What’s new from AAFCO?

Gain the latest updates from AAFCO’s 2022 annual meeting and see what’s ahead for the organization.

Hand writing the text: Whats New?
Hand writing the text: Whats New?
AAFCO’s summer news includes movement on the use of BSFL in pet foods, the latest on hemp as an ingredient and welcoming a new executive director. | gustavofrazao I iStock.com

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) had a busy summer hosting its 2022 annual meeting, conducting a hemp webinar and welcoming a new executive director. Here is a snapshot of what took place and what’s new, with key takeaways and important industry outcomes:

Annual meeting

On August 4­-6, 2022, AAFCO held its annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, with a large turnout, especially among first-time attendees who broke an AAFCO record and demonstrated that this new generation of members is eager to get involved. With the topic “Leadership, trust and education,” the meeting included a combination of workshops, lectures, networking opportunities and events for learning and collaboration. While all discussions were impactful, the following two meeting outcomes are timely to share:

  • The AAFCO membership accepted the recommended revisions to the Guideline for “human grade” claims (which can now be found starting on page 158 of the electronic 2022 Official Publication).
  • Black soldier fly larvae (BSFL) was officially approved to be used in adult dog foods. It is approved for use in salmonid, poultry and swine feed and in adult dog food, as a source of protein and fat consistent with good feeding practices. Notably, BSFL is the only insect product that has gone through the AAFCO ingredient definition process.  

Hemp webinar

On August 9, 2022, AAFCO and the National Industrial Hemp Council of America (NIHC) co-hosted a well-timed webinar, “Hemp as a feed ingredient: A national discussion,” for the pet food, animal feed and hemp industries, and regulatory officials. The webinar discussed peer-to-peer questions, challenges, solutions and best practices, featuring 18 topic-specific industry experts and almost 600 virtual attendees discussing answers to the complex question, “Why isn’t hemp in animal feed?”

“The webinar was not a debate; rather, it was a national discussion on overcoming challenges and gaining approval for hemp seed and hempseed by-products as ingredients in animal feed,” said Hollis Glenn, member of AAFCO’s Board of Directors and deputy commissioner of operations for the Colorado Department of Agriculture. “The purpose was to connect with industry peers and share meaningful dialogue around moving forward together. This topic has been on everyone’s radar for years. More than ever, it was the right time to stimulate an important industry conversation that brings us all closer to reaching a common goal — and to collaborate on safe solutions.”

Interest in the use of hemp in commercial animal feed has accelerated since the passage of the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act (“Farm Bill”). While the Farm Bill expanded the legal production of hemp in the United States, the use of hemp and hemp by-products in animal feed remains under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state regulatory programs for commercial animal feed.

“By co-collaborating with AAFCO, we were able to address a path forward for the hemp and animal-feed industries, working together to identify ways to decrease barriers and speed up approvals,” said Hunter Buffington, member of NIHC’s Government Affairs Committee and vice president of policy and advocacy for element6 Dynamics. “The webinar provided the clarification we all have been craving. With a shared goal, we will soon achieve the regulatory oversight and approval of new feed ingredients for the agriculture, livestock and hemp industries. And that’s good news for all of us.”

New Executive Director Austin Therrell

On September 6, 2022, AAFCO welcomed Austin Therrell as its executive director. While new in this role, Therrell is certainly not new to AAFCO. As an ongoing member, he has already been active in the organization’s committees and achievements. In addition to serving on AAFCO’s board of directors, he has co-chaired the Feed and Feed Ingredient Manufacturing Committee, been a member of the Pet Food Committee and led many workgroups drafting and revising guidelines. Therrell has worked with numerous feed industry trade associations on a wide range of initiatives. Previously, he served as the feed safety program manager for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture.


Briefly: Top 5 takeaways

  1. On August 4­-6, 2022, AAFCO held its annual meeting in St. Louis, Missouri, USA, with a large turnout, particularly among first-time attendees.
  2. The AAFCO membership accepted the recommended revisions to the Guideline for “human grade” claims.
  3. Black soldier fly larvae was officially approved to be used in adult dog foods. 
  4. AAFCO and the National Industrial Hemp Council of America co-hosted “Hemp as a feed ingredient: A national discussion,” which discussed peer-to-peer questions, challenges, solutions and best practices.
  5. On September 6, 2022, AAFCO welcomed Austin Therrell as its executive director.


Staying informed with AAFCO

Sharing the work that AAFCO does — and how it affects manufacturers, regulators and consumers — is important to the entire pet food industry. Check for updates on key issues by visiting www.aafco.com or by emailing [email protected]

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