The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has announced its intention to revise the country’s feed regulations, a process intended to include repealing and replacing the current Feed Regulation of 1983.
The changes to the regulatory system are expected to increase the flexibility and transparency of feed ingredient review and authorization and serve as the basis for a “safe and competitive feed supply chain,” said a spokesperson with CFIA.
The revisions will involve additional standards and allow for more frequent updates to the regulatory system along with shrinking the number of feeds requiring pre-market registration.
The new system is also intended to bring more flexibility to labeling requirements while improving traceability, he said.
Advances in science, feed production practices and technology have left former standards outdated, a spokesperson for CFIA told us.
“Feed and livestock production sectors in Canada and abroad have evolved considerably since 1983,” he said.
Along with new trade developments and globalization, the industry is exposed to new feed manufacturing practices, increased consumer awareness, heightened understanding of the link between feed and food production, and the “emergence of new pathogens and disease agents,” he added.
“It is anticipated that the new feed regulations will have [an] impact on the whole feed industry and that the commercial feed mill establishments will see the most changes,” the spokesperson said.
Pushing for new feed rules
Work to modernize feed regulation has been in process for several years, said Melissa Dumont, executive director with the Animal Nutrition Association of Canada (ANAC). The organization presented its case for revamping the regulation in 2010, which helped start the process.
“The current Feeds Regulations, which date back to 1983, are outdated and create a lot of frustration within the industry,” she told us.
One goal of the revision process is a shift in the regulatory process from one that focuses heavily on feed nutrition and efficacy to one that focuses on safety for both feed and the animals being fed, she said. “We are pleased that this is the direction the consultations on the new regulations have taken,” she added.
“With feed being the highest input cost for livestock producers and having a major role in animal health and performance, we want to ensure that our regulations are aligned with our major trading partners,” Dumont said. “This will help ensure Canadian producers have access to new feed ingredient technologies at the same time as producers in other countries and will help ensure that regulations do not have a negative impact on the cost of manufacturing feed, all while continuing to ensure we manufacture the safest feed possible.”
The revision process included series of “cross-country” consultation in 2016 with industry members including the suppliers of feed ingredients, feed distributors, commercial feed mills, feed retailers, industry associations, livestock producers, global trading partners and governmental agencies, according to information from CFIA.
At this stage, CFIA is finishing its regulatory proposal and is anticipating bringing it forward for public comment with pre-publication in the Canada Gazette in winter 2020, the spokesperson said.
Following the pre-publication, there will be a 75-day feedback period, he said. Those comments will be reviewed, and a final version of the proposed regulation would be publicized in the Canada Gazette. That publication would include details of when the new regulation would take effect.
Implications for feed industry members
Many of the proposed changes for the new animal feed regulations have been well received by industry members, said Dumont. “They are aligned with the vision ANAC had for new regulations when drafting our white paper in 2010,” she added.
One change following the regulatory revisions will be that feed manufacturers must have a preventive control plan, she said.
However, many feed production facilities in Canada do voluntarily take part in the FeedAssure program, which was developed by ANAC to provide “comprehensive feed safety management and certification program,” she said. Adding, “Facilities currently certified under the program will be in good shape to meet [these] new regulatory requirements.”
The new requirements include the need to complete a hazard analysis and develop a written preventive control plan to identify hazards to production systems and take steps to prevent feed safety issues from occurring, the CFIA spokesperson said. “These requirements will bring CFIA into alignment with international regulatory agencies.”
“The identification and analysis of hazards and preparing, keeping, maintaining and implementing a preventative control plan (PCP) will align more with the regulatory requirements for the regulation of feeds in the US and the EU,” he added.
There also would be changes to some licensing requirements with licensing not being required for industry members who import feed without the intention to sell it, according to CFIA information.
However, there would be licensing requirements for industry members selling imported feeds, exported feed or feed sold or transported inter-provincially.
“The increased flexibility in labeling requirements and mandatory feed registration will also reduce regulatory burden,” the spokesperson said. “The new feeds regulations will focus on a more system-based and outcome-based approach and the regulatory requirements will reflect this.”
However, there will only be slight changes to the registration and approval process for new feeds, he said.
Adding, “The biggest change will be to feed registration requirements and exemptions and it is anticipated that the number of feeds requiring mandatory registration will be reduced.”
The regulatory change is also anticipated to bring new ingredients to the feed market in Canada in a timely manner – “especially if already approved by another competent authority,” said Dumont.