Pet food manufacturers would be required to develop safety plans and adopt procedures to prevent foodborne illnesses if FDA regulations proposed today are adopted.

The proposed rules were developed as part of the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) to improve the safety of pet food sold in the United States. The rules come on the heels of an announcement that more than 600 pets have died after consuming jerky snacks; no reason has been found for the deaths.

Under the new rules, animal feed and pet food manufacturers would have to develop plans for both preventing contamination in food, and for correcting problems that arise. They would also have to conform to good manufacturing processes that address issues such as sanitation -- pet food doesn’t currently fall under regulations that govern food safety. The rules would apply to all domestic and imported pet food, animal feed, pet treats, and raw ingredients in those supplies.

FDA officials said that, if adopted, the rules will help keep both pets and people healthier and prevent illnesses stemming from consuming or coming in contact with contaminated or otherwise unhealthy foods.

A public meeting will be held on the rules on November 21 at the FDA Center for Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park. More information is available on the agency’s website.