Feed industry prepares for FSMA

by Susan Reidy
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To ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply, the FSMA shifts focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

U.S. feed industry leaders say, for the most part, feed manufacturers are ready to comply with the first phase of the sweeping Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that takes affect for large-sized businesses this September.

“As a whole, animal food companies are in a pretty good place in terms of overall compliance,” said Cassandra Jones, assistant professor of feed technology at Kansas State University (KSU). “Those that do need to comply may find it less cumbersome than they thought it was going to be. There is a shift in the way we approach hazards and controlling hazards. Five years from now, what we’re going through right now is going to become the norm.”

To ensure the safety of the U.S. food supply, the FSMA shifts focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

“This is the most sweeping reform to food safety laws in 70 years,” Jones said. “The FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) intends the FSMA to be a bigger shift in thinking than any of its previous regulations since the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act was enacted in the 1930s.”

After FSMA was signed into law in January 2011, the FDA went to work on writing regulations for enforcement and came up with seven major rules. The final regulations were published on Sept. 17, 2015, and included requirements for Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMPs), hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls as well as supply-chain programs.

Compliance begins Sept. 19 with the CGMP requirement for businesses with more than 500 full-time equivalent employees, and will continue on a staggered basis for the next several years.

The FSMA applies to domestic and foreign facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold animal feed and/or pet food, and ingredients used in such products. In general, this means the FSMA covers facilities that are required to register with the FDA under the agency’s existing facility registration regulations implemented as part of the Bioterrorism Act.

Key issues for the feed industry center on implementing CGMPs and creating a written food safety plan, which must include, among other requirements, hazard analysis and preventive controls, if necessary.

“We haven’t seen anything close to this size. We estimate the cost to the industry will be $1 billion,” said Richard Sellers, senior vice-president of public policy and education at the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA). “There’s a way to cut $800 or $900 million if we don’t have to provide preventive controls. We can mitigate the risks from hazard analysis with CGMPs or other prerequisite programs. Preventive controls are a huge cost and require a bunch of resources.”