PETA Calls on FDA Head to Resign Over Botched Pet Food Recall
This morning, PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk fired off a letter to Andrew von Eschenbach, calling on him to step down as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Newkirk's letter comes after the FDA refused to name the maker of a dry pet food believed to have received a contaminated ingredient suspected in the deaths of an unknown number of cats and dogs. Now, two independent laboratories are claiming that the FDA was wrong when it determined that the agent causing kidney failure in cats and dogs was wheat gluten contaminated with a chemical called melamine found in plastic. The FDA has yet to recall dry food that is reportedly killing dogs and cats.
Although the FDA says that melamine was found in pet food and that it may have been the ingredient making animals sick, PETA points out that at the FDA news conference on March 30, the agency did not report the fact that the New York Department of Agriculture and a top Canadian agricultural laboratory -- Animal Health Laboratory at the University of Guelph -- both dispute the FDA's finding. Furthermore, PETA points out that the FDA has gone even further by deceiving the public and media, both about the nature of the recall and about the FDA's oversight of the pet-food industry. Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, has claimed to the media, "There are really no differences in the regulation of animal food and the regulation of human food. The same people that inspect human food plants also inspect pet food plants." However, the FDA's own Web site verifies that the agency has left "regulation" of the pet-food industry to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), a nongovernmental body with no power.
"A house-cleaning of the FDA is overdue," writes Newkirk. "Cherished animals are dying horrible deaths because of a fat, callous industry, and you have forfeited the public trust by siding with it to the detriment of the public."
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