FDA Recommends New Safety Standards For Pet Food Makers



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Current Good Manufacturing Practices would help ensure that pet food is made under conditions and practices that protect against contamination, the FDA stated.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today released a proposed rule that would establish the first-ever Current Good Manufacturing Practices (CGMP) for the production and storage of pet food.

The practices would apply to all animal food produced in or imported to the United States, including pet food, animal feed, and raw materials and ingredients. Farms that manufacture their own animal feed would be exempt.

The cost of implementing the changes throughout the industry is estimated at $100 million. The smallest manufacturers would have up to three years to comply and the largest companies would have one year.

"An improved animal food safety system can reduce the number of recalls, reduce the risk of adverse health effects related to contaminated animal food, and reduce the losses of contaminated animal food ingredients and products,” the FDA stated.

Word of the proposed rule came three days after the FDA updated its ongoing investigation into 580 deaths and more than 3,000 illnesses involving pets suspected to have eaten tainted jerky treats. A link has not been proven.

Garnering even bigger headlines was the pet food recall of 2007, when the FDA found contaminants in vegetable proteins imported from China and used as ingredients in pet food.

The Current Good Manufacturing Practices proposed for the pet food industry would force plant operators to identify hazards, take steps to prevent those hazards and, in some cases, prepare an emergency recall plan. Verification requirements would include extensive record keeping.

The new rule would fall under the Food Safety Modernization Act, which went into effect in 2011 and empowered the FDA to take greater action to safeguard food consumed by people and animals.

Comments on the proposed Current Good Manufacturing Practices will be accepted at three public hearings. The dates, times and locations are:

• Thursday, Nov. 21 (8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.): Wiley Auditorium, Harvey W. Wiley Federal Building, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy., College Park, Md.
• Monday, Nov. 25 (8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.): Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Room 331, 77 West Jackson Blvd., Chicago.
• Friday, Dec. 6 (8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.): John E. Moss Federal Building, Stanford Room, 650 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, Calif.

Written and verbal comments must be submitted to the FDA by late February. The proposed Current Good Manufacturing Practices and any changes would go into effect 60 days after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

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