FDA taking proactive stance on improving animal food safety

On the heels of a year filled with numerous animal food recalls and reports of a mysterious illness tied to chicken jerky products that has sickened thousands of pets, the FDA is taking stronger measures in an attempt to prevent illnesses originating from animal food.

With its new Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food Facilities, the FDA says it aims to lower the risk of foodborne illnesses in animals and humans rather than simply react to negative events as they occur.

According to the proposed rule, facilities located domestically or internationally that engage in manufacturing, processing, packing, and holding animal food would be required to institute procedures designed to minimize or prevent potential hazards.

Each facility will need to implement a written plan focused on preventing hazards in animal foods, the FDA explained in its newly released presentation (downloadable PowerPoint presentation). As part of the written plan, individual facilities would need to identify and assess hazards specific to their operations including biological, chemical, radiological, and physical.

The proposed rule would also require facilities to follow new current good manufacturing practices covering areas such as:

  • Personnel
  • Plant and grounds
  • Sanitary operations
  • Sanitary facilities and controls
  • Processes and controls
  • Equipment and utensils
  • Warehousing and distribution

How to comment on the proposed rule

Interested parties can comment on the proposed rule change at any time at the regulations.gov website until Feb. 26, 2014.

In addition, the FDA will hold three public meetings regarding the Proposed Rule for Preventive Controls for Animal Food Facilities:

  • Nov. 21 - FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, Md.
  • Nov. 25 - Ralph H. Metcalfe Federal Building, Chicago, Ill.
  • Dec. 6 - John E. Moss Federal Building, Sacramento, Cali.

Visit the FDA's Food Safety Modernization Act page for more information.

NEWStat Legislation & regulation