Pet Food Processing - June 2018 - 34
PET FOOD PROCESSING | June 2018 | www.petfoodprocessing.net
Improving pet nutrition starts with
getting ingredients to market.
By Leah Wilkinson
Vice president of public policy and education,
American Feed Industry Association
In the inaugural issue of Pet Food Processing, two themes became abundantly clear. One, more and more Americans are
welcoming pets into their homes, proving the demand for
high-quality, safe and nutritious pet food will only continue
to grow. And two, as consumers' health and food preferences
change, so are their pet food purchasing decisions, requiring
the marketplace to adapt and continue providing a variety of
affordable options that meet the needs of all consumers.
To meet this growing and ever-evolving demand, pet food
processors and ingredient suppliers continually research new
ingredients to improve the pet food supply. In recent years,
many new ingredients entered the marketplace with attributes
to improve the safety, quality and nutrition of pet food.
But the process for getting a new ingredient approved at
the federal level has not evolved with the times. Ingredient
suppliers and pet food processors are regularly hitting costly
roadblocks that prevent new and innovative products from
entering the market.
The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), which
has represented the business, legislative and regulatory interests of the US animal feed and pet food processing industry
and its suppliers for more than a century, has been working
to improve the regulatory environment at the federal level
for pet food processors, so they can get back to doing what
they do best: keeping pets in the US, and around the world,
happy and healthy.
Navigating the approval process
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Center for
Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is responsible for reviewing and
approving new ingredients for use in animal food through
the food additive petition, the Generally Recognized As Safe
(GRAS) notification program and the ingredient review process of the Association of American Feed Control Officials
(AAFCO). The regulatory agency ensures that all 900 or so
ingredients currently approved for use in feed and pet food
in the country are safe for animals to eat.
Over the past few years, ingredient approvals have slowed
dramatically. A recent study by Informa Economics found
that for every year of delay in the approval process, submitting companies across the animal food industry were losing
an average $1.75 million in revenue. The average review time
is now three to five or more years. These costly delays are impacting the research and development of new technologies