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Pet Food Safety / Pet Food Regulations
on July 14, 2015

FSMA is here: is your pet food safety program ready?

Pet food manufacturers have one to three years to comply with the preventive control rule for animal food

It’s finally here. After 4.5 years of questions, concerns, confusion and yes, some drama, the first regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)—including the one most relevant to pet food safety, the Preventive Controls for Animal Food rule—take effect August 30. The clock starts ticking then for pet food manufacturers to comply.

FSMA was signed into law in January 2011. Because government rule-making moves so slowly (especially at the federal level in the US), and FSMA called for a sea change in how food safety is approached and regulated, it took years for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue even the first draft of relevant regulations, then incorporate feedback from industry and other key stakeholders in the final rules.

Which brings us to this moment. The preventive control rule for animal food covers all pet food producers registered with FDA as food facilities in the US under the Bioterrorism Act of 2002—most manufacturers. These businesses have one year from the August 30, 2015, effective date to comply with the rule, with two exceptions: small businesses (fewer than 500 employees) have two years to comply, and very small businesses (less than US$2.5 million in annual sales) have three years. (See www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm366510.htm.)

Another FSMA regulation, the Foreign Supplier Verification Program, also affects pet food companies that import products or ingredients from outside the US. That final rule goes into effect October 31, 2015, with compliance required of most companies within 18 months. (See www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm361902.htm.)

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