US bill to spur innovation in the animal feed sector

The bill aims to establish a new pathway at FDA for novel feed additives and streamline their application in US animal feeds.

June 12, 2023

Bipartisan legislation that would establish a new pathway at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for novel feed additives that increase livestock efficiency and production has been introduced in the U.S. Senate.

The Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development Act of 2023 (Innovative FEED Act) would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act to establish a regulatory pathway for a new category of animal food substances that act solely within animals’ gut microbiomes or in the feed they are digesting to provide non-nutritive benefits.

Industry associations, such as AFIA, have been calling on the FDA to update its outdated 1998 Policy and Procedures Manual Guide 1240.3605, which has prevented animal food manufacturers from clearly identifying the ways their products may bring about non-nutritive benefits on the labels unless they go through the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine’s cumbersome drug approval process. Without congressional approval, the FDA contended it did not have the authority to regulate these products as food ingredients. The Innovative FEED Act would change this by creating a category for zootechnical animal food substances (ZAFS), regulating these products as food ingredients, not animal drugs, and bringing the FDA policy into the 21st century.

Dozens of countries are already safely using these innovative feed ingredients on farms, yielding results in terms of improved animal production and well-being, diminished pre-harvest food safety concerns and reduced environmental impact of livestock production. Without this legislative change, U.S. agriculture is at a competitive disadvantage to its international counterparts.

Upon introduction of the bill, AFIA president and CEO, Constance Cullman, said, “our industry is bringing forward innovative animal food solutions to benefit animal health, human food safety and the environment, and now, thanks to the leadership of several Senate leaders, we have the legislative solution needed to provide a modernized regulatory pathway to meet marketplace demands. We fully support the Innovative FEED Act and hope Congress will quickly approve this bill, giving our farmers and ranchers the tools they need and putting our international counterparts on notice that we are fully equipped to compete in the future.”

“While producers in Europe and South America are using innovative feed additives to stay competitive, bureaucratic red tape has left America’s cattlemen and dairy farmers without any options. We need to create a level playing field for Colorado’s livestock industry by giving them every available tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the sustainability of their farms and ranches while ensuring health and safety,” Senator Bennet said.