The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) in partnership with the USPOULTRY Poultry Protein and Fat Council held its Pet Food Conference at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta on January 28. During the morning session, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) took center stage. An expert panel featuring Jodi Miller, regulatory manager, P&G Pet Care; Steve Taylor, director of regulatory affairs-US/Canada, Hills Pet Food; and Bart Dunsford, Key Product Development/Technical Services, Animal Science Products, tackled the main issues of interest to the producers of animal food.
The final proposed rule was published in October 2013; however, AFIA, National Grain & Feed Association (NGFA), Pet Food Institute (PFI) and National Rendering Association (NRA) asked for and were granted an extension, which pushed the date for submission of final comments to March 31, 2014.
"AFIA's goal is to clarify to determine what the comments need to be-what the proposed rule means-and collect feedback about how it will impact the industry," says Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients, petfood and state affairs. "This goes for what works as well as what doesn't work."
Ingredients, co-products, petfood and livestock feed are included under the "animal food" rule, which were based on human food current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs).
"The question is whether or not the [human food rule] was an appropriate start," Miller says. "I don't think it was. The animal food industry is a diverse industry with a multitude of processes and facilities. The language is too prescriptive and broadened to greater degree than it historically had been."
Taylor adds: "Diversity makes [the proposed animal feed rule] onerous."
The panel agreed that the cGMPs should apply to all animal groups because it is the overall industry's responsibility to produce safe animal food-whether for livestock or for pets-and separate rules or exemptions would cause confusion.
"How can an ingredient supplier have one set of cGMPs for feed and another for pet food companies?" Taylor asked. "How are human food manufacturers going to handle this when it comes to supplying their co-products to animal food or pet food? It should be an even rule."
The panel highlighted several new guidelines and definitions under the proposed rule for animal food:
Under a court order, the final rules must be issued on June 30, 2015. Compliance dates will vary depending on the size of the organization. The rule will go into effect 60 days post-publication.
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