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FDA has done it again. Another chicken jerky pet treat data dump, this time listing 171 consumer complaints from January 1, 2007 through July 2, 2012.

And, with this data dump, the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs has reached a new nadir.  The latest release of “information” is clearly incomplete, impossible to regroup by any criteria other than the assigned complaint number, and impossible to correlate to the lab analysis data dump issued by FDA last month.

What can we learn from this list of 171 consumer complaints? We can read about the pain and suffering – human as well as animal – that the mysterious jerky treat problem has caused.

I don’t understand the rationale behind this partial data dump, unless it’s an attempt by FDA to pander to the goal of “transparency” without actually being either informative or transparent.

The consumer complaint data were released in the form of a pdf document, rather than the original spreadsheet. Had the actual spreadsheet been provided, it would have been possible to group complaints by year, by brand of treat, or by FDA District Office that acted on the complaint – to get a small feel for the nature and scope of the problem.

At the time of the July data dump, FDA had already received more than 1,000 pet illness reports associated with feeding of chicken jerky pet treats. The 97-page pdf file released last week lists only 171 complaints received since January 1, 2007, and only 81 since last November, when FDA reissued a warning against feeding the treats to pets.

In its efforts to appear “transparent,” FDA is doing a good job of making itself look ridiculous. Who does the agency think it is fooling?

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