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Iowa Agriculture Secretary Northey Leads Programming at 2016 Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference

DES MOINES, IOWA – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey outlined the regulatory challenges the animal food industry is facing — while also juggling increasing and changing consumer demands — during his Oct. 11 keynote address at the 2016 Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference in Des Moines, Iowa.

“We live in interesting, challenging times…and you guys are right at the front edge of it,” Northey said as he kicked off the annual collaboration between the Pet Food Institute (PFI) and National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA). More than 300 representatives of the animal feed and pet food industries attended the day-and-a-half conference, which concluded Oct. 12.

“State agencies want to be your partners; we want to figure this out together,” Northey said, referring to the far-reaching new animal food safety rules promulgated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to implement the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).

In addition, Jenny Murphy, consumer safety officer in the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, discussed the upcoming enforcement and compliance of FSMA for the feed and pet food industries. Of the seven foundational regulations established to implement FSMA, the two most significant for the animal food industry are the Preventive Controls for Animal Food final rule and the Foreign Supplier Verification Program final rule. The first implementation stage of the Preventive Controls for Animal Food rule – which requires facilities to develop and implement current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements – is already in effect for the largest companies. Future regulatory deadlines under FSMA continue until 2019.

Murphy recognized the enormity of new FSMA regulations for the industry, adding that the compliance process will be a learning opportunity for FDA regulators as well as animal feed and pet food businesses.

Murphy said FDA will conduct its first training for a “core group” of inspectors next week, with additional inspector training to be done in a phased manner. Inspectors will be using the same curriculum developed by the Food Safety Preventive Control Alliance (FSCPA) Animal Food Subcommittee as is available to industry members. She said inspections of the animal food industry initially will be focused solely on the Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs) requirements, and that inspections of the largest animal feed and pet food facilities to which the regulations now apply would begin as early as the last week of October, with the initial focus on education. However, she said FDA would take regulatory action if it encounters hazardous conditions that pose a public health risk during such inspections.

In addition, the agency has published three draft guidances to assist pet food and animal feed industries in the first stages of FSMA compliance, and Murphy encouraged the audience to submit comments and opinions on those documents.

“We welcome your comments. That’s what helps us make [the guidances] better and make them more user-friendly for you,” she said. “Tell us what we didn’t get right; we want to fix it.”

The FSMA deadline for CGMPs for animal food was September 19, 2016. View the full FSMA implementation schedule here.

Murphy is among several key FDA and industry speakers who addressed the Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference. The full conference agenda is available online.

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About the Pet Food Institute

Since 1958, the Pet Food Institute has been the voice of the U.S. pet food industry. PFI is the industry’s representative before Congress and state legislatures, as well as state and federal agencies; public education and media relations resource; organizer of seminars and educational programs; and liaison with other organizations. PFI represents the companies that make 98 percent of U.S. dog and cat food, an industry with more than $20 billion in U.S. retail sales and $1.3 billion in exports in 2015.

About NGFA

The NGFA, established in 1896, consists of more than 1,050 grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate more than 7,000 facilities and handle more than 70 percent of all U.S. grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry. The NGFA also consists of 26 affiliated State and Regional Grain and Feed Associations, and has strategic alliances with Pet Food Institute and North American Export Grain Assoc