Jun 17 , 2022
In the first three months of 2022, the USDA inspected and condemned 62,319 livestock carcasses (majority cows and pigs). In the same time frame, the USDA inspected and condemned 2,802,937 poultry carcasses (majority chickens and turkeys).
Each one of those condemned animal carcasses are prohibited from use in human food, and must be disposed of.
The disposal of these condemned animal carcasses is where federal agencies vary dramatically. The USDA’s jurisdiction is for ‘food’. When a ‘food’ product is condemned by USDA, their responsibility ends as long as that condemned product does not become ‘food’.
At this point the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) jurisdiction begins – with feed/animal food. The condemned animal carcasses are diverted to animal feed/pet feed (disposed of into animal feed/pet feed) directly allowed by FDA CVM.
How many pounds is 2,865,256 condemned animal carcasses?
For livestock, we estimate half of the 62,319 condemned carcasses to be cattle, half pigs. A slaughtered cow carcass weighs an estimated 840 pounds.
31,159 slaughtered cattle X 840 pounds each = 26,173,560 pounds condemned cattle carcasses.
A slaughtered pig carcass weighs an estimated 210 pounds.
31,159 slaughtered hogs X 210 pounds each = 6,543,390 pounds condemned hog carcasses.
The estimated pounds of livestock carcasses condemned in first 3 months of 2022 = 32,716,950 pounds.
For poultry, we estimate 2/3 of the 2,802,937 condemned carcasses to be chickens, 1/3 turkeys. A slaughtered chicken carcass weighs an estimated 6 pounds.
1,868,624 slaughtered chickens X 6 pounds each = 11,211,744 pounds condemned chicken carcasses.
A slaughtered turkey carcass weighs an estimated 33 pounds.
934,312 slaughtered turkeys X 33 pounds each = 30,832,296 pounds condemned turkey carcasses.
The estimated pounds of poultry carcasses condemned in first 3 months of 2022 = 42,044,040 pounds.
In the first three months of 2022,
an estimated 74,760,990 pounds of condemned livestock and poultry…
…needed to be disposed of and were welcomed in pet food directly because the FDA CVM allows law to be violated in pet food with no warning or disclosure to pet food consumers.
Unfortunately that’s not all. Also in the first three months of 2022, the USDA detained almost a million pounds of meat, poultry and egg products across the US. The USDA explains detentions as: “FSIS program personnel detain products that may be adulterated, misbranded, or otherwise in violation of the law when found in commerce. Most detentions result in voluntary action, such as voluntary disposal of the product, by the product owner or custodian.” Detained meat, poultry and egg products are also welcomed in pet food directly because the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine allows law to be violated in pet food with no warning or disclosure to consumers.
The numbers above do not include livestock or poultry animals that died on farms (containment or conventional). Those animal carcasses need to be disposed of and are allowed to be rendered into pet food ingredients with no disclosure to pet food consumers.
The numbers above do not include 39,874,344 culled poultry due to avian influenza in 2022 (through June 8, 2022) that the FDA also allows to be rendered and disposed of into pet food with no warning or disclosure to consumers.
And the numbers above do not include condemned carcass parts such as internal organs.
What can you do to avoid condemned meats in a pet food?
When many pet food manufacturers are questioned if meat/meat meal ingredients are sourced from human grade ingredients, they often side step the question with a response ‘All of our meats are sourced from USDA inspected facilities’. But…
All 75+ million pounds of condemned animal material produced in just the first three months of 2022 came ‘from’ USDA inspected facilities. Unless your pet food manufacturer guarantees you all meats and meat meals are sourced from USDA inspected and passed animals – your pet food could contain condemned animal material.
Ask your pet food to provide you a guarantee that meats/meat meals and/or poultry/poultry meals are sourced from USDA inspected and passed animals.
Personal opinion: Clearly the disposal of more than 75 million pounds of condemned animal carcasses in 3 months time is a significant issue. Historically pet food/animal feed have been used as the disposal method of choice by regulatory authorities (even though it is a violation of law). Unfortunately regulatory does this/decided this with no input from pet food consumers.
Let pet owners decide. Pet foods should be required to disclose the use of condemned animal materials, then pet owners can decide for themselves if they want to take the risk with their pet.
Tell the FDA you want disclosure to quality of ingredients (condemned or USDA inspected and pass) to be required information on pet food labels. Email the agency at: AskCVM@fda.hhs.gov.
Wishing you and your pet the best –