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FDA Launches System To Track Pet Food-Related Illnesses

The Pet Event Tracking Network developed by the FDA and the Partnership for Food Protection allows members to communicate more effectively to track illnesses associated with pet food.

By The SmallAnimalChannel News Division
Posted: August 2, 2011, 9 p.m. EDT

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Rabbits Chloe and Bernard/Courtesy Diana Pengitore
Rabbits and other pets now have an added layer of safety because PETNet allows the FDA and the states to communicate more effectively should a pet food-related illness occur.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Partnership for Food Protection launched an Internet-based system on August 1, 2011, to track pet illnesses associated with pet food.

The Pet Event Tracking Network (PETNet) will allow FDA and federal and state agencies to voluntarily share in real-time information about pet food-related incidents, such as illness associated with the consumption of pet food or pet food product defects.

The system was developed by the FDA and the Partnership for Food Protection, which includes state and local public health officials and representatives from several federal agencies, in the wake of the mass pet food recalls in 2007. One difficulty faced during that incident, according to the FDA, was the timely sharing of information between the agency and the states and among the states themselves. PETNet is designed to allow for better communication between the various government officials.

PETNet will be accessible to federal, state and territorial government officials responsible for the regulation of pet food products and the investigation of disease outbreaks in companion animals. It is currently made up of more than 200 representatives from four federal agencies, all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

Members will enter “events” into the system when they have identified a trend or a suspicious incident associated with pet food products, as well as pet food product defects within their own jurisdiction that should be communicated to their regulatory counterparts. Once entered on the standardized form, the information will be immediately available to all other PETNet members. This enables PETNet members to track the emergence of such data and to evaluate the need for action within individual jurisdictions, according to the FDA.

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