Frankly, we have little idea on what the FDAâ€™s criteria is for linking a pet death to the Menu Foods Recall. Surprisingly enough, the FDA has not issued guidelines indicating the criteria for counting official deaths.
Weâ€™re getting the sneaky feeling that the FDA is treating pet parents with suspicion. Yes, we love our pets. Yes, weâ€™re fanatical about them. It doesnâ€™t mean weâ€™re making this stuff up. One of FDAâ€™s jobs is to protect us from bad pet foods. A fanatical devotion to ensuring the purity of the death toll serves no one but Menu Foods. It certainly does not serve the public or the FDA. Maybe not even the pet food industry, who will continue to repeat the mistakes if the truth is not served.
More after the jump.
We do have access to this document (PDF warning) that states:
â€œThe FDA has provided the following case definition for field investigation/cases: veterinary documented renal failure, necropsy results if animal died, food consumed within 1 week of death (illness), and intact, unopened cans of the food.â€
This gives us a hint as to the standard for associating a death with the recall. It requires a practically dispute-proof set of facts â€“ a responsibility for the court of law, not the agency whose duty is to protect us â€“ and gives us an insight into why they are still quoting the party line of 16 deaths. (Remember that Iraqi minister during the war who insisted to the media that
If itchmo ran the world, (a scenario we frequently daydream about) hereâ€™s what we would require to establish a reasonable (not bulletproof) method for determining the linkage between illness and cause.
In short, weâ€™re looking for just two things:
- Reasonable evidence of ownership of recalled foods. Not specific UPC codes. Many parents have already returned or tossed the food â€“ because it was recalled. Receipts, empty cans, or a sworn affidavit of consumption should suffice. Pet parents buy food with the intent to serve them to the pets, not to adorn our kitchens for a FDA visit.
- Veterinary documentation of illness or death with acute renal failure as a major factor. Many cats already suffer from some sort of kidney problems. Just because they have prior medical issues shouldnâ€™t disqualify them from being affected by the toxin. Necropsy should not be a requirement as vets seems to be able to diagnose ARF without having to perform this emotionally intrusive task. Having a third-party diagnosis alleviates the need for the FDA to investigate every case.
We think that a simple two-pronged test can win the publicâ€™s trust that the pet deaths numbers are more than reasonably accurate.