The FDA and Your Pet’s Food and Medicine

If you’ve ever read the label before choosing your pet’s food, you’re not alone. When you love your pet, you follow the same safety guidelines as you do for the rest of your family.

Package labels are boring. You read them anyway because you want your pet’s food to be as safe as possible. You might even Google the ingredients to make sure you choose a pet food with no safety issues. Fortunately, the Food and Drug Administration thinks the same way you do.

The FDA follows the same safety guidelines for your pet’s food and drugs as they do for yours. Their review standards only differ depending on whether a substance is defined as a food or a drug. The FDA’s definitions apply to your food and your pet’s food.

  • Food: The FDA defines food as “…articles used for food or drink for man or other animals…and articles used for components of any such article…” Components add taste, aroma, other features.
  • Drug: The FDA defines drugs as “…articles intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in man or other animals…” The drug definition also includes “articles” that affect human or animal structure or function.

Your Pet’s Food vs Drug Guidelines

The differences in the FDA’s evaluation standards are what make these definitions important. Manufacturers don’t need FDA approval before they put your pet’s food on the market. Their products must still meet FDA “food” safety guidelines:

  • Safe to consume
  • Produced in a sanitary facility
  • No harmful substances
  • Labeled truthfully

Before marketing a veterinary drug, a manufacturer must obtain FDA approval. The FDA reviews the manufacturer’s documentation to make sure that the drug is safe, effective, properly produced, and packaged.

Complete Pet Food Diets

Some manufacturers create pet foods that are designed to both nourish pets and treat medical conditions. As these foods are intended to treat diabetes and other ailments, the FDA considers them unapproved animal drugs. If a company sells these products without approval, they are marketing them illegally.

Food Safety Modernization Act

The FDA enforces the original guidelines established in 1906 under Title 21, the Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act. Congress has modified these rules over the years. Still, the guidelines have focused primarily on responding to food and drug problems instead of preventing them.

In 2011 Congress modified Title 21 by adding Chapter 27, Food Safety Modernization Act provisions. These guidelines required the agency to take a more proactive approach to food and drug safety. The FSMA addresses food and drug safety at the manufacturing, processing, packing, and storage stages. Guidelines focus on eliminating and preventing safety hazards.

Making sure your pet’s food is safe

The FDA’s guidelines are critical to keeping your pet’s food healthy and safe. For more information about these and other Food and Drug Administration policies, visit the page, FDA’s Regulation of Pet Food.

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital

If you’d like to know more about the FDA guidelines hand how they regulate your pet’s food, visit our contact page or call us at (860) 228-4324.