Recently at FDA headquarters in Washington, DC, the agency held a public meeting on the proposed regulations in pet food. I watched the meeting online – here are some highlights of that meeting.
The bulk of this meeting was FDA explaining the proposed regulations that are currently open for comment. There will be two more meetings – one of which Mollie Morrissette will be attending in her home state of California – this will be next week (yea Mollie!). To read about the proposed regulations, Click Here. After the FDA portion of the meeting, the agency allowed those in attendance to pose questions. Here are some of the comments I noted…
The AFIA (American Feed Industry Association) commented they brought “90 people with them” to this meeting. AFIA complained that the time frame to comment (120 days) was “unrealistic” and the lobby group for animal feed manufacturers and ingredient suppliers opposed the FDA linking animal food regulations to human food regulations. AFIA stated they believed “Congressional intent was to separate animal food and human food”. And they shared they have begun discussions with their attorneys to separate human food and animal food within the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act laws.
The Humane Society of the United States supported the FDA proposed regulations. The HSUS also stated they felt equal standards should be required of all foreign suppliers.
Some of the complaints were related to the bulk handling and transportation of animal feed. As example, in most human food facilities the equipment is stainless steel for easy clean up (contamination prevention) and the transportation of human food must meet specific requirements (to prevent contamination). Often animal food manufacturing equipment or bulk handling equipment is not stainless steel (not allowing for easy clean up) and transportation of animal feed does not have to meet particular safety standards. An FDA spokesperson – in response to the complaint what the proposed safe handling requirements will be – stated that animal feed manufacturers will not have to change their equipment to (as example) stainless steel – but they will be required to keep equipment clean.
There was a comment relating to trade and these proposed regulations in other countries that export goods (animal feed and ingredients) to the U.S. It was mentioned that New Zealand is already approved (having similar Good Manufacturing Practices as these proposed FDA regulations), and it was stated that EU countries are close to being approved. And then China was mentioned. Dr. Tollefson (FDA) stated (regarding China’s approval) “It’s tied up with the trade negotiations going on with the Asian countries.” This statement left me a little concerned…why would/how could ‘trade negotiations’ have anything to do with required Good Manufacturing Practices?
Other organizations in attendance were American Veterinary Medical Association, National Chicken Council, Purdue Foods, National Renderers Association.
The overall feeling I got from the comments at this meeting was industry is a bit concerned – not at all happy with the proposed regulations.
Again, fellow pet food safety advocate Mollie Morrissette will be attending – and speaking – at the California FDA meeting. I’m confident she will tell us every detail of her experience.
I will have more details on the proposed FDA animal food/pet food regulations soon – and an easier way for everyone to comment. Coming soon.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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