AFIA Pet Food Conference Purr-fect Way to Kick off IPPE
“More than 250 people registered for the conference, which shows the immense interest surrounding the ever-developing pet food industry,” said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients, pet food and state affairs.
“Pets are considered part of the American household far more today than 20 years ago; they are part of the family. The conference provides an excellent outlet for every aspect of the pet food industry to hear from experts and discuss challenges and breakthroughs within their field,” said Wilkinson.
Various speakers presented on a number of topics including LeAnn Chuboff’s (Safe Quality Food Institute) update on the Pet Food Facility Certification Program, Marianne Smith Edge’s (International Food Information Council) presentation on ‘Technology and the Consumer,” and Dr. David Meeker (National Renderers Association) and Dr. Charles Starkey’s (American Proteins) joint presentation on “Let’s Talk Innovation: Animal Proteins.”
Svetlana Uduslivaia of Euromonitor International focused on both domestic and global trends, informing the audience of a positive increase in cat and dog food sales globally at a constant three percent in 2014. She said to expect emerging markets on the horizon in Brazil and Russia as 46 percent of Brazilian households own a dog(s) and 20 percent own a cat(s). In Russia, the growth is not far behind, with 28 percent of households owning a dog(s) and 37 percent of households owning a cat(s). The anticipated pet population growth will inevitably result in an increase in pet food consumption.
General updates were provided to the group from representatives from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Richard Ten Eyck, AAFCO president, discussed his association and its connection to current issues facing the pet food industry.
“Pet food issues and questions from consumers take up roughly 50 percent of staff and volunteer time for AAFCO,” stated Ten Eyck. “AAFCO is working on a consumer-facing website, but industry needs to better tell its story and then the states can focus on our role of ensuring industry is doing what you are saying.”
Dr. Daniel McChesney of FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine joined the conversation, providing an overview of many of the initiatives AFIA works closely with the agency on (and how the initiatives pertain to the pet food industry), including the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 and Salmonella.
McChesney said dried commercial dog and cat food has made enormous strides to reduce the prevalence of Salmonella, down to 1.7 percent in samples taken during the 2010-12 timeframe, down from 13 percent in 2002-06. He added, due to the decrease is Salmonella occurrence, dry pet food will not be part of the assignment for the current fiscal year sampling plan.
The event concluded with a panel focused on pet food safety and current issues and preparations for the pending final regulations for the Food Safety Modernization Act.