You mention a presentation by Dr. David Rosenblatt, at the Petfood Focus on Safety event, in "Editorial Notes" (June 2008). We wish to augment your comments. You refer to a number of "safety" programs, most of which appear to be European.
The American Feed Industry Association's (AFIA) Safe Feed/Safe Food certification program (SF/SF) should be included on that list, as an American program in its fourth year of operation. You can learn more about the program at http://www.afia.org/afia/SFSF.aspx .
The SF/SF program was designed and implemented by a range of industry experts to highlight the best safety practices used by the entire animal food industry. Observers from the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) were on the initial SF/SF task force. Among the SF/SF-certified facilities are those producing petfood, and the program is moving to comply with FDA-suggested recommendations for third-party certification programs.
The SF/SF program also has been praised by more than one FDA official, one of whom said, "AFIA is ahead of the curve in this crucial area. This direction simply makes sense since FDA cannot do it alone."
In addition, we are aware that certification is likely a risk mitigation factor that FDA will use to determine inspection resources. It's clearly possible that certified facilities will see fewer inspections, and those that are inspected will likely see shorter inspections.
In the near future, AFIA will release a program for animal food that will fully comply with the European Union's feed hygiene regulation (EC) 183/2005.
AFIA believes our efforts to continuously upgrade the SF/SF program based on industry and FDA suggestions will result in more firms recognizing the importance of these types of programs. We appreciate your editorial and Dr. Rosenblatt's work calling attention to this most basic and important area of the animal food industry.