The six appropriations bills, which includes a key amendment put forward by Republican representative, Jim Baird, and other bipartisan cosponsors, provides $8m to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to ensure speedier evaluation of new feed components.
On average, studies have shown that it takes companies three-to-five years to get new ingredients through the FDA’s rigorous review process, which prevents innovation from making it to the livestock industry in a timely way, according to the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA).
AFIA CEO, Constance Cullman, said it is important for the US to have a regulatory framework that offers a timely and predictable path to the marketplace for feed ingredients and one that can also keep pace with the evolving science of animal nutrition: “The additional FDA funding for feed ingredient reviews in the House-passed spending bill is a huge win for the US feed industry, putting us more on-par with other countries that continue to move forward with safe ingredients to enhance the safety, quality, environmental impact and nutrition of feed and pet food.”
Spurred on by sustainability demands, feed ingredients like seaweed that could help curb methane emissions in cows are being researched around the world. Additives such as DSM’s Bovaer, which has been developed to tackle such challenges in ruminants, are already seeing market introduction. However, the US lags behind in gaining approvals, noted the AFIA earlier this year.
And it is only with those technologies in the marketplace that US farmers will be able to make the meaningful reductions in emissions that US policymakers are looking for, it argued.
Paul Davis, director of quality, animal food safety, and education, AFIA, presenting at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Outlook Forum in February, said part of the problem is that novel feed ingredients in the US cannot include environmental claims on their labels due to the FDA’s very narrow interpretation for what is considered a food versus a drug.
The FDA needs to be expeditious in expanding label claims and getting those ingredients approved, argued Davis.
And regulatory changes in this respect don't have to be complicated, said the trade group. Just by updating guidance in the program policy and procedures manual of the CVM, the FDA can “modernize its approach toward regulating claims for animal food ingredients and keep pace with science and the international community.”
“It is time to broaden the regulatory roadway for animal food marketing claims to accommodate the expanded understanding of the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract. The CVM is long overdue in revisiting its narrow path for regulatory approval of animal food ingredients, and the public and food companies are starting to take notice,” added the AFIA.
It is up to the US Senate to now include this dedicated funding for the CVM in its final appropriations legislation.