AMS designated to register, audit and certify feed products for export to meet foreign requirements.
THE U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food & Drug Administration reached a new agreement that designates USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as the authority to certify animal feed and pet food products for export to foreign countries.
USDA said AMS has unique capabilities in working with stakeholders to develop export certification programs that meet the specific requirements of other countries. With years of experience certifying agricultural products for export, AMS will now expand its services to support the trade of animal feed and feed ingredients.
"This agreement is a big step toward helping U.S. feed exporters take advantage of the growing global demand for these products," AMS administrator Anne Alonzo said. "By allowing producers to obtain certification that some importing countries require, this effort opens new markets for U.S. products, generating additional economic benefits and more jobs across rural America."
Gina Tumbarello, American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) manager of international trade, said the agreement was a result of AFIA's efforts to inform USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service about several issues the feed industry has experienced when exporting to various markets, such as Brazil's requirement for good manufacturing practice certifications and products under the implementation of China's AQSIQ Decree 118.
"The need to find a feed export certification solution for the increasingly popular requirements being put out by several countries ultimately led to these government agencies coming together to develop an agreement that would allow AMS to serve as the competent authority for feeds and register, audit and certify feed facilities as needed based on foreign requirements," Tumbarello said.
The agreement was modeled after a previous USDA/FDA agreement on processed egg programs.
Under this agreement, AMS has the authority to audit, register and provide export certification for animal feed and pet food products for export. Once this program has been developed and implemented, it has the potential to provide new opportunities for U.S. feed exporters as well as support existing markets.
AMS now has the ability to certify a wide range of animal feed products, including pet food and treats, dried distillers grains with solubles, mixed-ingredient feeds and feed additives. The total market for U.S. exports of animal feed and feed ingredients (excluding soybeans) worldwide is estimated to be $20 billion.
The program will not be implemented across the board for all feed and feed ingredient products to all markets. Instead, it will be addressed on a country-by-country basis.
AFIA said it will help identify markets where the feed, feed ingredient and pet food industries are currently experiencing export difficulties related to certifications to meet foreign requirements. AMS will then work with the foreign government to determine if there is an opportunity for AMS to fulfill the requirements.
The hope is for AMS to develop a program and certificate that could be used across several export market requirements rather than creating a separate certificate for each market, AFIA said in a statement.
Steps are already underway to use this program to address certification requirements for processed plant-based feed products under China's AQSIQ Decree 118, and AFIA said it looks forward to future opportunities to use this new mechanism for certification of feed and pet food products for export to other markets.
AFIA said it has been supportive of the USDA/FDA agreement since its early stages of development and plans to work collaboratively with AMS, FDA and other representatives from the feed, grain and pet food industries as this program develops.