ARLINGTON, VA. — Pet food and animal feed industry associations have applauded a decision by the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) that strikes down an antiquated regulatory policy regarding new feed ingredient approval.
According to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the current policy — which dates back to 1998 — hindered the assimilation of new and innovative feed ingredients and additives to the marketplace in terms of both time and money. Taking a strict view of certain nutritive and non-nutritive ingredients, such as those that support food safety, sustainability, and animal health and wellbeing, as drugs has impeded ingredient innovation in the rapidly evolving US pet food and animal feed industries. This includes ingredients that promote digestive health and the gut microbiome — an increasing trend in pet nutrition.
“The AFIA welcomes the CVM’s intention to withdraw its nearly 30-year-old regulatory policy, which shows its commitment to partnering with animal food innovators,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the AFIA. “This action signifies progress toward fixing a broken process and will allow our industry to start providing innovations for animal production, but the need does not end here.”
According to David Fairfield, senior vice president of feed at the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), the current regulatory approval process for novel feed ingredients can take more than three years.
“The decision announced by the FDA today will promote the introduction of innovative animal food products with production benefits that will help keep American agriculture competitive,” Fairfield said. “Notably, our global competitors in Europe, Asia and South America already have updated their policies to allow feed products on the market that demonstrate increased efficiency in meat production, as well as byproduct and waste reduction.”
Both Cullman and Fairfield went on to urge Congress to pass the Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development (Innovative FEED) Act. The Innovative FEED Act is aimed at alleviating current logjams in the regulatory process for new feed ingredients and builds on the CVM’s recent decision.
With the adoption of the FEED Act, novel ingredients would be reviewed for safety and efficacy in the framework of food additives, rather than drugs, which would expedite their approval. It was first put before congress in December 2023 and is still awaiting a vote.
“Congress, now it’s your turn to act by swiftly by passing the bipartisan Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development (Innovative FEED) Act (H.R.6687 and S. 1842), providing the FDA with the tools it needs to codify a regulatory pathway and support American animal food manufacturers,” Cullman said.
Fairfield added passage of the act “would establish legislative language for a new category of animal food additives that could improve animal production and wellbeing, diminish pre-harvest food safety concerns, and boost sustainability opportunities.”
For more regulatory news affecting the pet food market, visit our Regulatory page.