The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) welcomes the release of the Pet Food Senate Report “Regulatory approaches to ensure the safety of pet food”.
In its submission to this Inquiry, the AVA made five key recommendations:
- All pet foods sold in Australia, including pet meat and pet treats, should be compliant with Australian Standard AS5812 – Manufacturing and Marketing of Pet Food. This includes both domestically produced and imported pet foods.
- The AVA strongly supports the use of the ‘AS5812 Standard-compliant logo’ by the PFIAA, or labelling which indicates international equivalent standards, to clearly identify compliant pet foods to consumers. This should be accompanied by a public campaign to educate consumers about the importance of this certification.
- The AVA strongly supports the continued collaboration between the PFIAA, AVA, and RSPCA on the periodic revision of Standard AS5812, and proposes that the next revision should occur, as scheduled, in 5 years’ time.
- A broad working group of all stakeholders including the AVA should be created and supported by the Government to examine all potential regulatory models to ensure improved safety of pet food in Australia. This will include:
- Examination of options for regulating the Standards AS5812;
- Examination of regulatory models for the mandatory recall and investigation of adverse events associated with pet foods, as this is critical to the success of any policy framework to ensure the safety of pet food
- It is recommended that this working group examine regulatory models in other parts of the world, such as the EU and USA, to inform the above process.
- The PetFAST reporting system has proven to be an excellent alerting mechanism, to detect any trend or pattern of adverse event, and trigger an investigation when required. What is missing is a framework for investigating adverse events, as well as funding to support these investigations. The AVA strongly recommends that investigation of potential models for managing and funding investigation of adverse events should be part of the abovementioned working group’s responsibilities.
AVA President, Dr Paula Parker, said that we are pleased to see that many of the Senate recommendations align with ours, in particular making Standards AS5812 compulsory.
“The AVA is looking forward to working with the government as part of the working group to further develop the recommendations from this Senate enquiry. This will go a long way to ensuring the safety of pet food available in Australia which is in the best interests of the health and welfare of Australian animals”, Dr Parker said.