At Petfood Forum 2012, Daniel G. McChesney, PhD, director of the Office of Surveillance and compliance, Center for Veterinary Medicine, US Food and Drug Administration, spoke to petfood and treat manufacturers and petfood ingredient suppliers about necessary requirements and timelines for compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act.

Dr. McChesney told his audience that the main themes of the food safety law are prevention; inspections, compliance and response; enhanced partnerships; and import safety.

He said that manufacturing facilities will need to comply with a Preventative Control Rule, which will include not only current Good Manufacturing Practices, but also preventative controls such as process controls, supplier controls and sanitation controls that impact animal food safety. Additionally, Dr. McChesney said that manufacturing facilities will need to submit a written food safety plan. According to Dr. McChesney, many manufacturers already have these controls in place and will just need to come up with the written food safety plan. He advised the audience to "document everything" because records would be required as part of the law's Preventative Control Rule. Dr. McChesney said he was unsure of when the final Preventative Control Rules would be implemented, though it would likely be before an agreement between FDA and the Association of American Feed Control Officials expires on September 1, 2013.

Dr. McChesney said that one change in the new law would be that companies required to register under the Bioterrorism Act must re-register with the US Food and Drug Administration every two years, beginning in 2012. The agency is currently looking at an abbreviated registration process to support the biennial registration as well as requirements for revoking registration.

He also told the audience that the Food and Drug Administration is looking at mandates for putting the calorie content of petfoods on the petfood label, similar to what is currently done for human foods.

The US Food and Drug Administration's new Food Safety Modernization act Web page provides resources to aid manufacturers in understanding and complying with these new requirements.