ARLINGTON, VA. — On April 15, US Representatives Ashley Hinson (R-Iowa) and Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.) introduced a bill to the House Committee on Agriculture intended to assess and address the United States’ reliance on certain agricultural imports. This includes the American animal feed and pet food industry’s dependence on China’s vitamin and amino acid supply.

The bill, Securing American Agriculture Act (H.R. 8003), would mandate that the US Secretary of Agriculture “to publish, on an annual basis, an assessment on the United States’ dependency on critical agricultural products or inputs from the People’s Repulic of China, and for other purposes.” The current US Secretary of Agriculture is Tom Vilsack.

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has sounded the alarm about this supply chain threat before, and is now voicing its support of the new bill.

“We thank Congresswomen Hinson and Slotkin and bipartisan cosponsors for introducing the Securing American Agriculture Act — a bill that will help US decision-makers better understand how intrinsically linked our food and feed supply is with China’s input manufacturers as they manage the country’s delicate relationship with China,” said Constance Cullman, president and chief executive officer of the AFIA.

The United States’ reliance on China’s supply of certain essential ingredients is a major concern for the American animal food industry. According to the AFIA, China exclusively manufactures several  key vitamins, including vitamins B1, B3, B8, B11, B12, C, D3 and DK3, as well as 85% of the world’s supply of essential amino acids used in animal feed and pet food products.

“Consider that a staggering 94% of vitamin B6 and over 91% of vitamin C is imported from China,” wrote Gina Tumbarello, senior director of international policy and trade for the AFIA, regarding the topic in Pet Food Processing’s November 2023 issue. “Over 78% of all US vitamin imports come from China. According to recent data from Feedinfo, in 2022 China produced 73% and 62% of the world’s total feed-grade vitamin A and E respectively, and a staggering 94% of the total feed-grade vitamin B2.

“There simply is not enough global production capacity outside of China to meet US demand should there be a disruption in China’s vitamin supply,” she added.

The bill currently has 18 other co-sponsors in the House, representing a bipartisan effort.

“AFIA’s feed and pet food manufacturing members are gravely concerned about the United States’ dependency on China for vitamins and other critical inputs necessary to produce complete diets for America’s domestic livestock and pets,” Cullman said. “Just like us, animals require daily vitamins for healthy growth and development. Our industry is prepared to work with the federal government to do everything in its power to head off these risks before they cause catastrophic animal welfare, food security or economic repercussions.”

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