WASHINGTON, D.C., U.S. – Thailand has implemented new feed regulations that the U.S. government says are unnecessary and will affect exports of U.S. animal protein feed ingredients in 2018.

The regulations restrict imports of feed and feed ingredients containing certain animal proteins, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Specifically, the regulations limit imports of those products to individual facilities in exporting countries that are first audited and approved by Thailand’s Department of Livestock Development (DLD). In addition, import controls will be different based on a country’s risk for mad cow disease and bird flu.

Thai officials said the rules are unchanged and provide a clearer regulatory framework; U.S. officials disagree.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has asked Thailand to adopt a system approach to plant approvals, but Thailand has not responded to the request, the FAS said.

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“The discrepancy in audit approach, if not resolved, will affect exports of U.S. animal-protein feed ingredients in 2018,” the FAS said. “In 2016, Thailand imported U.S. $5.3 million of bone and bone meal, a subcategory of affected feed ingredients from the United States.”

The rule became effective on Aug. 3, but was not implemented until Nov. 14, when Thai animal feed manufacturers and importers received a letter on the new procedures. In the letter, DLD listed 101 facilities, including 14 from the United States, which have exported feed to Thailand and would be included in the new regulations.

In order to continue to export to Thailand, facilities must submit an intention to audit form to DLD by Dec. 31, the FAS said.

The audit form must include: an invitation of audit from an importer or an exporter; an official audit invitation from a responsible government agency in an exporting country; copy of the certification of country of product of origin; product information; and process flow chart.