In a TechTALK, she emphasized the uncertainty surrounding legislative initiatives during an election year, acknowledging the potential for numerous bills to be put on hold.
Despite these challenges, there is a growing momentum for the Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development (Innovative FEED) Act. Introduced into the US Senate in June 2023 and the House of Representatives in December of the same year, the bill has garnered bipartisan support and is gaining traction, reported Wilkinson. The AFIA is actively collaborating with Congress to convey the urgency of enacting this measure.
Wilkinson outlined how the bill has been gaining additional co-sponsors since December, securing 22 co-sponsors as of last week. Over 190 national and state-level associations and companies are also supporting this legislative effort. The AFIA, she continued, is actively working to integrate the measure into a legislative vehicle, targeting the upcoming March government funding deadlines for potential inclusion in a legislative package.
The Innovative FEED Act aims to amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, creating a new category of animal food additives known as zootechnical animal food substances (ZAFS). These additives, designed to provide health benefits, reduce emissions, or address human food safety concerns within the animal's gut without impacting nutrition, have faced regulatory challenges. The AFIA has long advocated for updating the FDA’s “outdated” 1998 Policy and Procedures Manual Guide 1240.3605, which has prevented feed manufacturers from clearly identifying the ways their products may bring about non-nutritive benefits - reduced greenhouse gas emissions or food safety pathogens like salmonella - on the labels, unless they go through the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s (CVM) cumbersome drug approval process.
The Innovative FEED Act is designed to bring about the necessary changes to ensure these additives are regulated as food additives, not drugs, and can more quickly come to market for US farmers and ranchers to use. In a development announced last week, the CVM revoked the 1998 Policy and Procedures Manual Guide 1240.3605.
Formaldehyde use restrictions
In addition to the Innovative FEED Act, Wilkinson said the AFIA is prioritizing the review of formaldehyde safety by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The organization, part of an animal agriculture coalition, advocates for the responsible use of that chemical substance, emphasizing its safety benefits. The feed industry representatives also stress the importance of a thorough and transparent review of the literature to ensure any restrictions on formaldehyde use in animal agriculture are grounded in sound science.
Furthermore, Wilkinson highlighted the FDA's planned increase in inspections of feed manufacturing facilities this year. Gathering information from the FDA, the organization is intent on assisting its members in preparing for inspections and ensuring compliance with the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulations.