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Standards for Animal Food Ingredients

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced a strategy to establish ingredient definitions and standards for animal food in order to increase transparency and affirm the safety of the animal food supply, as required by the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) of 2007.

As part of the strategy, FDA will review the list of animal food ingredient definitions used by industry and state regulators, which is contained in Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) Official Publication. AAFCO is a voluntary membership organization that includes regulatory officials of U.S. state and federal government agencies. AAFCO provides a forum for these regulatory officials to provide guidance and recommendations to ensure that the regulation of animal feeds is as uniform as possible from state to state.

The Official Publication includes FDA-approved food additives and ingredients that are generally recognized as safe (GRAS), as well as AAFCO-established definitions for other ingredients. The FDA intends to align AAFCO ingredient listings with the agency’s regulatory process and requirements.

The agency has identified the following steps for animal food ingredients:

  • FDA intends to publish a proposed rule establishing as the agency’s standards and definitions for animal food ingredients the AAFCO definitions for those ingredients that are recognized as GRAS or approved by the agency as food additives. This proposed rule will be open for public comment, and the agency will consider those comments before issuing a final rule.
  • FDA scientists will evaluate the remaining animal food ingredients listed in the AAFCO Official Publication that are currently not FDA-approved food additives or regcognized as GRAS.
    • In cases where the scientific literature supports a GRAS determination, the FDA will publish the supporting information in the Federal Register for public comment before affirming the ingredient as GRAS.
    • In cases where the data and information support a finding that the ingredient meets the food additive approval standard, the FDA intends to approve the ingredient as a food additive.
    • In cases where the FDA does not currently have data to make a GRAS determination or to approve the ingredient as a food additive, the agency will require manufacturers of these ingredients to submit a food additive petition in order to allow continued legal use of the product in animal food.

Although animal food ingredient definitions and standards generally do not vary widely across the industry, and consumers can be confident in their accuracy, FDA’s strategy will formalize definitions and standards to meet federal laws and regulations.

The agency intends to work closely with industry during this transition to minimize disruption to animal food production and ensure transparency and clarity for both manufacturers and the public.