ARLINGTON, Va. — The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) commended a bipartisan effort to provide funding to the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) to facilitate the ingredient approval process for animal food.

The funding is part of the fiscal 2020 federal budget, which was approved by President Donald Trump on Dec. 20 and totals $1.4 trillion. The CVM will receive $5 million through Sept. 30, 2020 to nearly double its staff for reviewing new animal food ingredient submissions.

“AFIA members wait far too long on the government to approve ingredients to bring new products to market,” said Constance Cullman, president and CEO of AFIA. “In 2019, AFIA went after new funds for CVM through the appropriations process, to make sure they have the resources to hire the staff needed to speed up this cumbersome process. We are excited that this policy priority for our organization and industry is now a reality and we look forward to working with CVM to implement these improvements.”

Improving the ingredient approval process has been a policy priority of several animal food industry organizations in addition to AFIA, such as Pet Food Institute (PFI) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

The process has been historically lengthy and costly for pet food manufacturers, costing them an average of $1.75 million in annual revenue for every year the process is delayed per each new ingredient. Industry associations argue this underfunded process turns processors away from product development and innovation.

At the 2019 Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference, Dr. Steven Solomon, director of the CVM told pet food and feed manufacturers and suppliers that the FDA was pushing for resources and funding to expedite the process and help processors get to market with new ingredients faster. “The intent is not to be expensive; we’re trying to improve the timeliness of the process,” Solomon said.

“As the science of animal nutrition evolves, the animal food industry works hard to research and bring new ingredients to market to improve the health of our food-producing and companion animals. In recent years, the lengthy ingredient review processes have hindered many of these new ingredients with the attributes to improve the safety, quality and nutrition of feed and pet food from entering the marketplace,” Cullman said. “AFIA has been working hard to improve the ingredient review processes and this funding is one important step in the process.”

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