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AFIA foresees busy year for feed safety

According to AFIA vice president Richard Sellers the US government is facing a busy year with 15 food/feed safety bills that have been introduced in Congress.

Richard Sellers, vice president for feed regulation & nutrition of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) outlines in Poultry Times  the difficult tasks US government faces in 2008 regarding food and feed safety.

New import controls
The food/feed safety bills deal with a myriad of new safety authorities for the Food & Drug Administration, USDA and other agencies. Definitions seem to be stumbling blocks for proper executions of the bills.
Most of the bills provide some new type of import controls (e.g. taxes, more inspection, limited ports of entry, etc.), while others provide for mandatory recalls for federal food safety agencies, mandatory reporting, increased fines and other "remedies."

One bill that was signed into law, the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA), contains 500 pages of human drug and medical device controls and updates, but it also includes a short provision on food/feed/pet food safety.

Quite a few definitions are unclear in this bill. FDA is to hold a public meeting soon to begin collecting information for rulemaking on these provisions. It has up to two years from Sept. 27, 2007, when the bill was signed into law.

Time-tested system
Current FDA law allows ingredients in food for animals to be either a drug or a food. The law provides for a time-tested system to approve ingredients for use in feed either through:

  • a food additive petition process,
  • generally recognized as safe affirmation (including self-affirmation)
  • or an informal review process, such as the one the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) provides.

It is unclear what regulations FDA is to provide for pet food that will create "ingredient standards" that would be different than those provided in current law.

AFIA's input valued
The good news about this new law is the sponsors of the original bill in the Senate are interested in the AFIA's amendments to "fix" or remedy this onerous language. AFIA has been holding discussions with congressional staff and drafting this new language.

"It's clear this New Year will bring new changes to the way we regulate feed, and there will be more government regulation of feed and pet food industries. Hopefully, AFIA and others will have a positive impact on this process to insure reasonable legislation is adopted that has adequate protections for our industries", Sellers said.

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