More than 100 people attended the American Feed Industry Association’s Regulatory Training Short Course that provided an intensive, one-day training on how to work as a regulatory professional in the feed, ingredient and pet food industry. The meeting, held in Arlington, Va., was designed for experienced regulatory directors, allowing them to interact with government officials and develop strategies to tackle the issues impacting their business.
This year, the Food Safety Modernization Act was a large focus of the event. RTS, which was originally scheduled over the course of two days, was condensed so attendees could travel to College Park, Md., to attend the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s first public meeting on the proposed rule to establish current good manufacturing practice and hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for food for animals. Guest speakers and AFIA staff also addressed the proposed animal food rule and how it will affect the industry when implemented.
FDA representatives Dr. Terry Proescholdt, Dr. Krisztina Atkinson and Dr. Mika Alewynse presented on health hazard evaluations, PETNet and LivestockNet, and building a good data submission, respectively. Representatives from AFIA’s counsel, OFW Law, also addressed the crowd, discussing what to expect next in regards to FSMA, how to recognize a structure/function claim and generally recognized as safe (GRAS) self-determination.
Other guest speaker/topics included: Meagan Davis (Louisiana Department of Agriculture & Forestry), the Dos and Don’ts of Working with your State Legislator; Robert Wilson (Strategic Alliance of Food Experts), Preparing for an FDA Inspection; and Jill Homer Stewart (Policy Directions), Washington Update. Stewart detailed the Environmental Protection Agency’s option to reduce the renewable fuels standard, caught attendees up on immigration reform, genetically engineered food labeling and the national spending issues, and explained the ongoing farm bill troubles.
A bullet panel filled with agriculture industry leaders provided updates on their organization’s and initiatives during the lunch hour from Animal Agriculture Alliance’s crusade against the fallacies of Meatless Mondays to the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s movement to prevent labeling on genetically modified foods.
On day two of the event, RTS participants took part in the first of three FDA public meetings on FSMA. Richard Sellers, AFIA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs, addressed the room filled with more than 120 meeting attendees and a FDA FSMA panel commenting on the lack of time the industry has been given to provide comments on the proposed animal food rule.
“Please note, FDA took almost two years to draft the rules, held a back and forth with the Office of Management and Budget for some 11 months and now expects the feed industry to review them and provide comments in some 14 weeks,” said Sellers.
Sellers addressed the concern the industry has regarding the similarities between the proposed animal food rule and the human food rule. He also commented on the difficulties to come due to the proposed timeframe for implementation, noting AFIA proposes FDA use a phase-in on continued good manufacturing practices for one year and then add preventive control rules on a two to four year phase-in post final rule publication to allow for better compliance.
Following the comment period, members of the audience, including AFIA members, took part in a question and answer session with the panel. The session offered answers to concerns industry representatives presented and allowed FDA to hear feedback on the proposed rule as they move forward in the process.
In addition to the RTS event and FSMA public meeting, 62 attendees new to the regulatory side of the feed industry attended a half day pre-seminar prior to the conference’s start. The pre-seminar provided attendees with an in-depth breakdown of the federal Food and Drug Cosmetic Act; Code of Federal Regulations; a breakdown on state feed laws, the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the “Official Publication;” federal agency roles; AFIA’s role within the industry; and how to engage with AFIA. Attendees were given ample time to ask questions and the pre-seminar was also a great networking tool for those new to the industry.
The first-ever AFIA Regulatory Training was offered in 2009 and drew members and non-members alike. The bi-annual event is planned to next be offered in 2015.
For questions, please contact Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients and state legislative affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 558-3560.