OrganicEye Executive Director, Mark Kastel, and his shelter cat, Kovu, adopted Pippin who was abandoned as a kitten — all three enjoy an all-organic diet.

Comments are due Friday, May 10 (11:59 PM Eastern)

Note: The USDA proposed rule discussed below sets much-needed standards for both organic pet food and mushroom production. We are weighing in only on the pet food portion.

The USDA has proposed rules to make the standards for certified organic pet food more consistent. Currently, the lack of specific language in the regulations allows certifiers to interpret the rules, resulting in some manufacturers using slaughter by-products while others do not.

The industry feels that the proposed regulations, if adopted, will lead to an increase in the availability of new brands and varieties of organic pet food. Options are now quite limited.

While utilizing some by-products from organic slaughter stock could improve the economics of producing organic meat and poultry — and organ meats do add nutritional value — we feel that it is important that the rules explicitly state that any meat by-products used in the production of organic pet food should exclusively come from animals that meet human-grade standards.

Only animals that have passed USDA inspection for human consumption should be allowed. The use of condemned or diseased animals and animals that died other than by slaughter should be banned.

The one-year phase-in proposed by the USDA for the new rules to take effect seems reasonable.

And, finally, there is no reason to preclude zoo animals from the same requirements that are being afforded to pets in the new regulations, as is being proposed. In the best-case scenario, some zoos will opt to feed animals under their care certified organic rations.

We highly encourage you and other caretakers of companion animals to join OrganicEye in letting the USDA know that the quality of the food we feed our pets is important. Organic regulation should focus, first and foremost, on safety and health before prioritizing marketplace expansion.

Please submit your comment to the USDA by Friday, May 10. Click on the blue “Comment” button under the proposed rule name in the link provided. You will then have the option of typing a short message or uploading a document.

Thank you for being committed to maintaining high standards for organic foods and your care for the animals whose well-being is entrusted to their human friends.