FDA asks veterinarians to report pet food complaints

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The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine is encouraging AVMA members to report complaints about pet food directly to the FDA, particularly in light of last year's adverse events following contamination of ingredients with melamine.

Many practitioners report adverse drug events to drug manufacturers, and the law requires drug manufacturers to submit the reports to the FDA. In the case of pet food, however, manufacturers are not required to submit consumer complaints to the agency. Therefore, the FDA may not learn of any potential problems with a pet food until after the manufacturer has investigated complaints independently and notified the agency that the investigation identified a problem.

Veterinarians and other individuals can report complaints about pet food and other animal feed to the FDA by calling the FDA consumer complaint coordinator in their state. Reports should include product details such as lot number, brand name, expiration date, manufacturer or distributor, and location of purchase. Reports also should include medical information—including signs of illness, numbers of animals that do and do not have the signs, and complete medical histories. Additionally, veterinarians should consider contacting the manufacturer so any necessary investigation can be initiated immediately.

Information about the FDA regulation of pet food and contact information for state complaint coordinators is available at fda.gov/cvm/petfoods.htm.