Senate backs standard pet food labels

Pet food labels would have to carry uniform
information about ingredients under a measure approved by the U.S. Senate on
Wednesday in response to recent contamination of dog and cat
food.

Now, manufacturers and states
voluntarily implement various labeling standards to explain what is in pet food,
supporters of the Senate effort said.

Concerns grew after a major recall of more than 100
brands of pet food. U.S. officials say wheat gluten and rice protein imported
from China and used in the foods was contaminated with melamine, a chemical used
in plastics and fertilizer. Sixteen dog and cat deaths have been
confirmed.

Senators said they wanted to
strengthen food safety protections in the wake of the pet food recall and other
scares involving contamination of spinach and peanut
butter.

The Senate voted 94-0 in favor of
a measure that would require uniform federal standards for pet food
ingredients.

It also would require
creation of a registry of potentially contaminated food products to serve as an
“early warning system” of problems with human or pet food, supporters
said.

Companies could be fined if they
failed to report problems, said Sen. Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat and
author of the measure.

“There is more
work to be done to fix our food safety system, but today we have moved forward
to address the growing concerns across our nation,” Durbin
said.

The provisions were added to a bill
being debated in the Senate that is meant to strengthen U.S. Food and Drug
Administration oversight of prescription drug side effects and extend industry
fees that fund product reviews.

That bill
must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate, and be signed by the
president, in order for the food safety measures to become law.


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Posted: 05/03/2007 at 02:49 PM
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Posted: 05/03/2007 at 02:49 PM
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