Proposed legislation aims to enhance FDA oversight: US House introduces measures to strengthen feed ingredient approval process

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/S Greg Panosian
© GettyImages/S Greg Panosian

Related tags NGFA Afia Animal health safety

The Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development Act was introduced in the US House of Representatives on December 7. Supporters describe it as an important piece of legislation that will improve the regulatory environment for new feed ingredients

It was introduced in the US Senate earlier this year.

Congressman Greg Pence, one of the lawmakers who led the introduction of the bill in the House, said it will ensure that FDA review times for feed additives are reduced by several years, it will cut red tape and spur innovation to get products into the hands of producers sooner.

The Innovative FEED Act amends the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to establish a regulatory pathway for a new category of animal feed substances, which includes ingredients that provide animal health, food safety or production benefits.

Today, these ingredients must go through the same approval process as animal health drugs, which can result in an approval timeline of up to 10 years to bring new ingredients to market.

Under the Innovative FEED Act, zootechnical feed ingredients would be approved for use through the FDA's premarket petition process for animal feed additives, noted the US National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA).

Lawmakers urged to act quickly

American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) CEO Constance Cullman said the bill has the bipartisan and bicameral support the organization was hoping for. "Now we urge Congress to act quickly on the bill."

The legislation will allow for modernized regulatory oversight instead of the current policy of overregulation, she believes. "Any delay in enacting this legislation will continue to put US agriculture at a disadvantage compared to our global counterparts whose regulatory systems have evolved with the times."

Zootechnical feeds 

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) itself has acknowledged that some feed products do not fit neatly into the agency's two existing categories - animal drug or animal food, reported NGFA's David Fairfield.

"Without congressional approval, the FDA does not have the authority to bring this policy into the 21st century and regulate these products through the more appropriate food additive petition process.

"The regulatory authorities of our global competitors in Europe, Asia and South America have already updated their policies to allow feed products on the market that demonstrate increased efficiency in meat production as well as byproduct and waste reduction. To compete in the global marketplace, US farmers and ranchers need access to innovative zootechnical feeds to improve animal production and well-being, reduce pre-harvest food safety concerns and increase sustainability opportunities," added Fairfield. 

'Timely regulation'

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) also supports the approach suggested under this bill. Most state departments of agriculture inspect and regulate feed ingredients, including the new products covered by this legislation.

"This bipartisan legislation is important and timely to ensure that both producers, regulators and the feed industry can work together to increase efficiency and innovation in a competitive marketplace in a way that is safe for animals, producers and consumers," said NASDA CEO Ted McKinney.

The bill incentivizes innovation while giving producers new tools on a voluntary basis, noted Chuck Conner, CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.

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