THE International Feed Industry Federation (IFIF) last week published the "Comparison of Regulatory Management of Authorized Ingredients, Approval Processes & Risk-Assessment Procedures for Feed Ingredients" report that covers Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, Japan, South Africa and the U.S.
This study was drafted based on expert input by government feed regulators as well as feed and feed ingredient associations in the seven regions covered. The report was also reviewed by global feed regulators at the recent sixth International Feed Regulators Meeting in Sun City, South Africa.
The demand for animal protein worldwide has stimulated an increase in feed production. IFIF is predicting 2% growth for the global feed industry this year.
Therefore, the organization identified three concentration areas for 2013: (1) facilitating dialogue with the whole feed and food chain and international regulators, (2) measuring and improving the environmental performance of livestock production and (3) working toward developing feed standards and harmonizing the regulatory process on the international level.
In order to reach consistent international standards and regulatory processes for feed ingredients, the current regulatory and approval process must be quantified.
In 2011, IFIF released the initial "Comparison of Approval Process & Risk-Assessment Procedure for Feed Ingredients" report, which compared legislative systems in the U.S., Canada and EU. Based on interest by global feed regulators, IFIF decided to undertake this second phase by updating the report for the U.S., EU and Canada and expanding the scope to the other world regions.
A different approach was taken to complete the second phase of the study. A unified questionnaire was created by the IFIF Feed Additive Comparison Project task force and was provided to national feed associations within the seven jurisdictions to complete. Some jurisdictions had assistance from government authorities.
The draft report was circulated to national feed associations and the government authorities for review before it was released.
"The objective of the report is to address similarities and differences among the seven regulatory jurisdictions on the regulatory management of authorized (existing) feed ingredients, the approval process and risk management assessment for feed ingredients," IFIF executive director Alexandra de Athayde explained. "We believe this study can assist in global marketing as well as supporting the harmonization/convergence efforts by identifying areas of dissimilarity, which ultimately should ease trade of feed and feed ingredients among the regions covered by the study."
The American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA), representing the U.S. feed industry, was an active participant in the IFIF Feed Additive Comparison Project task force.
In an interview, Richard Sellers, AFIA vice president of feed regulation and nutrition, explained that the regulatory process and standards are clearer in certain countries than in others. Trade policies with foreign companies are also a moving target, and it can be difficult to market a feed ingredient on the world market when the rules keep changing.
"The goal of the study was to provide a roadmap for companies to operate in the global market," Sellers said.
For those companies wanting to market feed ingredients globally, the study should provide in-depth guidelines and details for the seven regions. Sellers warned that the new report is not written in laymen's terms; similar to international regulatory policies, the report is complex.
The recently released report builds the framework for IFIF's goal to establish international feed standards and converge regulatory processes.
However, since government rules are in a constant state of flux, "the harmonizing of international regulatory process may not happen in my lifetime," Sellers concluded.
In the report, IFIF admits that harmonization is considered a laudable goal. Nevertheless, in an era of globalized food supplies, food safety is the primary concern.
Global agreement on defined acceptable feed ingredients, manufacturing controls and authorization requirements is one step toward a safe food supply. Understanding jurisdictional differences and working toward harmonization also will assist in the goal of a safe global food supply.
The final report can be downloaded at www.ifif.org.