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On February 15, a bipartisan group of five Congressional Representatives introduced the Pet Food Uniform Regulatory Reform Act of 2024 (the PURR Act) in the U.S. House.

Currently, the FDA’s regulation of pet foods is similar to that of other animal foods. The federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) requires that all animal foods are safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and are truthfully labeled. The current regulatory framework around pet food manufacture and sale is a two-tiered system, with both federal and state requirements addressing issues ranging from ingredient approvals to labeling requirements.

The proposed PURR Act establishes new federal rules for the regulation of pet food for “companion animals,” consisting exclusively of domestic dogs and cats. In announcing the bill, the legislation’s supporters argued it 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.”

The proposed bill would amend the FD&C Act to, among other things, permit the use of certain marketing terms on pet food products without premarket approval by the FDA so long as they are truthful and not misleading. Popular marketing terms in this context include “hairball control,” “tartar control,” “human-grade,” and “natural.” The legislation would also require the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to perform science-based reviews of pet food ingredient submissions and provide annual reports to Congress on these reviews, as well as initial guidance and regulations promulgated pursuant to the PURR Act. To address perceived issues with the two-tiered regulatory system, the bill would preempt any state from enacting requirements “relating to the marketing or labeling of pet food.”

The House of Representatives referred the bill to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. Rep. Jake LaTurner (R-KY) sponsored the bill, along with four bipartisan cosponsors: Reps. Steve Womack (R-AR), Henry Cuellar (D-TX), Sharice Davids (D-KS), and Josh Harder (D-CA). The text of the bill is available here.

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Photo of Brian P. Sylvester Brian P. Sylvester

Brian Sylvester, a partner in the firm’s Washington, D.C., office, focuses his practice on food and beverage regulatory matters before the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and analogous state regulatory bodies.

Photo of Tommy Tobin Tommy Tobin

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false…

Thomas Tobin’s practice focuses on complex commercial litigation and class action matters involving statutory, constitutional, and regulatory issues in a range of industries, including food and beverage, consumer packaged goods, and cannabis. In the food and beverage sector, Tommy has experience defending false advertising claims and consumer protection claims for well-known international corporations.

Anna Kristine Thompson

Anna Thompson is an associate in Perkins Coie’s Litigation practice in Seattle. Anna graduated from Duke University School of Law, where she was a member of the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA). During this time, she gained experience in health justice work…

Anna Thompson is an associate in Perkins Coie’s Litigation practice in Seattle. Anna graduated from Duke University School of Law, where she was a member of the Latin American Law Students Association (LALSA). During this time, she gained experience in health justice work, which included drafting disability applications and preparing wills. Anna is also a licensed insurance agent in property, casualty, life, and disability.