FDA to Launch Online Pet Food Tracking System

Aug 05, 2011   

Earlier this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the launch of Pet Event Tracking Network (PETNet), “a secure, web-based information exchange system that will allow FDA and Federal and State Agencies to share initial information about pet-food related incidents, such as illness associated with the consumption of pet food or pet food products.” The new system is intended to improve communication about the safety of pet food products across and within various levels of federal and state government.

This new online system was developed in response to the 2007 melamine pet food recall. (Robert Becerra of Fuerst Ittleman successfully represented the importer of the tainted pet food in the criminal prosecution filed by the U.S. Attorneys Office in Kansas City, Missouri.) At the time, the FDA struggled to effectively communicate information between the Agency and States about the dangers and contamination of certain pet food products. The following year, the FDA created the Partnership for Food Protection, a coalition to “bring federal, state, local, territorial and tribal representatives with expertise in food, feed, epidemiology, laboratory, animal health, environment and public health together to develop an Integrated Food Safety System.”

Together, the FDA and Partnership for Food Protection, launched PETNet. PETNet will function as a voluntary information exchange, surveillance, and alert system. It was designed to make real-time updates about emerging pet food related illnesses available to and accessible by members, government officials responsible for the regulation of pet food products. Members of PETNet can post “events” into the system identifying suspicions or trends in animal food products in their area. The web-based system can quickly and easily transmit information to other regulatory agencies and channels that would benefit from this information. PETNet will enable members able to track individual “events” to determine whether regulatory action needs to be taken in their jurisdiction. PETNet is currently comprised of over 200 representatives from four federal agencies, all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

Fuerst Ittleman will continue to track changes in the reporting and regulation of pet food products. For more information, please contact us at contact@fidjlaw.com.