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Womack Leads Legislation to Set Uniform Standards for Pet Food

Washington, DC—February 20, 2024…Congressmen Steve Womack (R-AR-3), Jake LaTurner (R-KS-2), and Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) introduced the Pet Food Uniform Regulatory Reform Act of 2024 (PURR Act) in the House of Representatives. The PURR Act sets uniform standards for dog and cat pet food and pet food labels across the country and allows pet food makers to invest in products that deliver the best nutritional outcomes for our dogs and cats rather than tying up their critical resources in navigating the regulatory red tape.

Congressman Womack said, “Pet food manufacturers deal with a confusing, costly, and conflicting dual regulatory system that hasn't been updated in nearly 100 years. The PURR Act would streamline the outdated system by granting sole authority to the FDA to regulate the labeling and marketing of pet food while eliminating the state-by-state regulatory patchwork. Whether the pet purrs or barks, the PURR Act's regulatory clarity will help meet the needs of today's pet owners and pet food makers in Arkansas' Third.”

Congressman LaTurner said, “Pet food makers produce nearly 10 million tons of food annually and are crucial to American agriculture. Costly and outdated regulations have made it difficult for pet food manufacturers nationwide to invest in research and development for new and improved products. I am proud to introduce the bipartisan PURR Act to eliminate red tape and allow pet food makers to deliver the best nutritional outcomes for our dogs and cats.”

Congressman Cuellar, Ph.D., said, “The PURR Act includes necessary reforms to streamline and update pet food regulations in the United States. I am pleased to cosponsor this bipartisan bill that will encourage innovation among pet food manufacturers while protecting the health and well-being of our pets.”

Bill breakdown:

The pet food industry is a growing sector of the economy in the United States, and pet food exports have increased by double digits over the last few years. U.S. pet food makers produce more than 9.8 million tons of food per year to feed our nation’s dogs and cats, but the regulatory system governing the sale and marketing of pet food has not been updated for approximately 100 years and does not reflect the needs of today’s pet owners.

The PURR Act would eliminate the current confusing regulatory framework by setting up a federal preemption provision to establish the FDA as the primary authority in the regulation of pet food ingredients and labeling.

Stakeholder support:

Pet Food Institute President and CEO Dana Brooks said, “Dog and cat owners not only want to ensure the same high quality and safe pet foods they trust to nourish their beloved dogs and cats but expect the products to reflect the latest in nutritional science and ingredient innovation. To continue delivering on that commitment, we are supporting federal legislation that would replace the current inefficient patchwork approach between states and the federal government with consistent national standards that are predictable, clearly defined, and encourage innovation and speed to market.”   

Pet Food Association of Canada Executive Director Chris Nash said, “As our largest trading partner, the United States is a critical market for Canadian pet food exporters. This proposed legislation will streamline the process and make things much more efficient and simplified for pet food trade.”

Pet Industry Distributors Association President Celeste Powers said, “The Pet Industry Distributors Association recognizes the need for a modernized, federal approach to reduce the state-by-state patchwork of pet food regulations. The PURR Act’s nationwide standards will eliminate interstate commerce disruptions and help distributors more efficiently move pet food products through the supply chain to pet owners.”

Pet Advocacy Network President and CEO Mike Bober said, “The Pet Advocacy Network is proud to support the PURR Act, which will strengthen the pet community’s access to the latest in science-based nutrition to care for our beloved companion animals. With 186 million dogs and cats in American households, uniform, national pet food standards are crucial for pets and pet owners.”

World Pet Association President Vic Mason said, “As the nation’s first pet industry trade association, the World Pet Association (WPA) proudly supports the Pet Food Uniform Regulatory Reform Act (PURR) Act. Our membership includes consumer-facing businesses, and we understand that now is the time to modernize pet food regulations to bring new and innovative ingredients for pet foods and treats to store shelves in a timelier manner. A century old system no longer works for today’s pet owners and manufacturers. The PURR Act will provide more consistent, efficient, and transparent federal regulatory oversight for the safe and nutritious food that we feed our pets.” 

Human Animal Bond Research Institute President Steven Feldman said, “The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) supports the PURR Act introduced in Congress today. We appreciate the sponsors for recognizing the importance of pets in our lives. As our love and care for pets has grown and companion animals have become more intertwined in our daily lives, the regulatory system for pet food needs to evolve to meet the challenges in today’s fast-paced, changing market environment. The PURR Act will meet the needs of today’s pet owners and strengthen the human-animal bond.”

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