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Dog food safety and product liability concerns

Every year, Americans spend millions of dollars on pet care and accessory products. Many Georgia residents provide their beloved four-legged friends with top-quality pet foods and treats in an effort to promote the health and well-being of their animals. Unfortunately, however, the number of high-profile product recalls and lawsuits that have occurred in recent years illustrates that pets are often subjected to painful and preventable injuries. That is why it is important for pet owners and pet food consumers to be aware of possible product liability risks and watchdog efforts.

Several incidents involving the deaths of a large number of dogs, including incidents related to the sickening of pet owners, have been linked to contaminated and/or poisoned pet food in the past few years. In fact, NBC News recently reported on a class-action lawsuit filed against a major dog food retailer. According to the federal suit, several brands of dog food sold by the company contain dangerous chemicals and toxins that have resulted in the illnesses and deaths of over 3,000 animals so far. The amount of statutory and/or punitive damages involved in the case had yet to be identified, but the product liability lawsuit was receiving a great deal of media and public attention.

Given the prevalence of pet food-related product recalls and health scares recently, many pet owners are concerned over what can and should be done to protect not only their animals but their rights as consumers. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, new efforts are being taken by the federal agency to protect animals and people from pet food illnesses. The Preventative Controls for Food for Animals amendment to the Food Safety Modernization Act would increase pet food testing and hazard analysis techniques. Beyond that, the new rule would establish standards for pet food manufacturing, packaging and distribution. Instituting regulations would allow standards to be enforced under the law in many cases.

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