The Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development (FEED) Act of 2023 was introduced in the US Senate earlier this month, on June 8.
The bill, S. 1842, would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and establish a regulatory pathway for a new category of novel feed additives, called Zootechnical Animal Food Substances (ZAFS), that work within the animal’s gut microbiome to increase production, food safety, and environmental benefits.
“This proposal provides a pathway for products that have the opportunity to greatly impact the feed industry, and still provides the appropriate level of oversight to ensure safety and consumer confidence,” said Austin Therrell, executive director, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
The new regulatory category established by the Innovative FEED Act will allow ingredients that have non-nutritive benefits to be regulated as food additives instead of new animal drugs, as was previously required under the Food and Drug Administration’s 1998 Policy and Procedures Manual Guide 1240.3605. This approach will allow feed manufacturers to more clearly identify how their products may benefit consumers and will promote innovation and allow US agriculture to remain competitive on the international stage, said the organization.
AAFCO provides ingredient definitions, label standards and laboratory standards for state and federal feed programs. AAFCO members are also responsible for the inspection and regulation of feed ingredients, which would include ZAFS under the Innovative FEED Act. It collaborates closely with the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), on a wide range of issues related to animal feed and food safety.
Impact on health and the environment
AFIA has already given its backing to the Innovative FEED Act in relation to the positive impact it would have on animal health, human food safety and the environment.
That trade group has long been calling on the FDA to update its 1998 Policy and Procedures Manual Guide 1240.3605, which the organization claims is outdated and has prevented feed manufacturers from clearly identifying the ways their products may bring about non-nutritive benefits on labels unless they go through the FDA CVM's “cumbersome” drug approval process.
“Without congressional approval, the FDA contended it did not have the authority to regulate these products as food ingredients. The Innovative FEED Act would change this by creating a category for zootechnical animal food substances (ZAFS), regulating these products as food ingredients, not animal drugs, and bringing this FDA policy into the 21st century.
“Dozens of countries are already safely using these innovative feed ingredients on farms, yielding results in terms of improved animal production and well-being, diminished pre-harvest food safety concerns, and reduced environmental impact of livestock production. Without this legislative change, US agriculture is at a competitive disadvantage to its international counterparts,” it noted.