ATLANTA, GEORGIA, U.S. — The 2012 International Feed Expo (IFE), organized by the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) in conjunction with the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association’s International Poultry Expo (IPE), featured a number of educational programs and nearly 900 exhibitors displaying the latest in products and technologies. More than 20,500 visitors from over 100 different countries attended this year’s event, which concluded Jan. 26.

"Every year, the Expo continues to grow, cementing its status as one of the premiere industry events," said Joel G. Newman, AFIA president and chief executive officer. “Attendees receive an incredible amount of value in one place, with the education and networking opportunities, not to mention the latest products and technologies that are showcased.”  

During the event, AFIA hosted the International Feed Education Forum on the second day of the event. The Forum addressed issues unique to feed manufacturers in three knowledgeable sessions. Tim Lease, WL Port-Land Systems, Inc., opened the program with “Selecting the Proper Equipment to Maximize Efficiency.” Lease offered helpful tips for manufacturing plants.

“Poor water quality results in detrimental consequences to our facilities,” Lease explained. The consequences include corrosion, scaling, poor efficiency and water carryover.

Lease also recommended decreasing system operating pressure. A decrease of two pounds per square inch (psi) on a 50 horsepower (hp) air compressor could net $950 in annual savings.

Richard Sellers, AFIA’s vice-president of feed regulation and nutrition, spoke next, updating the audience on the Food Safety Modernization Act.

“Facility registration is a license to operate. It’s an important distinction in this new law,” Sellers said.

Keith Epperson, AFIA’s vice-president of manufacturing and training, concluded the program with an overview of Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations. According to Epperson, of the $584 million requested for 2012, OSHA received a budget increase of $6.4 million, as well as receiving 45 new inspectors. Epperson also reminded attendees about the law banning truck drivers from using cell phones that went into effect Jan. 1.

Another highlight of the IPE/IFE was the annual Pet Food Conference, hosted by AFIA and the Poultry Protein & Fat Council.

The Pet Food Conference covered a variety of topics ranging from regulatory issues to the technical aspects of production, food safety, marketing and use of ingredients. The conference featured expert speakers from a range of companies and organizations, including Euromonitor International, ADM Alliance Nutrition, Novus International, Eurofins Scientific, Trouw Nutrition USA, DSM Nutritional Products, SPF North America, American Proteins, Pet Food Association of Canada, National Renderers Association, the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Dan McChesney, FDA-CVM, spoke to attendees about FDA’s progress on the Food Safety Modernization Act, which charged the agency with improving the safety of food prevention within the U.S.

McChesney advised that anyone with a feed facility must identify what controls are already in place compared to what is being asked by FSMA. Most importantly, the facility is required to reconcile any differences and to document those controls.

“Whatever you have identified as a hazard, you have to have a preventive control to address that hazard,” said McChesney. In addition, facilities are required to keep detailed records of any controls in place.

FDA’s proposed rules for preventive controls are likely to be released in February or March, with the final rule scheduled to be published in the summer of 2012.

McChesney also addressed the upcoming change to the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ feed ingredient approval process, with the FDA set to step aside from the long-standing process this year.

 “The AAFCO process is not going away without anything to replace it.” McChesney added that FDA was committed to extending the memorandum of understanding concerning the AAFCO approval process while these new processes are defined and put into place.

Next year, AFIA and USPOULTRY will be joined by the American Meat Institute, offering one of the 50 largest shows in the U.S. More than 1,000 poultry, feed and meat exhibitors are expected to exhibit over an estimated 1 million square feet of space. The 2013 Expo will be hosted Jan. 28-31 in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., at the Georgia World Conference Center.