Feed milling companies scrambling to comply with FSMA

by Arvin Donley
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FDA is expected to begin inspecting large feed mills soon.
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ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S. – With Food and Drug Administration (FDA) audits of large U.S. feed mills  scheduled to begin soon to determine if they are complying with the Food Safety and Modernization Act (FSMA), many feed producers are not yet in compliance, according to an organization that specializes in helping companies prepare for inspections.

“Most facilities aren’t ready yet,” Robert Prevendar, NSF International’s global managing director for supply chain, food safety and agriculture, told feed millers at the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) Feed Production Education Program Feb. 1 in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.

AFIA Gary Huddleston

Gary Huddleston, AFIA.
Photo courtesy of AFIA.

FSMA, the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in more than 70 years, was signed into law by former U.S. President Barack Obama in January 2011. Companies with more than 500 full-time employees must already be in compliance with the Current Good Manufacturing Practice (CGMP) part of the act, and will have until September 2017 to comply with the Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Prevention Controls portion of the law, according to AFIA’s Gary Huddleston. Companies with 500 or fewer full-time employees will have to be in compliance with CGMP by September 2017 and the Hazard Analysis portion by September 2018. Dates to comply for very small firms (those with revenue of less than $2.5 million per year) are September 2018 (CGMP) and September 2019 (Hazard Analysis).

According to the AFIA, 80% to 90% of the 19,000 animal feed facilities in the United States fall under the small business (less than 500 employees) category, so their first FSMA deadline is in the fall of 2017.

“Inspections will be starting in early 2017, so some of the larger companies may see the FDA coming to their facilities to do inspections very soon,” Huddleston said.

Although new U.S. President Donald J. Trump has vowed to overturn many policies introduced during the Obama administration, Prevendar said he expects FSMA to remain law.

“It’s here and it’s not going away,” Prevendar said. “Even with a new president, chances are it’s not going to be repealed.”

The FDA estimates the annual cost of FSMA implementation for the feed industry to run between $135 million and $170 million over the next 10 years. However, AFIA estimates the cost will be considerably higher, although it hasn’t offered an exact dollar amount.

Prevendar said more global trade that has led to increased feed imports to the United States and the increasing complexity of the supply chain are two of the major factors that led to the creation of the food and feed safety measure.

“For the first time, feed is defined as being food,” he said. “They are not differentiating between the two.”

He outlined six steps that feed facilities need to take as they work toward FSMA compliance.

  1. Understand the requirement. Obtain copies of the relevant rules and regulations;
  2. Form a feed safety team, then define roles and responsibilities of each team member;
  3. Perform a gap assessment by evaluating a facility’s processes and identifying missing elements;
  4. Document a food safety plan;
  5. Implement a food safety plan;
  6. Maintain and improve a feed safety plan; re-analyze it periodically.

“Probably the hardest part is taking the written document and making it a living document; embedding the feed safety plan into your business culture,” Prevendar said.

For more information about FSMA compliance, visit www.afia.org.

The AFIA Feed Production Education Program was part of this week’s International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) at the Georgia Congress Center. It is the largest trade show in the world for the poultry, meat and feed industries, attracting more than 30,000 delegates.

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