The International Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program is expected to launch in the near future with easier importing and exporting of products the clear anticipated benefit of international certification.
Keith Epperson is AFIA’s vice president of manufacturing and training. He also manages the technical details of the Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program. Anne Keller, AFIA’s communications director, is responsible for the marketing and promotion of the Safe Feed/Safe Food program.
AFIA actively engaged in legislation, regulations regarding members’ issues
By Richard Sellers and Steve Kopperud
Even the most casual observers of the American political scene cannot have failed to realize members of Congress were focused on issues related to health care and the recession-battered economy in 2009. Whether or not you agree with the way the debate and legislative activity surrounding the issues unfolded, there is no question most every issue and congressional action considered in Washington, D.C., over the past year related to those weighty matters in some way.
While health care and the economy are priorities of the Obama administration and remain the subjects of a great deal of attention in Congress, other issues with more direct links to the feed industry are getting attention behind the scenes.
On the legislative front
The American Feed Industry Association consistently engages in monitoring and helping shape legislation and regulations that would make changes to the food-safety system and the operations of the Food and Drug Administration, in particular. The way in which the country regulates greenhouse gases and the possible start of a cap-and-trade system for regulating these gases also are of great significance to AFIA members.
Committees in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives have considered these issues to varying degrees in recent months. However, as of this writing in mid-November, neither issue has advanced past that stage.
The eventual passage and enactment of reforms designed to make food safer is given a somewhat greater chance of success than cap-and-trade legislation, according to congressional observers and other experts. In the short term, neither issue appears likely to make it to the floor of either the House or the Senate before the start of 2010. And election-year politics will make it increasingly difficult to move contentious issues in significant ways in 2010.
On the regulatory front
The Food and Drug Administration is very involved with Congress in drafting feed safety legislation. One pending set of rules involves the 2007 Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act, which requires FDA to establish pet-food-processing rules and update ingredient information. FDA missed the deadline for the rulemaking, in part because it is determining whether the rules will apply to all animal foods or just pet food. FDA also awaits congressional action on feed safety, which likely would apply to all animal food as well. The agency seems to be biding its time and hoping for the opportunity to do one large set of rules, instead of doing so twice.
On other fronts, AFIA continues to actively engage FDA officials to urge the correction of some hindrances in the veterinary feed directive, or VFD, process and urge the agency to publish a notification procedure for Generally Recognized as Safe, or GRAS, products. The latter is to ensure new ingredient innovation can be utilized in a timely manner. All new ingredients in feed must either be approved by FDA or via a firm’s self-affirmation as GRAS.
VFD is a process requiring veterinarians to be involved in the selection of certain new animal drugs for use by livestock producers. The VFD has been available since 1996, but it has some obstacles that still need review. FDA officials are contemplating publishing an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking to ask for fixes.
Richard Sellers is AFIA’s vice president of feed regulation and nutrition. Steve Kopperud, of Policy Directions Inc., is AFIA’s government affairs consultant