Pet Food News / Pet Food Regulations
American alligators are one of many novel ingredients being included in pet food. | Burton Robert, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
on October 20, 2016

#tbt Uncertainty looms over pet food ingredient approvals

As in 2012, potential federal regulatory change concerns pet food industry professionals.

From Petfood Industry:

Pet food continues to include more novel ingredients, but the federal regulatory framework that monitors the inclusion of novel ingredients may be reaching a crisis point after nearly a decade of uncertainty, reported Petfood Industry.

The concern is a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which regulates pet foods in the US, and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which approves definitions for ingredients used in pet foods. Originally adopted in 2007, the MOU has been extended three times since, with the latest extension set to last through October 1, 2017.

Pet food ingredient approval uncertainty history

Once that MOU expires, no one has a clear forecast of what will occur. Back in 2012, the same concerns arose as the MOU received its second extension.

“The problem with this cooperative activity is that although the AAFCO process is scientifically rigorous, from FDA’s perspective it is based on enforcement discretion – i.e., not a formally sanctioned procedure for acceptance of new feed ingredients,” wrote David Dzanis, DVM, PhD, DACVN, in a Petfood Insights column at the end of 2012.

Besides jeopardizing future approval of pet food novel ingredients via the AAFCO definition process, discontinuation of the MOU could make as many as 500 ingredients currently used in pet food suddenly non-compliant with the law.

FDA plans no abrupt change

However, an FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine official stated that there are no plans to abruptly change pet food ingredient regulations.

“We wouldn’t do anything to affect the safety or availability of pet foods,” said Jenny Murphy, consumer safety officer with CVM’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance, during the recent Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference 2016. “That would be hugely problematic for consumers and pet food companies, and I think Congress would frown on that.”

AAFCO petfood ingredient definition process gets reprieve

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recently announced an extension of its memorandum of understanding with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the AAFCO process for establishing feed ingredient definitions (including for petfood) through September 1, 2015. The announcement came as a bit of a surprise.

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