What happens if the FDA ends their Human Grade verification process?
While we haven’t actually been officially informed that FDA is ending their Human Grade verification process, it does sound plausible that it could happen, because it’s probably a huge drain on FDA resources to go through a manufacturer’s documentation to the level that they do. It takes a lot of time and is likely very costly for them to inspect a manufacturer’s production facility paperwork, raw ingredients documentation, inspections certificates and conduct a premarket approval of all packaging.
Complying with State Standards
If FDA does indeed defer to the individual states for approval in using the term Human Grade, we will ensure that we comply with those states’ requirements. Ultimately, the buck stops with me when it comes to the foods we make, and I am wholeheartedly and permanently committed to The Honest Kitchen producing only Human Grade foods for pets, because being Human Grade is the absolute best way to assure our customers (and ourselves!) of the quality, integrity and wholesomeness of our products. We will never reduce the quality of our ingredients or production.
The Honest Kitchen Human Grade Status
We’re hoping that The Honest Kitchen will be grandfathered in, having already done all the work to go through the Human Grade verification process twice with FDA. We do know of one or two states that are already implementing their own system of verification and one in particular actually asked for more paperwork than FDA did! Of course we complied with their new requirements and obtained our new license.
If a state flat-out refuses to recognize The Honest Kitchen’s products as Human Grade, we do have precedent from our 2007 lawsuit with Ohio, where it has been ruled that we have a right to truthful, commercial free speech, so we would just have to lean on that if it became necessary to take action in the event any other states decided to revoke our license after we’ve already gone through the Human Grade verification process at a Federal level.
Holding Pet Food Companies Accountable
It’s our hope that rather than relaxing the rules for what Human Grade means, the states will actually try to be as demanding as possible, which will be good for companies like us because we can, and do, comply. This should prevent any non-Human-Grade companies from being able to bend the rules, or inaccurately portray their products as human grade if in fact they’re not.
We do see the change, if it takes place, as an added layer of complexity for other companies who want to do the right thing and produce their pet foods in a human food facility with human edible ingredients. But again, if they are in regulatory compliance for human food production standards, have all the right paperwork and ingredient documentation, they should be able to comply with any demand the individual states make.
The Honest Kitchen CEO & Founder
Lucy Postins is founder and Chief Integrity Officer at The Honest Kitchen. She is a companion animal nutritionist who started The Honest Kitchen in her kitchen in 2002. She is passionate about advanced nutrition and holistic health including complementary modalities such as herbalism and homeopathy. Considered an expert in her field, Lucy frequently writes articles for local and national media, conducts radio interviews and educational spots, and occasionally holds educational seminars for pet owners on the importance of good nutrition. She also recently authored Dog Obsessed, a guide to a happier, healthier life for the pup you love.