Legislative & Regulatory Leadership Actions
9/8/2014
January 2014 - August 2014
Monday, September 8, 2014
by:

Section: Fall 2014




A synopsis of significant actions taken by AFIA on behalf of member companies in the legislative and regulatory arenas. For additional information on any of these items, please contact AFIA staff.
  Accomplishment Member Value
August
SUSTAINABILITY: AFIA submitted comments to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations on the Livestock Environmental Assessment Performance (LEAP) draft guidelines regarding the animal feed supply chain. AFIA praised much of the work that has been performed thus far on the project and requested reasonable ranges of uncertainty in Life Cycle Assessments, clarity to how guidelines relate to the Product Environmental Footprint and accounting for co-products. 
 
The report was developed for a more harmonized approach for LCAs in the animal feed industry and takes into account the various production sectors involved. The draft also defines the methods necessary to produce consistent LCAs across the animal feed industry. AFIA submitted comments to provide a voice for North American agriculture. 
July
GLYCERIN: Following the January approval by the Association of America Feed Control Officials’ Ingredients Definition Committee, the AAFCO membership approved a definition that allowed higher levels of methanol and removed a limit on sulfur level; instead requiring a sulfur label guarantee.
 
 
This recognition of the glycerin traded in the marketplace was an important victory in continuing to allow a commodity in the marketplace that meets the AAFCO definition. AFIA members will now be able to use common biodiesel derived glycerin without fear of stop sales. The AFIA Liquid Feed Committee initiated this action and developed and filed a petition with FDA.  
July & May FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT: AFIA joined 21 industry groups requesting an extension of the proposed Sanitary Transportation of Human and Animal Food. FDA approved a 60-day extension. The rule proposed exemptions for farms and shelf stable products. In its comments, AFIA suggested the exemptions be broadened to include intra-company shipments (when the company maintains control of the product), short haul transports (as defined by the U.S. Department of Transportation) and finished product or raw agricultural commodities transported from facilities to farms in dedicated vehicles.  FSMA requires FDA to create regulations for shippers, carriers by auto transit or railway vehicles, and receivers to use sanitary transportation practices to ensure food—including animal food—being transported does not become contaminated. An exemption from the rule would remove undue burden on farms and feed facilities when any minimal risk via transportation is appropriately handled with internal standard operating procedures and dedicated vehicles.
June
TRANSPORTATION-HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT APPROPRIATIONS ACT: AFIA along with nearly 50 other organizations submitted a letter to Congress requesting support for the targeted truck weight provisions included in Sec. 125 of the FY2015 Transportation-HUD Appropriations Act. Two of the three provisions have been passed by the House by voice vote in the last year. 
 
The ability of states to secure accommodations within federal truck size and weight laws helps make roads safe by keeping heavier vehicles off state and local roads and allowing them to drive on interstate highways. Sec. 125 pertains to Wisconsin, Mississippi and Idaho.
June The ability of states to secure accommodations within federal truck size and weight laws helps make roads safe by keeping heavier vehicles off state and local roads and allowing them to drive on interstate highways. Sec. 125 pertains to Wisconsin, Mississippi and Idaho. Because the language in the proposed rule is unclear and believed by AFIA to be out of line with the original intent of FSMA, an exemption for the animal feed and pet food industry is best. AFIA believes since the statutory language does not mention “animal food,” the need to notify “consumers” and require notifications to be published in “grocery stores” only is unnecessary. Such postings would cost tremendous industry resources with little benefit.
May
TRANSATLANTIC TRADE AND INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP: AFIA sent a joint letter with The European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation (FEFAC) to the United States Trade Representative outlining examples of cooperation between the U.S. and the EU feed regulatory bodies on feed safety legislation and feed industry considerations. 
 
 
The parties requested a joint workshop to discuss existing success in regulatory cooperation between the U.S. and EU feed regulators in hopes that it may prompt additional ideas and approaches to set the future regulatory cooperation framework within TTIP.
May
FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT: AFIA submitted comments to FDA on the designation of modeling for high-risk foods stating that most of the notice appeared to be geared to the human food industry.
 
 
The sole question in the notice that FDA raises relative to animal food is a question concerning the use of this draft approach to animal food. AFIA’s primary response was that the model criteria are generally not useful for determining high-risk animal foods, and the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine should create a specific set of criteria modeled after its Animal Feed Safety System criteria.
May ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN FEED CONTROL OFFICIALS: AFIA submitted a letter to the AAFCO board requesting they reconsider the feed ingredient monograph pilot project, as it provided limited benefit to the feed industry. AFIA believes it was an inappropriate time to introduce an additional process and task to the current AAFCO ingredient review process. Data to complete the monograph would be more readily available for a new ingredient but the pilot project proved finding the data for older ingredients was challenging, leading AFIA to question what happens if there are only monographs for new ingredients but not for old ingredients.
April MARYLAND SPAY/NEUTER PROGRAM: AFIA and the National Grain and Feed Association submitted comments on Maryland’s “COMAR 15.01.10 Spay/Neuter Grant Program.” Starting Oct.1, 2013, the additional fee was $50, on Oct. 1, 2014, the fee will rise to $75, and on Oct. 1, 2015, the fee will be $100 per product. AFIA does not believe that manufacturers of commercial feed or pet food products should be required to fund social welfare programs like this spay/neuter program, and instead believe that fees paid into the commercial feed program should be utilized for administering the feed program in that state.
April HOURS-OF-SERVICE: AFIA, as part of a coalition of on-farm input organizations, successfully worked to expand an exemption to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s hours-of-service (HOS) rule for commercial truck drivers hauling agriculture commodities—including feed. The recent change should push all states to adopt the agricultural exemption or risk losing their federal highway funding. Effective March 2013, retailers and wholesalers “delivering farm supplies for agricultural purposes” will be exempt if the distribution point and location where the supplies will be used (the farm) are within a 150 air-mile radius. This is an increase from the previous 100 mile air-mile radius. The major change, however, is tying state adoption to federal funds. Although relatively few states have currently adopted the latest change in regulations (and thus, the updated exemptions), all states will be required to do so by 2016, if they wish to remain eligible for federal-aid highway funds. AFIA has tracked amendments made in California, Illinois and Washington thus far.
Aug. - Feb. PORCINE EPIDEMIC DIARRHEA VIRUS: AFIA continues to monitor the recent outbreak of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus and urged the Institute for Feed Education & Research, to provide a $100,000 grant supporting research on PEDV. AFIA has been a part of an agriculture industry coalition providing the feed industry’s input on this very important issue and also hosted Japanese officials to share insight. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Laboratory Network, there have been nearly 2,700 diagnosed cases of PEDV in 23 states as well as cases reported in Canada and Mexico. Industry experts estimate that more than 9 million pigs may have fatally suffered from the virus so far. IFEEDER has raised nearly 75 percent of the funding and AFIA will donate the difference.  
April & Feb. GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISM LABELING OF FOOD AND FEED PRODUCTS: AFIA, along with 35 industry and non-governmental organizations, are advocating for congressional action on a federal GMO labeling solution. The coalition’s goal is to provide policy makers, media, consumers and all stakeholders with the facts about ingredients grown through genetically modified technology. In April, Reps. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) and G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) introduced bipartisan legislation to address GMO labeling at a federal level, which AFIA supports in concept. By having a federal GMO labeling solution, it will protect consumers by ensuring the safety of both food and feed ingredients produced through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology. In addition, if a labeling solution is not agreed upon, and even a few of the pending state initiatives are successful, the feed industry’s cost of doing business goes up, on-farm production costs go up and ultimately the consumer pays the price, with limited benefit. 
March FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT: AFIA submitted comments, along with 19 state and regional feed and grain associations, to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on the proposed rule on “Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals.” One major area of AFIA’s comments is its focus on Current Good Manufacturing Practices, or CGMPs. CGMPs should be “more practical and less prescriptive,” which will allow its members and the industry as a whole to be more innovative and have a better understanding as it is the first time many companies will use CGMPs, as they have previously only been a requirement for medicated feed. AFIA also requested FDA to simplify terms and concepts used throughout the rule such as replacing “utensils” with “tools” or “sanitation” with “cleaning.” 
It was quite clear the majority of the proposed CGMP requirements came directly from the human food rule, and it has been left up to the feed industry to prove why the requirements are unnecessary as many do not relate to animal food in the slightest. An example is where the proposed rule suggests ill employees can contaminate animal food, hence making the animal sick. AFIA provided support that this is not the case. A practical set of rules based on reasonable costs for the benefits provided is required by administrative law. AFIA is continuing to push for that approach in these comments and others.  
 
 
March
LCA GUIDELINES: AFIA, as a part of the International Feed Industry Federation’s coalition on Global Feed Life Cycle Assessment coalition efforts by the United Nations’s FAO-14led Livestock Environmental Assessment and Performance Partnership (LEAP) were opened for final review.  AFIA provided three consultants in this effort and joined the FAO public-private partnership.  
 
LEAP aims to improve how the environmental impact of the livestock industry is measured and assessed. It is based on harmonized, science-based, practical and international approach to the assessment of the environmental performance of feed supply chains, while taking into account the specificity of the diverse production systems that exist globally. A science-based approach is extremely important in this effort given the FAO’s past efforts.  
March
OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION: AFIA submitted comments to OSHA regarding the proposed rule to improve tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. AFIA expressed concerns with the release of confidential information and employee personally identifiable information. AFIA supports the existing recordkeeping rule to allow employers to identify and address risks within the workplace and to allow OSHA to identify high hazard industries. 
 
OSHA fails to recognize that information other than an employee’s name, such as date of injury, injured body part, treatment or job title can be used to identify an employee, particularly in a small community. 
March TRANS FATS: AFIA filed comments to the FDA on the removal of trans fats from America’s food system. The concern is that FDA did not clearly define the phase-out process only applies to human food for consumption and not animal food. Because the statutory definition of “food” in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act applies to food for man or animal, clarification is requested. Defined as an ingredient by AAFCO since 1989, vegetable oils and partially hydrogenated oils, or trans fats, can provide essential fatty acids in diets and rations of livestock, poultry, aquaculture and companion animals. Removing them from the feed supply will be costly and is without a rationale basis.  
March
TRADE: AFIA, along with 43 other organizations, sent a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman regarding Canada and Japan’s lack of market liberalization during the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.
 
 
It is important that all countries involved in the TPP agreement be willing to offer comprehensive market-access liberalization for all sectors of their economy. 
 
 
March
VETERINARY FEED DIRECTIVE: AFIA filed comments to FDA on a proposed rule regarding VFD expressing concern about the details of the rule that could potentially have a negative effect on the feed industry. FDA added a veterinarian’s intention statement that if final would further disrupt the medicated feed marketplace.
 
 
The overall shortage of veterinarians who will be needed to cover the large, expected increase in approved VFD animal drugs and the training needed are important areas that will impact AFIA members. In addition, AFIA requested FDA create a program for integrating new VFD products into the marketplace and newly created VFD combos. Also reduction of recordkeeping time from two to one year is welcomed news. AFIA is attempting to ensure that reasonable, practical changes to the VFD rule will assist in administering VFDs and provide for changes needed to demonstrate judicious use of the medically important animal drugs for the long term.
February
CHINA and PORK: AFIA, along with 14 other groups, sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman regarding the new and unwarranted Chinese “test and hold” requirements on the imports of U.S. pork, related to certain approved veterinary drugs. 
 
 
While USDA quickly created a new “Never Fed Beta-Agonists” program to address the concerns, industry learned that China is testing for three approved veterinary drugs commonly used in the U.S.—tetracycline hydrochloride, oxytetracycline and sulfathiazole. Trade of pork to China is an extremely important market and thus an important issue for U.S. feed manufacturers. 
February
ENVIRONMENT and FEED INGREDIENTS: AFIA, as part of the Specialty Feed Ingredient Sustainability Project Consortium, which includes IFIF and FEFANA, announced the results of a year-long study confirming the role of specialty feed ingredients in the reduction of the environmental impact of livestock production.
 
 
The project developed a LCA system that can be used on future feed ingredients. This information is critical in the overall area of sustainability in the livestock and poultry industries. AFIA will continue to provide the U.S. perspective in this project. AFIA is awaiting issuance of the final guideline. 
 
 
February CHIPOTLE’S ONLINE TV SERIES: AFIA provided members with a recap of Chipotle’s online TV series, Farmed and Dangerous, as well as sample social media messaging, a letter to the editor template and key messaging.  AFIA members were kept up-to-date on this evolving marketing tactic from Chipotle that directly attacked the feed industry. The information was well received and provided members information on how to address the issue in a timely manner.
February COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION: AFIA, as part of the broader Commodity Markets Oversight Coalition, submitted comments to the CFTC regarding the proposed “Position Limits for Derivatives” rule. The commodity derivatives markets were created as tools for risk mitigation and price discovery for bona fide commercial headers and why speculators are necessary for the proper function of these markets.  The coalition has long held the failure to properly monitor and limit speculative activity can exacerbate price volatility, unhinge markets from real world supply and demand fundamentals, and create the opportunity for market manipulation.
February
EXPORT CERTIFICATES: AFIA led a coalition of associations supporting the USDA and FDA agreement to allow USDA authority to certify animal feed and pet food products for export. The first program is certification of distiller’s co-products for export to China.
 
 
Several countries such as Brazil and China require a U.S. government certification of feed and pet food products and prior to this agreement, there was no one entity that could provide this service to U.S. exporters. This agreement provides an option that may be used by members to export products where current solutions do not exist. 
January
GLOBAL FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE-BENCHMARKED: AFIA’s Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Program now has a GFSI-benchmarked option available from the Safe Quality Food Institute (FSC 34). In addition, the Pet Food Manufacturing Facility and Ingredient Facility Certification programs now are GFSI-benchmarked (FSC 32). 
 
 
Several businesses have requested a GFSI-benchmarked program designed specifically for the feed and pet food industry, instead of using a food-based program. 
 
 
January FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT: AFIA submitted comments to the FDA regarding the proposed rule on Foreign Supplier Verification Programs. AFIA stressed that one regulatory solution may not be appropriate for both human food and animal feed.  As many feed ingredients are imported into the U.S., it is important that the final rule takes into consideration risk-based controls, has flexibility and real-world applicability. 
January FOOD SAFETY MODERNIZATION ACT: AFIA submitted comments to the FDA regarding the proposed rule on “Accreditation of Third-Party Auditors/Certification Bodies.” AFIA, although supportive of the development of an accreditation system that will increase the reliability of third-party food safety audits and certifications, expressed concern the program will not achieve the number of participants needed to make it a viable system due to the onerous notification and reporting requirements. AFIA believes that with the broad interpretation of the notification requirement, the agency would be flooded with notifications of minor conditions and would also deter many eligible entities from using accredited auditors or certification bodies. Any final rule issued by FDA should provide for reasonable data requests from FDA, otherwise, this program will have very few firm operating.  
January
TRADE: AFIA welcomed the introduction of legislation to Congress that would grant President Barack Obama “fast-track” authority (Trade Promotion Authority or TPA) to negotiate trade deals, which expired in 2007. 
 
 
TPA requires Congress to vote trade agreements up or down, without any amendments. The future growth of the U.S. feed industry lies in exports, whether it be directly or indirectly through meat and dairy exports. The acceptance of TPA by Congress would allow the administration to effectively negotiate more favorable treaties. 
January CHINA TRADE: AFIA led a group of trade associations in the support of the U.S. government in implementing China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine Decree 118 for plant-based protein feeds. The next step for this implementation is an audit by AQSIQ on plant-based protein feed facilities. AFIA has strongly encouraged members to volunteer their facilities for this audit. Although companies may be hesitant to volunteer for such an audit, AFIA is confident there is strong benefit of taking a collaborative and proactive approach with the Chinese to ensure the continued export of plant-based products to China. 
January FOOD SAFETY MODERNIAZATION ACT: In a letter drafted by AFIA to the FDA and signed by AFIA, National Grain and Feed Association, Pet Food Institute and National Renderers Association, a request was made in November 2013 to extend the comment period to March 31, for FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act proposed rules on good manufacturing practices and preventive controls for animal food. AFIA was notified that FDA intends to grant the request, which added an additional month to the comment period. However, it is unlikely FDA will grant additional FSMA-related extensions due to a court-ordered timeline, which requires all proposed rule comment periods must end by March 31. FDA is appealing the timeline but AFIA believes it will not likely prevail in the appeal.  
January GLYCERIN: At the AAFCO meeting in January, the ingredient committee approved the adoption of a tentative definition for “glycerin derived from biodiesel,” in which AFIA’s Liquid Feed Committee requested an allowance of up to 5,000 parts per million of methanol and the removal of the sulfur limitations, but added a guarantee requirement.
The FDA-approved definition completely removed the sulfur level, but required guaranteeing the sulfur on the label. AFIA was very pleased with this change. The AAFCO definition now more closely matches the product available in the market and will allow for use of this product in the liquid feed industry. AAFCO membership will vote on it in August.   
 
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