated animal a big bill. Shut them down until the farm proves they have made the necessary changes to their operating protocol. Stop being so nice! Let’s get serious about protecting the U.S. public and U.S. pets.

If you’d like to get a shock and read the latest FDA warning letters, here are the links: http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/s6866c.htm and http://www.fda.gov/foi/warning_letters/s6867c.htm




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