FEDIAF annual congress: Prioritizing pet food in EU regulations

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

© GettyImages/Veronika Dvořáková
© GettyImages/Veronika Dvořáková
The Federation of European Pet Food Manufacturers' Associations (FEDIAF) held its annual congress in Poland last month, focusing on the complexities of the authorization process for additives used in animal nutrition.

The event featured leading EU regulatory experts, including representatives from the Polish General Veterinary Inspectorate, FEFANA, EFSA, and the EU Commission, who provided insights into the additive authorization process.

The much-anticipated revision of the rules on additives used in animal nutrition, governed by Regulation (EC) No 1831/2003, has been postponed until the next EU Commission​. The existing rules, over 20 years old, are not expected to be updated until at least the first quarter of 2025.

Overly burdensome regulation

According to Sonia Franck, general secretary of FEDIAF, the current 10-year authorization period for additives poses significant challenges. The industry risks losing key additives due to factors such as a lack of interest from historical applicants, prohibitive costs, and the administrative load in terms of the renewal of over 1,600 products.

"The overly burdensome regulatory requirements, particularly regarding efficacy and tolerance studies, necessitate revisions to explore alternative methods to enhance efficiency and reduce animal testing," Franck states.

FEDIAF, in collaboration with AnimalhealthEurope (AHE), Copa-Cogeca, FEAP, FEFAC, and FEFANA, has been actively engaged in a unified and constructive dialogue with the Commission on revamping the feed additive legislation.

"Feed additives play a crucial role in optimizing feed formulations for various animal sectors, including farm animals, aquaculture, and companion animals. By enhancing feed efficiency and sustainability, these additives promote more efficient resource utilization, reduced waste, lower emissions, and improved animal welfare," Franck tells us.

While the initial legislation primarily targeted livestock, its unintended impact on pet food additives is a concern. "Adaptive measures and collaborative engagements are pivotal in addressing these challenges and ensuring the continued well-being of animals across various sectors," she says.

A key focus over the next 12 months will be effectively communicating core messages to newly elected members of the EU Parliament, reports Franck.

FEDIAF aims to emphasize the importance of safeguarding key ingredients, advocating for pet welfare, and establishing a harmonized system for assessing the environmental impact of pet food.

Strategic objectives

The congress also provided an opportunity to reflect on the achievements and activities of the past year and define future priorities, says the FEDIAF lead.

Over the three days, participants engaged in multiple working group and committee meetings, as well as plenary sessions, and one of the key takeaways from the event is that FEDIAF has transitioned from reactive to proactive advocacy. "We aim to support the development of the EU regulatory framework in a way that prioritizes pet food in every aspect," says Franck.

The trade group also intends to focus on updating its guidelines and codes regularly.

In addition, FEDIAF will continue to enhance its collaboration with the Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE), the Federation of European Companion Animal Veterinary Associations (FECAVA), and AnimalhealthEurope via the Pet Alliance to promote #PetPower, adds Franck. That collaboration highlights the wide-ranging benefits of pet interaction and the importance of pet welfare.

Sustainability remains a top priority, with FEDIAF focusing on alignment and harmonization in the Green Claims Directive, following developments in the Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR), and updating its Product Environmental Footprint Category Rules (PEFCRs). These efforts should help members identify and improve aspects of the manufacturing process to reduce environmental impact, maintains the secretary general. 

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