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FDA takes new approach on feed safety

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US takes a more methodical approach to safety of animal feed. The Animal Feed Safety System will focus on risk assessment and preventive measures.

The FDA Centre for Veterinary Medicine is developing a comprehensive Animal Feed Safety System (AFSS) to help protect the health of companion animals, production animals, and humans. A core concept of the AFSS is applying risk assessment to contaminants in ingredients for animal feed, including pet food.

Gaps in the system
George Graber, PhD, a former CVM official who organized the AFSS team and now serves as a consultant, said the FDA's existing programs to ensure safety of animal feed have focused on a few specific issues such as bovine spongiform encephalopathy and medicated feeds. "There are gaps in the system, so the FDA is trying to modernize and strengthen it," Dr. Graber said. "The agency is expanding the universe of firms, operations, and people who are going to be impacted."

Another core AFSS concept is emphasizing preventive measures. Dr. Alfred Montgomery, CVM counterterrorism coordinator, said veterinarians should be aware of the AFSS because animal feed is a linchpin in the relationship between animal and human health. "What threatens animal feed threatens the food chain and also companion animals that are part of the family," Dr. Montgomery said. "We need help from the veterinary community as we move forward for guidance and assistance in implementing this effort."

The latest draft of the AFSS framework  includes six components that cover ingredients, contaminants, manufacturing, reporting of unsafe feed, regulatory oversight, and education and outreach.

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