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Government glitches stall consumers from commenting on proposed pet food rule

It’s impossibly frustrating to find that, after you’ve mustered up the courage to submit a comment on the proposed rule for animal food (that will eventually decide the fate of pet food and animal feed safety); the website crapped-out. In fact, it crashed – several times  – last week.

It’s back up again, so now is a good time as any to submit your comment if you haven’t already, particularly now that website is back in action. hint hint

Some readers have indicated their reluctance to submit a comment for various reasons, none of which seem like good enough excuses considering what’s at stake. After I suppress the urge to throttle them, I usually try to tell them, in the nicest way possible, if you care about the future of food for animals, including your pet’s food, just make a comment already. It’s not that hard. *nag* *nag*

Aside from the creaky government website that keeps crashing, I don’t know how to tell people, without sounding like a total bitch, that if they don’t step up and tell the FDA why the animal food rule matters to them and their pets or their livestock then…well, let’s just say it would be a tragedy. *guilt trip*

Will my comment make a difference?

No one can say for certain, but how will you ever know if you don’t at least try? What we do know, is that public participation is central to democracy. Public comments are supposed to make a difference in regulatory policy and here’s why:

  • The FDA can respond to your comments, your grievances, and your request for changes.
  • Public comments help the FDA to determine the level of acceptance or resistance to a rule under development.
  • Most importantly, public comments shape how the public interest will be served by the rule.

The gist of a comment

The essence of your comment should be:

  • Why it’s important to you (and by extension, your pets)
  • What parts of it you disagree with (in general)
  • How you would like it to change (if you have any ideas about that).

That’s it – it’s pretty basic.

If you need a refresher read the summary in my most recent post on the proposed rule  where I list, what I believe are, the central issues that need to be addressed; the sections of the proposal that, I believe, undermine the integrity of the entire food for animals proposed rule. Of course you may have totally different concerns than me – and that’s great – because ultimately it is all about what you feel is important and why.

It’s so simple

  • Go to the proposed animal food rule, click the “Submit a Comment” link.
  • This will display the comment web form.
  • Type your comment on the web form (you have 20 minutes, if you need more time, be sure to continue your session; otherwise, you will be timed-out)
  • You can also attach additional files (up to 10MB).
  • When you have finished typing your comment, click the “Preview Comment” link to review.
  • Once you are satisfied with your comment, click the “Submit” button.
  • Upon completion, you will receive a tracking number for your submission.
  • Now wasn’t that easy?

Some have suggested a petition *groan*, but I’m not going to create a petition, because I feel it important that the government hear your story, why this matters to you as an individual. Besides, how can a petition ever describe, in heartbreaking detail, the gut-wrenching personal loss you may have endured with the illness or death of a beloved pet due to a pet foodborne illness or a poisonous pet treat? No one can tell that story for you, certainly not a petition.

Just in case you have questions about commenting to the website, they have oodles of Q&As to help you. Have a look at them – and hopefully the website won’t crash when you do!

The entire text of the proposed rule

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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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