AAFCO Conducts 2023 Midyear Meeting

According to NGFA, more than 450 industry representatives and regulatory officials participated on Jan. 17-19 in the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Midyear Meeting to discuss a variety of animal food regulatory issues. The meeting was conducted in San Antonio, TX.

Among the significant issues addressed during the AAFCO meeting were:

Definition of Labeling: A workgroup established by the Model Bills and Regulations Committee approved the following revisions to AAFCO’s existing definition for labeling: “The term ‘labeling’ means all labels and other written, printed or graphic matter materials in print or electronic form that are published or disseminated by a guarantor or distributor (1) upon a commercial feed or any of its containers or wrappers, or (2) accompanying or promoting such commercial feed.” [Deleted text stricken through; new text bold underscored.] The revision is intended to provide state regulators clearer authority to take enforcement action against inaccurate or misleading information communicated on websites or through other electronic means concerning a commercial feed.

Lot Identifiers: A Feed Labeling Committee workgroup provided recommendations on proposed model regulations that would establish requirements to include a lot identifier on the labels, invoices or other documents accompanying commercial feeds in distribution to facilitate recalls and accurate tracing of the manufacturing and distribution history of the product. The committee will further consider the topic during the 2023 AAFCO Annual Meeting.

Feed Contaminants/Hazards: A Feed and Feed Ingredient Manufacturing Committee workgroup currently is evaluating how to assist industry and regulators in identifying animal food nutrients that if included in complete animal food in excess of normal use levels could be considered a hazard or adulterant. The workgroup will further consider the project during the 2023 AAFCO Annual Meeting.

Poultry Feed Label Requirements: The Feed Labeling Committee approved revisions to AAFCO’s model regulations for poultry feed labels to expand the number of animal classes and provide corresponding definitions. AAFCO’s Model Bills and Regulations Committee will further consider the revised regulations prior to any final vote of approval by AAFCO membership.

Inspection Guidance: The Inspection and Sampling Committee began discussions about creating guidance on conducting inspections for compliance with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) rule for Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals. The topic will be further evaluated during the 2023 AAFCO Annual Meeting.

Pet Food: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has established a Process Verified Program for use in verifying voluntary human grade pet food claims and labeling in accordance with previously approved AAFCO human grade pet and specialty pet food guidelines. Regulators during the meeting encouraged pet food manufacturers to utilize the AMS program to support human grade claims.

An update was provided during the Pet Food Committee meeting on AAFCO’s initiative to modernize the labels of pet food products. The modernization will establish new model label requirements for: 1) pet nutrition facts boxes; 2) nutritional adequacy graphics; 3) ingredient statements; and 4) safe handling directions. The Pet Food Committee intends to vote on the draft model pet food regulations during the 2023 AAFCO Annual Meeting.

Feed Ingredients: Among the actions taken related to feed ingredients were:

1. Name Changes: AAFCO membership approved previous recommendations made by the Ingredient Definition Committee to change the names of Corn Gluten Meal, Corn Gluten Feed, Grain Sorghum Gluten Meal and Grain Sorghum Gluten Feed to Corn Protein Meal, Corn Protein Feed, Grain Sorghum Protein Meal, and Grain Sorghum Protein Feed, respectively. AAFCO changed the names to reflect that these ingredients do not contain gluten. Industry’s transition to the revised names is to occur by 2025.

2. Common Foods: AAFCO membership approved procedures, and accompanying worksheet and guidelines, to be used to add and remove common foods to the AAFCO Official.

Publication. As defined by AAFCO, common foods are those foods commercially available and suitable for use in animal food but are not defined by AAFCO, including but not limited to certain whole seeds, vegetables or fruits. Manufacturers are responsible for determining whether a common food is safe and has utility for its intended use.

3. “Finished Feed”: The Ingredient Definition Committee continued discussions about establishing a new feed term for “finished feed.” The topic is being considered to distinguish between the terms “complete feed” and “finished feed.” Both terms are commonly used within regulatory contexts, but AAFCO currently has only established a feed term for “complete feed.” The committee intends to further evaluate the issue.

4. Animal Protein Products: An Ingredient Definition Committee workgroup provided a report on its efforts to review AAFCO’s Animal Products definitions. The work includes considering potential revisions to the definition to Meat and Bone Meal, and establishing a new definition for “Recovered Food.” The topic will be further considered during the 2023 AAFCO Annual Meeting

5. Hemp in Animal Food: It was announced during the Ingredient Definition Committee that the Hemp Feed Coalition recently submitted results of a fourth study requested by FDA to evaluate the safety and efficacy of hemp meal in feed for laying hens. Currently, no hemp or hemp products have gained approval through FDA for use in animal feed or pet food.

6. AAFCO Comprehensive Animal Feed Ingredient Submission Course: AAFCO recently launched a self-paced Comprehensive Animal Feed Ingredient Submission Course designed to provide industry with information about requirements associated with providing the safety and utility data necessary when submitting a Food Additive Petition, a Generally Recognized as Safe notice, or an AAFCO Feed Ingredient Definition.

AAFCO is the professional organization of federal and state feed regulatory officials. AAFCO’s actions are significant because most states adopt AAFCO model regulations and policies within their commercial feed regulatory frameworks.

The 2023 AAFCO Annual Meeting is scheduled for July 31 - Aug. 2 in Baltimore, MD.