The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Partnership for Food Protection launched yesterday a Web-based system 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 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 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 communications 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 over 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 will enable PETNet members to track the emergence of such data and to evaluate the need for action within individual jurisdictions, according to FDA.