ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The American Feed Industry Association said on Feb. 20 that is pleased with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) new agreement that designates USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) as the authority to certify animal feed and pet food products for export to foreign countries. 
“The agreement is a result of AFIA’s efforts to inform USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service about several issues that industry has had exporting to various markets, such as Brazil’s requirement for Good Manufacturing Practice certifications and products under the implementation of China’s AQSIQ Decree 118,” said Gina Tumbarello, AFIA manager of international trade. “The need to find a feed export certification solution for the increasingly popular requirements being put out by several countries ultimately led to these government agencies coming together to develop an agreement that would allow AMS to serve as the competent authority for feeds and register, audit and certify feed facilities as needed based on foreign requirements.” 
AMS was selected to lead the program due to its experience in working with stakeholders to develop export certification programs that meet the specific requirements of foreign countries. The agreement was modeled after a previous USDA/FDA agreement on processed egg programs. 
“This agreement is a big step toward helping U.S. feed exporters take advantage of the growing global demand for these products,” said AMS Administrator Anne Alonzo.

The agency now has the ability to certify a wide range of animal feed products, including pet food and treats, dried distillers’ grains with solubles, mixed-ingredient feeds and feed additives. 
The program will not be implemented across the board for all feed and feed ingredient products to all markets. Instead, it will be addressed on a country-by-country basis. AFIA will help identify markets where the feed, feed ingredient and pet food industries are currently experiencing export difficulties related to certifications on foreign requirements. AMS will then work with the foreign government to determine if there is an opportunity for AMS to fulfill the requirements. The hope is for AMS to develop a program and certificate that could be used across several export market requirements, rather than creating a separate certificate for each market. 

Steps are already underway to use this program to address certification requirements for processed plant-based feed products under China’s AQSIQ Decree 118 and AFIA said it looks forward to future opportunities to use this new mechanism for certification of feed and pet food products for export in other markets.

AFIA has been supportive of the USDA/FDA agreement since its early stages of development. The organization said it plans to work collaboratively with AMS, FDA and other representatives from the feed, grain and pet food industries as this program develops.