As the science of animal nutrition evolves, the animal food manufacturing industry works hard to research and bring new ingredients to market that will improve the health of animals. In recent years, many new ingredients have entered the marketplace with attributes to improve the safety, quality and nutrition of feed and pet food. But, the process for getting new ingredients approved at the federal level has not evolved with the times.
Ingredient suppliers and animal food manufacturers are regularly hitting costly roadblocks that prevent new products from reaching the marketplace. In fact, a study funded by the Institute for Feed Education and Research found that for every year of delay in the approval process, submitting companies across the animal food manufacturing industry were losing an average $1.75 million annually in revenue per ingredient, diminishing their access to capital which could be used for further research and development in the field. And, in some cases, the industry’s international counterparts have moved forward with ingredients approved in their home countries, leaving the U.S. industry behind.
Ensuring that animal food ingredients are not stifled by regulatory red-tape and come to the marketplace in a more expeditious manner is a priority for the American Feed Industry Association. At the AFIA, we are working on behalf of our members with the regulatory staff at the Food and Drug Administration and policymakers on Capitol Hill to provide recommendations on how current regulations can reduce the regulatory burden, both on the FDA and the industry, without compromising animal health and safety.
In 2019, the AFIA advocated for, and was pleased to see included in Congress’ 2020 fiscal year appropriations package, an additional $5 million for the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to hire new ingredient review staff. The FDA has told the industry that despite the coronavirus pandemic, it is moving forward with hiring new staff as part of this mandate. Now, AFIA’s focus will turn to ensuring the agency cannot only maintain this funding, but continue to improve its main ingredient review processes – the Food Additive Petition and Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) notification process – so that American companies can begin counting on an understanding of the requirements and expected review times. In addition, the AFIA will continue its work on improving the ingredient review process at the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which sets the definitions for feed ingredients the states will accept.