The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) focused its attention on impending issues in the feed industry at two conferences hosted as part of the programming at the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta on January 28-30.

Recognizing the importance of imported feed ingredients to the U.S. production of feed, AFIA sponsored its first seminar on "How to Export Feed & Feed Ingredients to the U.S." The seminar was designed to provide insight into the complex process of exporting feed and feed ingredients to the United States. Seminar topics varied from a presentation by Dr. Dawn Hunter, senior veterinary officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), on the key responsibilities of APHIS in the importation of animals, to one by Harold Hagan, president of Atlanta Customs Brokers and International Freight Forwarders Inc., about the services customs brokers provide to U.S. importers.

AFIA President and CEO Joel G. Newman kicked off the conference providing attendees with a snapshot of U.S. feed production and said, "While the U.S. is largely self-sufficient in most feed ingredients and is highly successful in recycling co-products of food processing through the feed industry, the global industry provides good options for key nutritional ingredients and specialty products."

Gina Tumbarello, AFIA's manager of international trade, clarified further in her presentation, "In one ton of compound feed, additives such as vitamins, trace minerals, amino acids and enzymes make up only 1 percent of the ration. However, it represents 15-20 percent of the cost of that same ration. Of the estimated 165 million tons of compound feed produced by the U.S. in 2012, this is translated to roughly $6.2 billion worth of additives put into compound feed. AFIA estimates that $3.4 billion of that $6.2 billion is imported product."

It is for this reason that emphasis is being put on Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) proposed rules such as the Foreign Supplier Verification Program and Third-Party Certification, on which AFIA recently submitted comments.


Henry Turlington, AFIA's director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs, discussed FSMA with attendees, noting that foreign suppliers wanting to export feed and feed ingredient products to the U.S. will need to understand their U.S. customer's requirements and specifications because, as Dr. Daniel McChesney, director of surveillance and compliance for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Center of Veterinary Medicine, mentioned in his presentation on FSMA, "The proposed FSMA rules would hold importers responsible for ensuring the food they bring inside the U.S. meets FDA safety standards."

International Feed Education Program

The second conference, the International Feed Education Program, offered IPPE attendees insight into feed industry challenges. Keith Epperson, AFIA vice president of manufacturing and training, provided a regulatory update on both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA). Richard Sellers, AFIA's senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs, discussed "Government Compliance Update: Food Safety Modernization Act: What do I need to know?" Sellers also discussed the Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD).

"Simply put, it's like a prescription," said Sellers.

AFIA supports the proposed VFD rule as it is proposed to ease the administrative burden for feed mills accepting VFDs. However, the organization said in a recent statement, "AFIA continues to be concerned about the lack of veterinarians trained to complete VFDs as well as the lack of large animal veterinarians in general."

Henry Turlington, AFIA's director of quality and manufacturing regulatory affairs, closed the program. He continued on the topic of FSMA discussing, "Food Safety Modernization Act Hazard Identification Requirements: Where do I begin?" explaining how certification with AFIA Safe Feed/Safe Food Certification Programs will help to provide companies with a good starting point for FSMA implementation.