By Dave Fairfield, Senior Vice President of Feed Services
As the keynote speaker of the 2017 Feed and Pet Food Conference, Dr. Steve Solomon, director at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), outlined CVM’s key regulatory initiatives, including the on-going implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA).
Solomon said that achieving a high rate of compliance within the industry is the overarching goal of CVM’s implementation activities, and reiterated that FDA will continue to utilize an “educate before and while we regulate” approach during its initial inspection activities. At the same time, he stressed the safety of animal food for animals and people is FDA’s highest priority, and that the agency will take appropriate steps to ensure facilities produce and distribute safe animal food. Concerning safety, Solomon emphasized that facilities are to have programs and practices in place to control potential pathogens in pet food that may result in human or animal illness and to avoid nutrient deficiencies or toxicities in animal food that may lead to animal illness or death.
During another major conference session, Jenny Murphy, consumer safety officer in the Office of Surveillance and Compliance at CVM, provided details associated with implementation of FSMA-related rules that have the potential to affect animal food. Murphy said that FDA conducted approximately 230 inspections during fiscal year 2017, which ended Sept. 30, to evaluate industry compliance under the animal food rule’s current good manufacturing practice (CGMP) requirements. Overall, Murphy noted that the industry report card from the inspections was positive, but stressed that industry should continue to utilize good pest control and housekeeping/sanitation practices. FDA intends to conduct at least 500 CGMP inspections during fiscal year 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 through Sept. 30, 2018) and Murphy noted that CVM recently released final animal food CGMP guidance for industry. She also noted that FDA currently plans to begin inspections related to requirements established under FDA’s rule for sanitary transportation of human and animal food toward the end of fiscal year 2018.
FSMA-related compliance dates are set for each major rule and staggered by business size. During her remarks, Murphy reiterated that FDA has decided to delay routine inspections to evaluate compliance with preventive control requirements at large animal food facilities until the fall of 2018. However, she emphasized that compliance dates for large firms have not changed and that FDA would evaluate compliance with the preventive control requirements in the event of an animal food safety incident. Murphy also said that FDA intends to make the first section of draft guidance to industry for the preventive control requirements available early in 2018.
A variety of FSMA resources are available from the NGFA.