Previously, uncertainties about United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) guidance and funding created difficulties for pet food manufacturers working to meet FSMA compliance. In response to these uncertainties, the American Feed Industry Association's third-party certification program, FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food, has released a new guidance document that helps pet and animal food manufacturers better understand what is required of them through the Food Safety Modernization Act. The updated guidance document, version 7.0, now includes a section on current good manufacturing practices (CGMP) and FSMA record-keeping requirements, as well as instructions on how to develop a site-specific food safety plan and hazard analysis.
"The Food Safety Modernization Act has been called one of the most sweeping reforms in food safety laws in more than 70 years, so there is no doubt that those responsible for ensuring their feed manufacturing facilities are in compliance with the law need easy-to-understand resources that help them make the necessary changes at their sites," said Gary Huddleston, AFIA's director of feed manufacturing and regulatory affairs. "AFIA's FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certification program is one of the best ways that a facility can come into compliance with FSMA, and we are hopeful that the improvements in this resource alleviate some of the strain that members have been caused due to FSMA," said Huddleston in a press release.
AFIA's Quality and Animal Food Safety Committee has been working on updating the guidance document since 2016 to include clear references and expectations relative to FSMA compliance. AFIA released the version 7.0 guidance document in May 2017 with the goal of assisting facilities with designing, developing, implementing and maintaining a quality and animal food safety program that complies with the desired requirements and assists auditors with certifying facilities with the FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certification.
The document, which went into effect June 1, serves as a resource, but it is still up to facilities, consultants and auditors to understand the animal food safety risks in the feed industry in order to effectively plan for and control those risks.
AFIA created and released the FSC36 Safe Feed/Safe Food certification program in 2004. Since then, facilities can now receive certifications in four areas. There are currently 430 certified Safe Feed/Safe Food facilities.
Pet owners want a lot from their pet food brands. They want primary proteins that suit what they believe is best for their animal. They want grains or they don't. They want something customized, but it has to be easy to understand.
Constraints and crises, like those experienced in 2020, help drive innovation and sustainability offers context.