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Groups comment on FDA risk assessment on manure useGroups comment on FDA risk assessment on manure use

Decisions on manure use could adversely affect animal agriculture, nine groups write to FDA.

Jacqui Fatka

July 22, 2016

2 Min Read
Groups comment on FDA risk assessment on manure use

Nine agricultural groups submitted joint comments to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on its proposal to conduct a risk assessment of foodborne illnesses associated with pathogens found in manure applied to land on which produce is grown. The risk assessment could lead to regulation of manure use.

The groups expressed concern that if FDA doesn’t have current and emerging scientific research and doesn’t consider existing conservation and environmental standards, its decisions on manure use could adversely affect animal agriculture.

Signing on to the letter includes the American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., National Chicken Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Milk Producers Federation, National Pork Producers Council, National Turkey Federation, United Egg Producers and the U.S. Poultry & Egg Assn.

“The agency has informed us that given the current comment period represents a first step in FDA’s effort to fill existing information gaps, additional technical and scientific data or information on management practices will be accepted going forward as the agency proceeds with its work on the risk assessment after the current comment deadline,” the letter stated. “We would look forward to providing additional input in response to the agency’s outreach efforts.”

The letter referenced the general findings in the scientific literature as well as experience with the National Organic Program.

For instance, while human pathogens like E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella are associated with animals, they occur at a relatively low concentration levels in raw soil amendments.

The comments also note that there is a wide variability in the use of Biological Soil Amendments of Animal Origin (BSAAO) across the country as a cost-effective substitute for commercial fertilizer and for use on organic farms. “There are multiple application methods that may impact pathogen levels, making it difficult to set a science-based approach to applying BSAAO that directly correlates to food safety,” the groups wrote.

They also suggested that FDA consider including expert stakeholders from the animal agriculture community in its “summit” meeting planned for next year, which would “prove invaluable in providing a necessary perspective and informing the risk assessment.”

About the Author(s)

Jacqui Fatka

Policy editor, Farm Futures

Jacqui Fatka grew up on a diversified livestock and grain farm in southwest Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications, with a minor in agriculture education, in 2003. She’s been writing for agricultural audiences ever since. In college, she interned with Wallaces Farmer and cultivated her love of ag policy during an internship with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, working in Sen. Chuck Grassley’s Capitol Hill press office. In 2003, she started full time for Farm Progress companies’ state and regional publications as the e-content editor, and became Farm Futures’ policy editor in 2004. A few years later, she began covering grain and biofuels markets for the weekly newspaper Feedstuffs. As the current policy editor for Farm Progress, she covers the ongoing developments in ag policy, trade, regulations and court rulings. Fatka also serves as the interim executive secretary-treasurer for the North American Agricultural Journalists. She lives on a small acreage in central Ohio with her husband and three children.

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