Spent grains get reprieve but AFIA argues all firms producing 'feed' should be FSMA compliant

There should be no exemptions from the animal food rule: AFIA

The US brewing sector is hailing the revision of the animal feed rule under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) that see spent grains production exempt in terms of new controls but feed industry advocates argue that any facility producing food for livestock should be subject to the new regulation.

A spokesperson for the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) told feednavigator:

“We stand firm on this - there should be no exemptions from the animal food rule as all facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold feed, feed ingredients or pet food should be required to comply with the final rules issued under FSMA unless they are a ‘farm’ and exempt.”

Last week saw the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) republish certain FSMA proposals after receiving extensive comment from stakeholders on its draft rulings, including a critical change to the original proposal on the brewing by-product - spent grains – which is now exempt from the regulation.

Spent grains are sold or given to farmers to feed to their livestock. Dairy farmers and brewers, among others, made public their anger over the draft regulation last April stressing that the preventive controls for feed would impose regulations on the by-product, making its transfer onerous and cost-prohibitive and leaving farmers having to buy additional feed.

The FDA, in its reissuing of the animal feed law, said food processors already complying with the agency’s food safety requirements, such as brewers, don’t need to implement additional controls or good manufacturing practice regulations when supplying a by-product - wet spent grains, fruit or vegetable peels, liquid whey - for animal food, except to prevent physical and chemical contamination when holding and distributing the by-product.

However, the regulator says that should a facility choose to further process that by-product by way of drying, pelleting, or heat-treatment, it would then need to comply with the preventive controls under the animal food rule.

Costs for feed sector ‘grossly underestimated’

The AFIA also told us it is committed to advocate for a final animal food rule that is “appropriate for the low risk animal food presents”, adding that federal laws require the costs to reasonably approximate the benefit.

The Association has consistently argued that the FDA has grossly underestimated the costs of the new rules for the feed industry, and it notes that "the additions within this re-proposal have the potential to drive that cost up even further."

“There are several studies available that show FDA’s financial calculations of the rules are inaccurate,” added the AFIA spokesperson.

The AFIA said it intends to work alongside its animal food coalition partners to develop consistent comments on the FDA proposals as needed, and it also plans to request an extension to the comment period “as all the rules were released simultaneously versus in succession.”

The FDA is seeking feedback on the reissued FSMA rules for 75 days after their publication in the Federal Register.

The amendments can be read here.

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