The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) have a new program for state animal feed regulators, titled the Animal Feed Regulatory Program Standards (feed standards). The feed standards are designed to integrate the regulatory activities of partner agencies into an efficient and effective process for improving feed safety in the U.S.
The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) called for enhanced partnerships of government agencies and provides a legal mandate for developing an integrated food safety system (IFSS). A key principal of an IFSS is the uniform application of model program standards so that regulatory agencies conduct inspections under the same set of standards.
Model regulatory program standards currently exist for human food programs (Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards and the Voluntary National Retail Food Regulatory Program Standards), but prior to the development of the feed standards, there were no recognized uniform standards for state feed regulatory programs. As the U.S. moves toward integrating food safety resources, uniform standards across feed regulatory programs are critical.
The feed standards are standards for animal feed regulatory programs, not for manufacturers of animal feed. The feed standards are comprised of 11 individual standards:
- Regulatory foundation
- Inspection program
- Feed-related illness or death and emergency response
- Enforcement program
- Outreach activities
- Budget and planning
- Laboratory services
- Sampling program
- Assessment and improvement of standard implementation
The standards, designed to strengthen the safety and integrity of the U.S. animal feed supply, are also the core elements of a state's regulatory program. The feed standards will provide a framework that every state can use to determine the strengths and needs of their program. The feed standards also provide the foundation for mutual reliance on inspections and other work conducted by federal and state agencies.