Sellers notes other key milestones in which AFIA had a role, including the 1938 Food Drug and Cosmetic Act which served as the bedrock legislation for creating a feed ingredient approval process.
In the 1960s, regulatory bodies looking to pass the medicated feed regulations used AFIA’s guidance in helping members better understand the reasoning and execution in moving from voluntary to mandatory product safety information reporting to the FDA. With feed safety, product efficacy and integrity the goals, AFIA worked alongside the FDA to create a best management practices system for medicated feeds. That goal of working proactively and constructively with regulatory agencies continues today.
“Through our Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification program, we’ve been able to demonstrate how our work can become a standard bearer for adoption and implementation of quality assurance certification, without the need for excessive regulatory oversight,” says Sellers. “In fact this program is highly regarded as a template by the FDA and other agencies, in the certification process, and we’re in contact with international parties interested in establishing similar programs.”
As former AFIA president Oakley Ray reinforces, it’s the cooperative spirit that makes reaching these milestones possible.
“The need to organize the many different organizations that touched the industry into a combined force was vital to our survival and relevance,” says Oakley. “Bringing in the Midwest Feed Manufacturers Association, National Feed Ingredients Association and later, the Equipment Manufacturers Association, was a significant move in the right direction.”
What’s on tap for the next century?
Newman and Sellers are both optimistic about the future of the industry and the organization. Obviously, the role of guiding its membership and industry through the rough waters of the regulatory arena remains a top priority, but industry leaders (some are former and current AFIA leaders) agree: It comes down to delivering value to the marketplace.
“The next 100 years should find AFIA membership taking a more active and proactive role in driving and managing change in our industry,” states Don Orr, current AFIA board chairman and president of JBS United, Sheridan, IN. “Our organization is the voice of our industry in Washington, D.C., and our membership needs to be the face of quality assurance to our customers and, more importantly, our customer’s customers.
“Our membership is very diverse today and requires us to be accountable and responsible to all links of the human and animal food chains. I would imagine when people look back on our record 100 years from now, that will be a strong metric by which our legacy will be judged,” Orr concludes.
For former board chairman, Dwight Armstrong, it comes down to the need to inform, educate and bring perspective to various stakeholders.
“The scope of responsibility for the organization has and will continue to change dramatically,” says Armstrong founder of JDA Consulting, and former group vice-president of Provimi Holding. “The constituencies have expanded greatly and not just here in this country, but around the globe. Really, no organization is better positioned to manage the flow of information and outreach to our consumer and regulatory publics, better than AFIA.
“But, it certainly won’t be easy and that’s where key relationships with private industry and the public sector will need to be continuously cultivated,” he cautions.
One thing is for certain, if the AFIA enjoys a century of success at building coalitions, wading through the morass of the regulatory process and creating new, value-driven programs for its members, the next 100 years will find the feed industry in great shape.