Something good has come out of the dreadful 2007 melamine pet food recall: The Pet Event Tracking Network was launched this week to allow the Food and Drug Administration and federal and state agencies to share information in real time about pet food-related incidents such as food-borne illnesses and defective pet products.
Announced by the Partnership for Food Protection and the FDA, PETNet will allow members to post about suspicious incidents and product defects, alerting others who can then track the data and share more information. Members are federal, state and territorial government officials in charge of pet food product regulation and companion animal disease outbreak investigations, and have experience in epidemiology, animal health, animal feed and public health.
The idea for the network, which grew out of a 2008 FDA-sponsored meeting on food protection, addresses the problems officials had during the 2007 pet food recall. At that time, the FDA and state regulators weren't able to share information quickly enough.
Since the recall, many pet owners have switched to organic or natural foods, hoping they'll be safer and more healthful for their pets. But even these foods aren't immune to recalls, as some have been contaminated with salmonella.