The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) covered hot topics such as domestic and international trends, oxidation of pet food ingredients, research in emerging issues and dilated cardiomyopathy in pets at its 13th annual Pet Food Conference yesterday, in conjunction with the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE), happening this week in Atlanta, Ga.

The conference debuted several new features this year, including a graduate student paper session, undergraduate poster session and the awarding of the inaugural Friend of Pet Food Award.

“The AFIA Pet Food Conference brought together pet food manufacturers, ingredient suppliers and young pet food leaders to gain cutting-edge information and network on all aspects of the industry,” said Louise Calderwood, AFIA director of regulatory affairs.

The AFIA Pet Food Conference, one of three AFIA-sponsored events at IPPE, is an all-encompassing conference designed to inform pet food representatives about the latest industry initiatives and technical and regulatory issues impacting this unique animal food manufacturing sector.

One of the highlights of the conference included an update on the Food Safety Modernization Act and animal food ingredient approvals, presented by David Edwards, Ph.D., the director of the Division of Animal Food at the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. Edwards said DAF will be hiring 12 new staff members to assist with speeding up the food additive petition review process.

In addition to the educational portion of the program, AFIA announced Gail Kuhlman, Ph.D., of Mars Petcare and Anna Kate Shoveller, Ph.D., of the University of Guelph as the recipients of the inaugural Friend of Pet Food Award. This award recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to support the growth of the pet food industry.

IPPE is a collaboration of three shows – the International Feed Expo, International Meat Expo and International Poultry Expo – representing the entire chain of protein production and processing. The annual event is sponsored by AFIA, the North American Meat Institute and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association.