FDA denies FSMA animal feed rule comment period extension

Industry request to allow for more review of Food Safety and Modernization Act Animal Food Rule will stay as March 31.

The Food and Drug Administration has denied a request from animal feed industry members seeking a 90-day extension on the animal feed comment rule set to end March 31, 2014.

The American Feed Industry Assn., National Grain and Feed Assn., National Renderers Assn. and Pet Food Institute had filed a joint request to extend the comment period on the proposed rule “Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Food for Animals.”

The rule, first published in Oct. 29, 2013, was originally set to have a comment period ending Feb. 26, 2014. However, FDA allowed for an additional 33 days in a request granted last fall to March 31.

Previously FDA was under a court mandate to have all rules published by June 2015, but a new court agreement in February allowed for new deadlines, with the preventative controls and animal feed rules be published no later than Aug. 30, 2015.   

In a letter to the groups from Bernadette Dunham, director of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, FDA said it felt this total period of 153 days “has provided ample opportunity for stakeholders to comment on the proposed rule.”

Richard Sellers, senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs, continued to argue that the five months given to the animal feed industry is insufficient to review the 400-plus pages of the proposed rule. The human food rule had an 11-plus month comment period timeline, he explained.

Many industry members had hoped that FDA would re-propose the rule for a second time after the agency has reviewed comments received in response to the March 31 deadline.  Sellers statement noted that AFIA does not predict FDA will move forward with a re-proposal of the rule as there is simply not enough time given the court-mandated timeline.

“However, FDA stated it will publish revised language for the proposed rule, which was a deciding factor in their denial of a second extension to the comment period deadline,” Sellers said.

He added that AFIA will continue to filter feedback and comments after that due date to the enormity of the rule.

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