Sen. Johanns urges FDA to reconsider proposed animal feed rule

By Erin Voegele | April 18, 2014

Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., has written Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, urging the FDA to exempt distillers grain, raw agricultural commodities and other byproduct from a proposed rule that would add new requirements for ethanol producer and brewers that produce distillers grains, increasing the costs of these products for livestock producers.

The proposed rule, titled Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventative Controls for Food for Animals, was published in the Federal Register on Oct. 29. The original comment period on the measure was scheduled to close Feb. 26. On Feb. 3, the FDA announced it would extend the comment period through Mach 31. According to information published to Regulations.gov under Docket ID FDA-2011-N-0922, the FDA received an estimated 2,129 comments on the proposal.

In his letter, Johanns notes that the “rigid framework” proposed by the FDA would substantially increase costs for industry participants with little, if any, expected benefit. “In particular, I am concerned about FDA regulation of byproducts used in animal food.  Whether the byproducts are from ethanol plants, breweries, or human food manufacturers, these are an important part of the supply chain for animal food and help companies reduce waste and create additional value.  However, the proposed rule included a number of new requirements that would have made the distribution of byproducts cost-prohibitive.  That would endanger an economical food source, instead threatening to clog our landfills with nutritious feedstuffs.  This in turn would raise production costs for our livestock producers, making them less competitive in the global economy,” he wrote.

“Food safety is a concern for all of us, but measured regulatory discretion is needed here.  When FDA proposes a new animal food rule with a new comment period, I urge you to exempt raw agricultural commodities and these byproducts, which reach the animal food supply through a unique set of circumstances that does not warrant their inclusion in this rule,” Johanns continued.

A fully copy of the proposed rule is available on the Federal Register website here.