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FDA issues proposed preventative control rules for petfood, animal feed

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on October 25 issued the proposed rule on Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals as part of the Food Safety Modernization Act. The regulations would apply to all domestic and imported animal feed, including petfood and treats, and the raw ingredients in those products.

"We have been pushing feed safety for a number of years," said Daniel McChesney, director of the office of surveillance and compliance at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine. "It's not, 'Oh, we're just making food for animals.' They're the first part of the food chain. We're a part of the overall food industry."

The challenge for companies that produce animal foods and pet products will be in meeting the deadlines for compliance, McChesney said. Times will vary according to the size of an operation, with small and very small businesses being allowed more leeway.

The new rules will be published in the Federal Register on October 29. They will be open for public comment for 120 days and would be adopted as law within 60 days after the comment period closes. FDA will hold three public meetings in November and December to seek input on the proposed rule.

In response to FDA's regulations, the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) and National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) issued the following joint statements:

According to Richard Sellers, AFIA vice president of feed regulation and nutrition: "We are pleased to see these rules are now available for public comment. These rules will have a major impact on our members. We will begin implementing our plan to analyze the preventive control rules jointly with the Foreign Supplier Verification and the Accreditation of Third Party Auditors rules already released. We have asked the agency to extend the deadline for comments to match the preventive control rules deadline."

"Publishing the proposed preventive control rule for animal feed and pet food is another important step in FDA's ongoing implementation of FSMA," said David Fairfield, NGFA vice president of feed services. "We intend to work closely with AFIA, Pet Food Institute and other industry partners in developing comments on the proposed provisions to help ensure the requirements are achievable and facilitate the continued manufacture and distribution of safe animal feed and petfood."

AFIA and NGFA said they both will submit extensive public comments on the proposed rule.

"AFIA has been very active for five years in FSMA legislation," said AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman. "FSMA represents the most significant reform to feed regulation in several decades. It will help ensure the continuation of the highest standards of safety throughout the entire food system. AFIA will be working with FDA, feed industry partners and our members over the coming months and years to guarantee a smooth implementation of FSMA."

NGFA also was active in working with Congress in drafting the FSMA law, noted NGFA President Randy Gordon, and has formed several industry working groups to develop comments on the preventive control proposed rules for human food and animal feed.

"The industry has developed effective product safety programs that are tailored to the operations of individual facilities," Gordon said. "It will be vitally important that FDA's regulations provide the flexibility necessary for companies to continue to effectively address feed safety, as well as provide the necessary education and training of its inspectors and the regulated industry. All indications are that the agency shares those views, and we'll be eager to work with FDA in implementing this truly fundamental change in its approach to food and feed safety."

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