THE American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) said it has been informed unofficially that the Food & Drug Administration plans to extend the comment period deadline on the Food Safety Modernization Act's (FSMA) proposed animal food rule from Feb. 26 to March 31.
In November, AFIA, the National Grain & Feed Assn., National Renderers Assn. and Pet Food Institute submitted a joint letter to FDA requesting an extension on the comment period deadline for the animal food rule.
AFIA welcomed FDA's latest decision as it will give the organization valuable extra time to further review and submit comments to the agency. It is unlikely, however, that FDA will grant extensions for other FSMA proposed rules due to a strict court-mandated timeline.
"We'd celebrate this victory, but there's little time to do so with the work still ahead of us in preparing comments for these massive rules — the foreign supplier verification proposed rules and third-party certification proposed rules, for which comments are due Jan. 27," AFIA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs Richard Sellers said. "In addition, FDA has published proposed rules for the veterinary feed directive program due March 11. We're very appreciative that FDA granted our request and will continue to work alongside the agency as we wade through the rules."
Eight subgroups have been formed to focus on specific areas of the rule. AFIA's FSMA working groups met Jan. 16-17 in Tampa, Fla., to answer the 40-plus questions FDA presented in the proposed FSMA animal food rule.
AFIA spokesperson Miranda McDaniel explained that the expectation of the meeting was to address a majority of the issue areas in the rules and to leave with a large number of them resolved or near resolution.
In addition, the appropriations bill report language supports FDA's decision to rewrite and seek public comment on aspects of its proposed FSMA regulations.
"FDA is to be commended for its recent decision to revise language in proposed rules affecting farmers, including changes to proposed regulations regarding water quality standards and testing, the use of raw manure and compost, mixed use facilities and qualified exemptions," the report language states.