FDA proposes to regulate animal feed

Nov 1, 2013

As yet another wave of pet deaths associated with tainted treats washes through the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing increased government oversight on pet and livestock feed.

The FDA released a proposed rule to regulate pet food and animal feed production last Tuesday. Though the proposed rule largely focuses on pet food and preventing foodborne illnesses in American pets, it has the potential to impact some elements of the livestock feed supply chain.

The proposed rule would require certain facilities that produce, process and pack animal food to create a written food safety plan including a hazard analysis, risk-based preventive controls and response action in the case of a foodborne illness outbreak. Along with this requirement, the proposed rule seeks to establish new current good manufacturing practice regulations that specifically address the manufacturing, processing, packing and holding of animal food.

The rule is mostly documentation-heavy with the focus on written rules and demonstrated due diligence. The proposed rule offers the annualized estimate of $128.75 million as additional industry costs for compliance with the costs generally associated with increased documentation, personnel time and effort, and training.

The proposed rule would apply to any domestic and foreign facilities required to register with the FDA via the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, however, there are several proposed exemptions to the regulation rule. Among the most important to cattle producers, the proposed rule would not apply to farms that produce and manufacture food for their own livestock.

Especially small animal food-producing companies, or those with a heavy direct marketing focus or small geographic impact, would be exempt. Small on-farm activities such as grinding or milling grain, when conducted by small businesses, would also be exempt. Other on-farm or farm-adjacent feed grain processing activities such as packing grain, shelling some agricultural commodities and cutting or shredding hay may also be exempted.

The full proposal can be found online at fda.gov/Food/ GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ ucm366510.htm.

The proposed regulations are open to a public comment period until Feb. 26, 2014. You may comment online on http://www.regulations.gov, or via mail by addressing comments to Division of Dockets Management (HFA- 305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD, 20852.

Keep in mind that all comments will eventually be made public, including identifying information. Only include information in your comments that you are comfortable being made public.

Kerry Halladay, WLJ Editor