AFIA weighs in on classification debate over animals consuming biotech feed

By Aerin Einstein-Curtis

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock
AFIA was among those to suggest how to specify that biotech animal feed ingredients do not make animal products biotech in response to USDA questions on the subject.

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) released 30 questions​ in June to stakeholders in an attempt to gather input on the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which was enacted in July 2016. 

The AMS division of the USDA has two years to establish a national standard and the procedures necessary for implementation. The USDA said it will use the feedback from the consultation process in its drafting of a proposed rule.  "There will also be an opportunity for interested parties to comment on the proposed rule during the rulemaking process,"​ it added.

Biotech feed 

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) was among the groups that submitted responses. 

One of the 30 questions the USDA put to stakeholders included a feed related query: “How should AMS craft language in the regulations acknowledging that the law prohibits animal products from being considered bioengineered solely because the animal consumed feed products from containing, or consisting of a bioengineered substance?."

The AFIA weighed in on that, stressing that its members support the use of science, including biotechnology, in agricultural production. “Consistent with the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Act, we oppose deeming food derived from animals as ‘bioengineered’ solely on the basis the animal consumed bioengineered food,” ​it said.  

“AFIA believes the agency can simply use the language provided in the law to convey this message,” ​it continued. “To strengthen the language and to provide clarity in definitions, AFIA suggests the following language: ‘Edible products derived from animals that consumed animal food that is deemed bioengineered are exempt from disclosure as ‘bioengineered’ unless there is a basis for disclosure that is unrelated to the source animal’s ration.”

“This would clearly provide a definition of animal feed by tying it to the definition of animal food as regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” ​it added.

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