Our reporter Zhang Shoukun

  Since February this year, Li Lan (pseudonym), a citizen of Tianjin, has been running between his home and the animal hospital for his pet dog.

On February 3, she found that her Pomeranian became listless, and she was sent to the animal hospital for a preliminary diagnosis that the dog had a stomachache, which was nothing serious. The veterinarian prescribed some medicine.

  The next day, Li Lan found that the dog had diarrhea and blood, and quickly sent it to the animal hospital.

After a comprehensive examination such as B-ultrasound and blood test, the pet doctor found that the dog had pancreatitis.

After asking Li Lan in detail what the dogs have eaten recently and learned that they ate a certain brand of dog food, the doctor directly said that this is "poisonous dog food". .

  Li Lan then searched online and found that many netizens were complaining about the problem with this dog food.

She immediately contacted the customer service of the online store, asking for a refund and compensation for all the treatment expenses for the dog to go to the hospital, but the other party refused to refund the compensation on the grounds that it could not prove that the dog's illness was related to the dog food.

  The safety of pet food is a topic closely watched by thousands of pet owners who treat their pets as their relatives.

  A number of interviewed experts said in an interview with a reporter from the "Rule of Law Daily" recently that in order to ensure the safety of pet food, it is necessary for relevant departments to include pet food in daily supervision, increase product spot checks and penalties, and increase the cost of illegal activities for enterprises.

It is suggested that the legislative level of pet food safety should be raised, and pet food safety should be clearly regulated and adjusted in accordance with the law. At the same time, relevant administrative agencies should guide industry associations to formulate mandatory pet food safety standards.

Rapid development of the pet economy

  Poor quality of pet food

  According to the data disclosed in the "White Paper on China's Pet Industry in 2021", by the end of 2021, the number of pet cats in Chinese urban households was 58.06 million, and the number of dogs was 54.29 million. The consumption scale of the urban dog and cat market reached 249 billion Yuan.

  Accompanying this is the issue of pet food safety.

According to the data released by the China Consumers Association, in the first half of 2022, 6,617 pet complaints were received, a substantial increase year-on-year, among which pet food safety has become the main issue of consumer complaints.

  Yin Chen (pseudonym), a pet owner in Xiamen, Fujian, had a similar experience.

  In March last year, Yin Chen said in a local pet exchange group: "My cat vomited and diarrhea immediately after eating ×× brand cat food." The group friends responded immediately, and several pet owners who chose the same brand of cat food said, " My cat is the same" "My cat has blood in the stool".

  Yin Chen told reporters that since then, they have communicated with the customer service of the online store many times, and the other party chose the word "drag". One year has passed, and the pet owners have not received any compensation.

  According to the interviewed pet owners, the problem of "poisonous dog (cat) food" is not uncommon.

According to media reports, a well-known cat food that was accused of causing the death of more than a hundred cats in April 2022 had previously performed well in popularity and sales on e-commerce platforms.

A high-end imported cat food was also exposed in 2021 that cats were poisoned and died after eating it, which once aroused heated discussions among netizens.

  The reporter saw on a third-party complaint platform that as of March 2, there were more than 10,000 complaints involving "cat food" and "dog food". Nearly a thousand complaints.

  "Poisoned dog (cat) food" makes pet owners panic.

Whenever the dog food hoarded at home is almost used up, Beijing citizen Wang Yun (pseudonym) will be "uneasy", and spend several days checking the evaluation posts of various pet food brands on multiple social platforms, looking for the ones that are suitable for her family. Ration for "hairy kids".

  "The dog food market is very chaotic. Even though I have been raising dogs for 8 years, I still can't confirm which dog food is completely worth buying with peace of mind." Wang Yun said frankly.

Fuzzy information on ingredients list

  The proportion of ingredients is not clear

  In addition to the problem of "poisonous dog (cat) food", Wang Yun also fell into anxiety because of the product ingredients of dog food. She studied the ingredient list for a long time, and felt that her dog needed everything, and felt that she didn't need anything. Will so many additives harm it”?

  The reporter's investigation found that the ingredients of pet food were not standardized or even confused.

A pet food flagship store with more than 400,000 fans on a certain platform sold cat food ingredients that did not match the product ingredient list.

For example, for a chicken cat food, the first ingredient list is wheat, followed by chicken powder.

The customer service said that they did not understand this, and suggested calling the company headquarters for consultation.

  There are also many brands of cat and dog food ingredients that are vague. For example, the raw material composition of a certain brand of cat food, the first is grain and its products, and the second is meat and its products. Not only does it not indicate the specific grains and meat. class, and did not say how much.

  According to the recommended standards of relevant countries for pet food, there should be labels on the pet food packaging, indicating the product name, raw material composition, product component analysis guarantee value, net weight or net content, storage conditions, instructions for use, production date, shelf life, and the name of the manufacturer And the address, license certificate number and product quality standard number, etc.

  Mr. Lin, an industry insider, told reporters that the above-mentioned standards are recommended standards rather than mandatory standards. In this case, it is not uncommon for companies to cut corners and make false labels. Merchants add a large amount of attractants to pet food mixed with soil and sawdust and sell it to consumers.

  What impacts may the false label on the pet food ingredient list have on pets?

Jia Kaifu, deputy secretary-general of the Animal Welfare Branch of the China Veterinary Medical Association, said that dogs and cats are carnivorous animals. In nature, cats mainly prey on small animals and obtain nutrition from the internal organs of small animals. However, they are now kept at home in order to pursue palatability. , A certain proportion of starch and meat powder need to be added to pet food, and food attractants with unspecified content will also be added, which will easily lead to liver and kidney function damage and disease in pets.

  "In pet food, if the plant protein content is too high but not marked, the pet will cause nutritional and metabolic diseases after eating it. And some complete food (pet food with balanced nutrition and comprehensive nutrition) with marked ingredients is actually unscientific. The main risks of excessive carbohydrates are dental problems, cardiovascular problems, and hepatobiliary and pancreatic problems.” Jia Kaifu said.

  The reporter also noticed that there are a large number of bulk cat food and dog food sold on the e-commerce platform. You can buy it for about 30 yuan, which is about one-third of the price of ordinary brand pet food.

  However, according to the "Pet Feed Management Measures", pet feed operators are not allowed to unpack and repack pet feed products; it is forbidden to operate pet feed without product labels, product quality standards, and product quality inspection certificates.

  The reporter noticed that these stores were not affected by the violation of the "Pet Feed Management Measures". Some stores have been open for many years, and some have sales of 100,000+.

 Lack of supervision in a huge market

  Pet food safety must be legalized

  Liu Guozhao, a lawyer at Liaoning Yingshen Law Firm, has represented many cases related to pet food safety.

In his view, behind the chaos in the pet food market is mainly the lack of legal basis in the field of pet food, lax law enforcement, and the disorderly development of the pet food market.

  "For example, at the legal level, my country has not incorporated pet food safety into legislation. Although the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs issued departmental regulations, it was not enough for the competent authorities to increase supervision, resulting in a certain regulatory vacuum. The pet food market grew wildly, and pet owners There is no basis for rights protection." Liu Guozhao said that when pet owners complain to the relevant regulatory authorities, the relevant departments often reply that pet food is not included in the scope of relevant regulatory spot checks, and relevant producers and sellers cannot be restrained.

  In practice, the main ways for pet owners to protect their rights against problematic pet food are: complaining to consumer associations, seeking handling from regulatory authorities, and filing lawsuits in people's courts.

  However, in the opinion of the interviewed pet owners, they basically cannot solve the problem through the first two methods. Even though the relevant regulatory authorities have imposed corresponding penalties on pet food merchants whose production and operation do not meet product quality standards, there is still no relevant basis to order the merchants to punish them. Make compensation.

They choose to bring a lawsuit to the court, and often fall into the dilemma of defending their rights because they cannot provide evidence that can prove the causal relationship between the two.

  In addition, Liu Guozhao also believes that in terms of pet food testing data, because there is no scientific and detailed pet nutrition data system and professional research institutions, the testing data of pet food in my country cannot be expanded, resulting in too few and too low pet food standards.

At present, there are only more than 20 relevant standards for pet food in my country, and there are no standards to follow for some issues; the content of pet feed additives is too broad, resulting in toxic and harmful additives not being completely banned.

  In order to standardize the pet food market, so that "hairy children" can eat at ease and pet owners feel at ease, Chen Yinjiang, deputy secretary-general of the Consumer Rights Protection Law Research Association of the China Law Society, proposed that it is necessary for relevant departments to include pet food in daily supervision. The currently released pet food standards are mainly recommended standards, so it is necessary to form mandatory national standards or industry norms in terms of production, processing, quality inspection, etc., which not only provide regulatory basis for regulatory authorities, but also define production and operation for enterprises red line.

  "Relevant departments should increase product spot checks and penalties, increase the illegal cost of enterprises, urge e-commerce platforms to perform audit and daily management obligations in accordance with the law, and not provide unscrupulous enterprises with space for illegal operations. Consumers should also purchase from merchants through formal channels. When buying pet food, you should carefully check the product information such as the manufacturer, production date, and expiration date, and at the same time learn about the merchant’s situation through consumer evaluations and merchant reputation.” Chen Yinjiang said.

  Zhu Xiaojuan, an associate professor at the China University of Political Science and Law, said that given that pets have both property and spiritual meanings, the harm caused to pets by unsafe pet food will also indirectly infringe on the property and spiritual interests of pet owners.

  She believes that to strengthen pet food safety, the following aspects should be achieved: improve the legislative level of pet food safety, adjust and regulate pet food safety according to law, so as to ensure its authority and enforcement; relevant administrative agencies guide the industry The association has issued pet food safety standards, considering the characteristics of different types and families of pets and the different functions of pet food to formulate targeted standards, and paying attention to updating them according to the pet consumption situation, and timely publicizing them to the public; pet food manufacturers should actively undertake legal obligations. Obligations and social responsibilities, in strict accordance with laws and regulations and related standards to produce pet food.

  Zhu Guo, president of Hangzhou Quanyu Animal Hospital, suggested that pet food businesses should establish a food research and development team to develop pet food based on the actual long-term indoor breeding. From the perspective of nutrition, physiology and food diversity, according to pet nutrition and physiological characteristics and breeding environment Safe food for pets.

  "Whether pet food manufacturers or government regulators, it is imperative to improve the awareness of pet food safety management, and the future can be expected." Wang Shuo, vice president of the Pet Food Supplies Professional Committee of China Quality Inspection Association, said.