The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday announced a strategy to establish ingredient definitions and standards for animal food.
The strategy, FDA said, will increase transparency and affirm the safety of the animal food supply, as required by the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007.
As part of the strategy, the FDA will review the list of animal food ingredient definitions used by industry and state regulators, which is contained in Association of American Feed Control Officials' Official Publication.
AAFCO is a voluntary membership organization that includes regulatory officials of U.S. state and federal government agencies. AAFCO provides a forum for these regulatory officials to provide guidance and recommendations to ensure that the regulation of animal feeds is as uniform as possible from state to state.
The Official Publication includes FDA-approved food additives and ingredients that are generally recognized as safe, as well as AAFCO-established definitions for other ingredients.
The FDA intends to align AAFCO ingredient listings with the agency's regulatory process and requirements.
FDA has identified five steps for animal food ingredients:
• The FDA intends to publish a proposed rule establishing as the agency's standards and definitions for animal food ingredients the AAFCO definitions for those ingredients that are GRAS or approved by the agency as food additives. This proposed rule will be open for public comment, and the agency will consider those comments before issuing a final rule.
• FDA scientists will evaluate the remaining animal food ingredients listed in the AAFCO Official Publication that are currently not FDA-approved food additives or GRAS.
• In cases where the scientific literature supports a GRAS determination, the FDA will publish the supporting information in the Federal Register for public comment before affirming the ingredient as GRAS.
• In cases where the data and information support a finding that the ingredient meets the food additive approval standard, the FDA intends to approve the ingredient as a food additive.
• In cases where the FDA does not currently have data to make a GRAS determination or to approve the ingredient as a food additive, the agency will require manufacturers of these ingredients to submit a food additive petition in order to allow continued legal use of the product in animal food.
Although animal food ingredient definitions and standards generally do not vary widely across the industry, and consumers can be confident in their accuracy, FDA said its strategy will formalize definitions and standards to meet federal laws and regulations.
According to the American Feed Industry Association, the standards have been part of an ongoing dialogue with the AFIA, FDA and AAFCO for several years.
"AFIA has worked diligently toward a fix for the FDAAA ingredient standards issue and ensuring the AAFCO ingredient review process and current AAFCO definitions remain in place, as they are referenced in most state feed laws as the official ingredient definitions," said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients, pet food and state affairs.
"Although this process has been slow to reach fruition, we now have a firm commitment that CVM will remain part of the AAFCO process providing company's confidence as they contemplate investments when they consider bringing new products into the marketplace," Wilkinson said.