FDA Unveils New PETNet System to Track Pet Food Related Incidences: FAIL

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FDA Moves at Glacial Speed to Assist Pets

A plan, 4 years in the making, finally came to fruition with the FDA’s announcement of the creation of PETNet, Pet Event Tracking Network, a warning system designed to help State and Federal agencies communicate with each other.

Yup, that’s right, they didn’t know how to communicate to each other before the year 2011. Remarkable.

Working at what was, I’m sure, a feverish pace, it took four arduous and exhausting years for FDA and CVM employees, slaving away until the wee hours, to finish this masterpiece of modern communication.

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I feel sorry for them, no, really I do. I can picture them, sweat pouring from their furrowed brows, jacked up on bad government coffee in their cramped little offices hunched over their aging computers, working furiously to finish this project.

This new-fangled tool is an outgrowth of the aftermath of the deadly pet food incidence in 2007 which poisoned and killed, conservatively, 8,500 pets. Apparently, the government, unfamiliar with modern technological advances in communication devices, known as t-e-l-e-p-h-o-n-e-s and computers, didn’t have a clue how to tell each other that pets were dropping like flies all over the United States.

I’ll let them explain their brand spanking new communication tool to you themselves (after the jump):

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The Partnership for Food Protection and FDA Announce Establishment of PETNet

The Partnership for Food Protection and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today announced the launch of the Pet Event Tracking Network (PETNet). PETNet is 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 product defects. PETNet’s voluntary information exchange, surveillance and alert system is designed to provide a real-time mechanism (what, as opposed to time on another planet?) for sharing information about emerging pet food related illnesses and product defects between FDA, other Federal agencies, and the States (but NOT consumers).

The system will be accessible to PETNet members, who are Federal, State, and Territorial government officials responsible for the regulation of pet food products and the investigation of disease outbreaks in companion animals. Members will enter “events” into the system when they have identified a trend or a suspicious incident associated with pet food products, as well as pet food product defects within their own jurisdiction that should (but it doesn’t have to be, as the system is VOLUNTARY) be communicated to their regulatory counterparts. Once entered on the standardized form, the information will be immediately available to all other PETNet members. This will enable PETNet members to track the emergence of such data and to evaluate the need for action within individual jurisdictions.

The files are IN the computer Zoolander

PETNet grew (at glacial speed) out of discussions held with State and federal government public health officials at an August 2008, FDA sponsored meeting, “Gateway to Food Protection” (also known as the 2008 “50 State” meeting). Following the meeting, the Partnership for Food Protection was established by the FDA. The purpose of the Partenership is 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.

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The concept for PETNet was developed in response to the 2007 melamine pet food recall. (I love this -) One difficulty faced by FDA and FDA’s State regulatory partners during the melamine incident was the timely sharing of information between FDA and the States and among the States themselves. PETNet was developed with input from the States and other Federal agency partners to enable the sharing of information between Federal and State officials about instances of foodborne illness in companion animals, as well as product defects that may lead to such outbreaks.

PETNet is currently made up of over 200 representatives from 4 Federal agencies, all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

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Gee, It Sounds Terrific

I don’t know how to say this, without using profanities, but I’ll try – but just what, in God’s name, were they thinking when they cut consumers out of the loop? Um, don’t they realize that consumers need to know just what the Hell is going on? Oh no, we are too delicate, we might get all hysterical. We might, God forbid, stop buying pet food. And the AAFCO and the PFI wouldn’t like that one little bit. And Lord knows it’s much more important to protect their relationship with industry than with those silly consumers, known as the PUBLIC!

That’s it – I’m done. Bastards.

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Links:

PETNet formed to alert agencies about pet food associated illnesses, recalls/DVM NewsMagazine

PETNet to Track Bad Pet Food/Food Safety News

The Partnership for Food Protection and FDA Announce Establishment of PETNet/FDA

 

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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

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