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FDA responds to letter from US animal feed, ingredient, grain groups

Three major US grain, animal feed and feed ingredient processing organizations commended the Food and Drug Administration for clarifying its enforcement policy for implementing several key sections of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in January 2011.

Among other things, the Food Safety Modernization Act specifies a July 3 effective date for requirements that grain, feed, feed ingredient, grain processing, milling and other sectors of the commercial food and animal feed industry conduct hazard analyses and implement preventive controls. The law also establishes a January 3, 2013, effective date for facilities to establish foreign supplier verification procedures.

However, FDA has not yet proposed or obtained public comment on regulations spelling out the compliance requirements for these provisions that will apply to various industry sectors. The agency has said it is planning to issue two distinct sets of proposed rules concerning the hazard analysis and preventive control requirements, one for human food and another for animal feed and petfood.

The American Feed Industry Association, National Grain and Feed Association and National Oilseed Processors Association wrote to FDA Deputy Commissioner for Foods Michael Taylor requesting that FDA exercise enforcement discretion in enforcing these provisions of FSMA until final regulations are issued and an appropriate implementation period is provided. The three organizations expressed concern about FDA’s pending plans to enforce these statutory provisions “given that proposed rules implementing these sections have not even been promulgated yet.” The associations requested clarification from the agency on its intentions and plans regarding such enforcement as soon as possible so that they could provide guidance to their member companies and affiliated state and regional associations.

In a response letter, Deputy Commissioner Taylor wrote that FDA will “expect to enforce compliance” with the hazard analysis, preventive control and foreign supplier verification provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act within the “timeframes that will be described in the final rules.” Taylor also said the agency “is committed to full and timely implementation” of these provisions of the law. Taylor also reminded facilities that compliance with existing good manufacturing practice regulations and other food and feed safety-related provisions of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act remain in effect and are subject to inspection and enforcement by FDA.

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