FDA clarifies its guidance on animal feed safety

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, April 13, 2015 - The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) today released a clarification on previously issued guidelines for animal food safety, explaining to producers the scope and intent of the guidelines.

The guidelines - Safety of Animal Feed Maintained and Fed On-Farm, or Guidance for Industry (GFI) #203 - were published March 19 “to help animal producers take steps to help keep animal feed safe on the farm,” according to an FDA release. The guidelines were intended to give producers advice on how to keep their animal feed free of contaminants, thus keeping animals free of illness and keeping sick animals from entering the human food supply.

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According to the FDA, the guidance is intended to help animal producers identify:

  • Important animal feed safety issues that typically are not covered by regulations. This would include unexpected changes in animal feed consumption patterns that could indicate the presence of contaminants in the feed or contaminants that may be present in bedding or fencing materials that animals might eat, among other things.
  • A comprehensive approach to feed safety at the farm, which the FDA identifies as an animal production unit, beginning with acquisition of safe feed and maintenance of its safety until the feed is offered to animals.

The FDA also noted that the guidance does not address the manufacture of feed on farm.

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Generally speaking, the FDA clarified that a draft guidance of any kind, including GFI 203, does not “establish legally enforceable responsibilities.”

“Instead,” the FDA added,”guidances describe the agency's current thinking on a topic and provide recommendations, unless specific regulatory or statutory requirements are cited.” The FDA elaborated on this point by clarifying that the use of the word “should” in FDA guidances “means that something is suggested or recommended, but not required.”

Public comment will be accepted on GFI 203 until June 3. Technically speaking, comments on draft guidances are welcome at any time, comments submitted by June 3 will be accepted and considered when drafting FDA's final guidance.

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