The US FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) protects human and animal health by regulating animal drugs and animal food, treats, and food additives.1 Animal food must be safe and accurately labeled and produced in a sanitary manner.1,2
Two recent cases of animal food–related illness involving commercial pet food contaminated with pentobarbital3 and thyroid tissue4 highlight the important role veterinarians play in reporting suspected animal food issues. Veterinarians and others in the animal health field (eg, veterinary students and clinic staff) represent an invaluable, front-line partner because they can identify likely cases of food-related illness on the basis of dietary history and clinical signs. For this reason, veterinarians should understand the CVM's role in regulating animal food and their own potential role during an FDA case investigation and should know how to identify and report suspected animal food issues, how to collect and store samples for possible testing, and how a safety report is evaluated. Unfortunately, recent discussions with veterinarians and veterinary students indicate that many in the field are uncertain how to report suspected animal food issues, despite online resources5–8 and previous publications.9,10
The views expressed are those of the authors and may not reflect the official policy of the Department of Health and Human Services, the US FDA, or the US government.
The authors are affiliated with the US FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine Office of Research (OR) and Office of Surveillance and Compliance (OSC). Dr. Jones and Dr. Ceric are Veterinary Medical Officers with OR's Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN). Dr. Reimschuessel is the Director of the Vet-LIRN program, and Ms. Nemser is the Vet-LIRN Network Coordinator. Dr. Rotstein is a veterinarian and Consumer Safety Officer with OSC's Complaint Emergency Recall Team.
No third-party funding or support was received in connection with this study or the writing or publication of the manuscript. No third-party sources had any involvement in the study design, data analysis and interpretation, or writing and publication of the manuscript. The authors declare that there were no financial conflicts of interest.
1. FDA. About the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM). Available at: www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CVM/default.htm. Accessed Sep 21, 2017.
2. FDA. Pet food labels—general. Available at: www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/resourcesforyou/ucm047113.htm#Other_Label_Claims. Accessed Oct 11, 2017.
3. FDA. FDA cautions pet owners and caretakers not to feed certain Evanger's or Against the Grain canned pet foods. Available at: www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/newsevents/cvmupdates/ucm542265.htm. Accessed Sep 28, 2017.
4. FDA. FDA alerts veterinarians and pet food manufacturers about potential presence of thyroid hormones in pet foods and treats. Available at: www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm548883.htm. Accessed Sep 28, 2017.
5. FDA. How to report a pet food complaint. Available at: www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/safetyhealth/reportaproblem/ucm182403.htm. Accessed Sep 21, 2017.
6. FDA. Reporting problems with horse or other livestock feed/food. Available at: www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm388610.htm. Accessed Sep 21, 2017.
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8. US Department of Health and Human Services. Report a problem with food. Available at: www.foodsafety.gov/report/problem/index.html. Accessed Oct 10, 2017.
9. Wilson CR, Hooser S. Investigative diagnostic toxicology and the role of the veterinarian in pet food-related outbreaks. Vet Clin North Am Small Anim Pract 2012;42:229–235.
11. FDA. Consumer complaint coordinators. Available at: www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/ConsumerComplaintCoordinators/default.htm. Accessed Sep 21, 2017.
13. FDA. What happens when a problem is reported? Available at: www.fda.gov/Safety/ReportaProblem/QuestionsandAnswersProblemReporting/ucm056069.htm. Accessed Sept 28, 2017.
14. FDA. How to make a FOIA request. Available at: www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/FOI/HowtoMakeaFOIARequest/. Accessed Sep 28, 2017.
15. FDA. Recalls and withdrawals. Available at: www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/RecallsWithdrawals/default.htm. Accessed Nov 6, 2017.
17. FDA. Veterinary laboratory investigation and response network. Available at: www.fda.gov/animalveterinary/scienceresearch/ucm247334.htm. Accessed Sep 28, 2017.
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