FDA: Raw Dog Food Labeling
On November 9, 2004, the FDA Center for
Veterinary Medicine, Office of Management and Communications, published its
final revisions as to guidance on raw meat for animals. Entitled, “Manufacture
and Labeling of Raw Meat Foods for Companion and Captive Noncompanion
Carnivores and Omnivores”, this paper was developed in response to the
increasing trend in the use of raw meat animal feeds. If the raw meat is not
properly handled, bacteria present on the meat can make people and animals
ill, and can contaminate home environments. The FDA Center for Veterinary
Medicine issued the guidance to the industry to better protect animals and
their owners. The final guidance contains recommendations proposed in the
draft guidance, including:
Manufacturers who produce raw meat
diets should use USDA/Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS)-inspected
meat that has been passed for human consumption.
Manufacturers should use measures to
prevent bacterial contamination of the meat. The measures manufacturers
can use include irradiation, participation in USDA's voluntary
inspection program, and use of good manufacturing practices such as
those used for human foods.
Manufacturers could also develop and
implement Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point programs, which are
processes designed to discover the likely source of contamination and
take action at those points to prevent problems.
When shipping the raw meat diets that
are not freeze-dried, manufacturers should ensure the diet is kept
frozen at all times.
Bones used in raw meat pet products
should be ground so they will not cause trauma in the animal.
In addition to labels containing all
components required by Federal and State statutes and regulations, the
guidance recommends the label contain a section titled Guidelines for
Safe Use that informs the reader to:
Keep the product frozen until ready to
Thaw the product in the refrigerator
Keep the product separate from other
foods. Wash working surfaces, utensils (including cutting boards,
preparation and feeding bowls), hands, and any other items that touch or
contact the product with hot soapy water.
Refrigerate leftover product
immediately or discard.
The guidance document also states that
FDA has not seen any objective evidence to suggest that raw meat diets are
better than other kinds of diets.