AFIA (The American Feed Industry Association) submitted comments Jan. 26 to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that could dramatically improve the quality of information consumers receive about animal feeds and pet foods. The agency intends to issue a rule describing what kind of qualified claims may be made about the healthful qualities of foods and dietary supplements. FDA will also establish standards that must support qualified health claims. As initially proposed, the rulemaking would apply only to foods and dietary supplements for human consumption.
AFIA’s comments urge the agency to include animal feed (including aquafeeds), feed ingredients, pet foods and animal/fish dietary supplements. Failing to treat qualified health claims for animal feed in the same way that it now proposes to treat qualified health claims for human foods violates the First Amendment, AFIA told the federal agency.
"The ability of feed manufacturers and distributors to describe the evidence supporting the healthful qualities of their products is especially important," says Jerry Weigel, ExSeed Genetics, chair of AFIA’s First Amendment Task Force. "This action is greatly needed by feed industry companies."
Many of the substances in animal feed are vitamins, minerals, fats, carbohydrates, proteins, yeasts, and enzymes. These products are generic, not eligible for patent protection, and not good candidates for the costly process of obtaining FDA approval of a new animal drug application.
"The proposed qualified health claim procedures offer a much better way for valuable, truthful information about these products to reach animal producers and owners of companion animals," says Tish Pahl, AFIA Legal Council, who is helping to advance this issue. "We are hopeful FDA will accept AFIA’s recommendation."