AFIA requests animal food exemption from reporting registry

Comments to FDA express that Congress didn't intend to require animal food to be included in reportable food registry.

The American Feed Industry Association filed comments June 6 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration requesting an exemption of animal food from provisions made to the Reportable Food Registry provisions (Sec. 417) of the Federal Food Drug & Cosmetic Act as amended by the Food Safety Modernization Act.

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, Congress' intent when generating Sec. 211 of FSMA, which amends Sec. 417 of the FD&C regarding the Reportable Food Registry requirements, was only designated for human food products and not intended to affect animal feed or pet food. The organization 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 the law's exemptions only include "raw agricultural commodities" of fruits and vegetables--not including grains used that occur in their raw or natural state--further stressing Congress' focus on human food versus animal food.

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 prevent "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: Implementation of the Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act Amendments to the Reportable Food Registry Provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act" is an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking. 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.

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