North Bethesda company helping feds to track tainted pet treats -- Gazette.Net


In the past week or so, more than 1,000 people have reported issues with jerky treats and other food products they give to their pets to federal agencies through an online website portal developed by a North Bethesda company.

The reporting portal, developed by technology services firm JBS International, is built to handle unexpected large volume of reports without a data loss, said Latif Khalil, vice president of IT development and operations for JBS.

“The system is handling this surge very well,” Khalil said.

The FDA has reports from about 600 pet owners who largely blame jerky treats, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Adminstration report. More than 3,600 dogs and 10 cats have “reportedly” become ill from eating the treats, the FDA says. The treats come from China, according to published reports.

JBS built the portal under a contract with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health.

The portal went up in May 2010 so the jerky reports are not all recent, said Shelly Burgess, an FDA spokeswoman.

“Many are jerky related, but some are on the other products tracked by the portal, such as pet food and other treats,” Burgess said.

The portal is also collecting reports related to human food, tobacco products and devices, post-market drugs and clinical trials of products.

JBS also works with clearinghouses and call centers, as well as provides technical assistance and training capacity, program development and communications services.

The FDA recently issued a proposed rule designed to improve the safety of food for animals. The proposed rule would require makers of animal feed and pet food sold in the U.S. to develop a formal plan and put into place procedures to prevent food-borne illness. The rule would also require them to have plans for correcting any problems that arise.

People can get sick by handling contaminated food, such as pet food, FDA officials said.