The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) recently wrapped up its 15th annual Pet Food Conference (PFC), informing nearly 300 pet food professionals of the latest news within this growing industry and providing tips for how to face upcoming challenges. The daylong conference also included the announcement of two Friend of Pet Food Award winners.
“Our industry changes and presents new challenges and opportunities by the second – from the discovery of novel ingredients like green banana flour to the trickle-down effects of a Mexico genetically modified organism ban,” said Louise Calderwood, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs. “Staying ahead of these issues is key to a prosperous and evolving pet food industry.”
The sessions covered the regulatory and trade outlook for the U.S. pet food sector; the importance of cybersecurity and ransomware in the pet food industry; the latest updates on pet food nutrition and labeling from the Association of American Feed Control Officials; challenges and opportunities of human-grade pet food labeling; and human resource issues within companies. In addition, participants learned about emerging issues in the pet food industry from current graduate and undergraduate students.
“With food and ag representing one-sixth of the U.S. economy, these hackers know where the money is,” said Col. John Hoffman, senior research fellow at the Food Protection and Defense Institute in the University of Minnesota. “Why risk your life robbing a bank when you can rob a company? This is the world we live in now.”