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AFIA pushes for industry inclusion in FDA "First Amendment" rulemaking

Treat health claims for animal feed as for human foods, AFIA urges U.S. law makers

May 19, 2004

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) recently submitted comments to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that could dramatically improve the quality of information consumers receive about animal feeds and pet foods. FDA 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, feed ingredients, pet foods and animal dietary supplements. AFIA believes that FDA will violate the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution if it fails to treat qualified health claims for animal feed in the same way that it now proposes to treat qualified health claims for human foods. AFIA encouraged FDA to expand the scope of the qualified health claims rulemaking to include animal feed and ingredients.

"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," said AFIA legal counsel Tish Pahl who is helping advance the industry’s position. "We are hopeful FDA will accept AFIA’s recommendation."

AFIA is the national, not-for-profit trade association for animal feed and pet food manufacturers, ingredient manufacturers and suppliers, equipment manufacturers, and other firms that supply goods and services to the animal feed and pet food industries. AFIA’s nearly 600 corporate members manufacture 75 percent of the nation’s primary commercial feed.

For additional information or a copy of AFIA’s comments, contact AFIA at: afia@afia.org

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