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WASHINGTON -- U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said last week that the U.S. Senate is set to begin hearings about the Food and Drug Administration's investigation of the gigantic pet food recall that's rocked the industry in recent months. The hearings could begin as early as this week.
"The uncertainty about what is safe to feed their pets has gone on too long," Durbin said in a statement. "I want to hear how the FDA is going to work to resolve the current crisis and ensure this doesn't happen again."
Durbin, who is Senate majority whip, is insisting that the FDA work with states to come up with standard regulations and inspection requirements.
He claimed that Menu Foods' plant in Emporia, Kan., where many of the tainted products were made, had never been inspected by the FDA, since the agency relies on states to do inspections.
Duane Ekedahl, president of the Pet Food Institute, has argued that the inspection system isn't broken, according to published reports.
More than 200 pet owners have joined a lawsuit filed in federal court in northern Illinois against Menu Foods, charging that the firm was negligent and fraudulent when it didn't act more quickly upon learning that cats and dogs that ate its products became ill or died.
Lawyers for Chicago-based firm Blim & Edelson said they're seeking to expand the case into a national class action.