Animal Feed Complaints
If you believe your pet has become ill or died because of contaminated pet food, and you suspect it involves any of the pet foods involved in the current national recalls, contact your veterinarian and the FDA consumer complaint coordinators for your state. For Michigan, the FDA coordinator is located in the Detroit District office at 313-393-8100. You may also want to contact the manufacturer.
If you have reason to believe that a livestock or companion animal problem may be feed related, or that illegal practices relating to feed may have taken place, you are encouraged to contact the MDARD Toll Free number, 800-292-3939, to file a complaint. However, you should be advised that there are certain factors that may prevent MDARD from investigating the complaint. These include:
- Where no veterinarian has been involved in assessing possible causes in the case of animal illness or death. Since there are numerous causes of animal illness and death, and many are not feed-related, it is crucial that a veterinarian provide an expert diagnosis of the problem.
- None of the "suspect" feed remains or the integrity of the feed container has been compromised. Without feed to test, it is impossible to link a problem, even if real, to a specific source. Are other animal owners experiencing the same problem? Do they have some of the suspect feed, too? If the feed container has been opened, collection of an "unofficial" sample may sometimes be obtained, with approval. An "unofficial" sample would be one where the inspector would not be able to swear to the integrity of the feed. In such cases, the sample's value is questionable because if a contaminant is confirmed in a sample taken from an opened container, it may be virtually impossible to prove that the contamination occurred prior to its sale. Open containers increase the possibility that post-market contamination or tampering could have occurred.
- The complainant has retained no documents that identify the source of the suspect product. Often, this is seen where the complainant places a feed in a secondary container and fails to keep the label. The complainant should be able to provide adequate documentation, (labels, invoices, weight tickets, etc.), covering the shipment under investigation.
- The complainant is requesting analysis of a feed for informational purposes only. In such cases, names of commercial laboratories that may be able to perform the desired tests can usually be provided.
Other sources of help in the event of animal death:
- Diagnostic Center for Population and Animal Health (DCPAH )at Michigan State University
Veterinarians use this laboratory to confirm the causes of death indicated by symptoms they have observed, but its services are also available to the general public. In the case of suspected feed involvement, results you may have obtained from the AHDL are usually quite valuable to our investigation.
- Michigan Commercial Feed Testing Laboratories List
Commercial laboratories that provide various types of analyses on animal feeds.
The role of MDARD in a complaint investigation is that of an impartial fact-collector. MDARD staff must remain non-biased in expressing views or opinions concerning a particular situation. It is not the role of MDARD to act as a claims adjuster, attorney, or counselor. MDARD investigators assess the facts, combine them with laboratory findings, and prepare a report for the parties involved.
If MDARD initiates regulatory actions against a feed mill as a result of a complaint investigation's findings, the complainant should not expect to receive compensation as a direct result. It is the complainant's responsibility to initiate their own legal proceedings against the firm if they feel they are entitled to compensation for damages.