An American Feed Industry Association official chided FDA for releasing a Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) guidance document on August 24 with little time to ensure pet food industry compliance by September 19.

"The release of the draft guidance document, 'Current Good Manufacturing Practice Requirements for Food for Animals,' today by FDA is very welcomed, but very late,” said Richard Sellers, AFIA senior vice president of public policy and education.

“Historically, guidance of this type is used both by industry and FDA field staff to determine the requirements of specific rules; clearly this was not the case here. 

"The compliance date for firms with more than 500 employees is Sept. 19--less than one month away--for CGMP compliance. Industry needs adequate time to review this document and determine if their facilities are in compliance with FDA's interpretation of this rule as explained in this document. The tardy nature of the guidance makes this task near impossible to achieve.

"We urge FDA to be more timely in its release of these important documents and to use regulatory discretion in inspections for several months to come as firms match their facilities' CGMPs to the agency's expectations."

FSMA and pet food

FSMA and its implementing regulations focus on foodborne illness prevention instead of reactionary recalls by establishing mandatory product safety standards. The animal food rule and other FSMA rules impact pet food and treat makers. With very few exceptions, all pet food and treat makers must meet the following FSMA requirements in the next 1-3 years, depending on company size: