THE American Feed Industry Assn. (AFIA) filed comments June 6 with the U.S. Food & Drug Administration requesting an exemption of animal food from provisions made to the Reportable Food Registry provisions (Section 417) of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act, as amended by the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
AFIA — the world's largest organization dedicated exclusively to representing the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the U.S. animal feed industry and its suppliers — explained in the comments that when generating Section 211 of FSMA, which amends the Section 417 Reportable Food Registry requirements, Congress intended only to change requirements for human food products, not animal feed or pet food.
AFIA stated, "The statutory language does not mention 'animal food'; it addresses notification to 'consumers' and requires that notifications be published in 'grocery stores' only.
"The 'consumers' of animal food products are livestock or companion animals. These animals are not capable of purchasing the products or reading a notification regarding a product. Customers or purchasers would have been the more appropriate term if Congress intended this provision to apply to animal food products," the comments continued.
AFIA also noted that the law's exemptions include only "raw agricultural commodities" of fruits and vegetables — not grains that occur in their raw or natural state — further stressing Congress' focus on human food versus animal feed.
The organization highlighted its support for every animal food facility having a recall plan under FSMA, in combination with an effective Reportable Food Registry system enforced by FDA, which AFIA stated would mean that "most products that could cause serious or adverse health consequences or death to humans or animals should be in the process of being recalled or will not have ever reached a grocery store shelf."
Docket No. FDA-2013-N-0590 is an advanced notice of proposed rule-making. FDA will need to review the comments received and then issue a proposed rule for further comment sometime in the future before any requirements go into place.