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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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Feed Safety Team Holds Public Meeting on Risk Ranking

by Jon F. Scheid, Editor
FDA Veterinarian Newsletter 2007 Volume XXII, No II

The Center for Veterinary Medicine’s Animal Feed Safety System (AFSS) team used its fourth public meeting, held in May 2007, to present the concept of exposure scoring for feed contaminants, which will be used as part of the risk-ranking method the team is -developing.

The risk-ranking approach is explained in the AFSS team’s Framework Document, first drafted in 2005 and revised in December 2006. The Framework presents the directions and goals of the AFSS.

One of the gaps identified in the Framework is the lack of a comprehensive animal feed safety program in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration is addressing that gap by writing process control regulations covering the procurement, receipt, manufacture, and distribution of all animal feed, including pet food, and all ingredients.

The Framework also calls for FDA to develop a risk-based approach to feed safety, which is why the team is developing the risk-ranking method for feed contaminants. The risk-ranking method takes into consideration physical, chemical, and microbiological contaminants. FDA will use the risk-ranking method to help prioritize the use of resources to address the hazards presenting the greatest risk to public and animal health.

The team used the previous public meeting, held September 2006, to identify the hazards of concern (feed contaminants) and to present the concept of health consequence scoring, which considers the likelihood of adverse effects if animals are exposed to a contaminant in feed. The health consequence scores, combined with the results of the exposure scoring, will be used as a method to rank the various risks from feed -contaminants.

At the May 22 meeting, the AFSS team used the production of swine diets—nursery, grower, and finisher—to explain how exposure scoring would work. In their presentations, the team members discussed the types and levels of contaminants that might be found in the feed ingredients and the complete swine feeds, and explained that feed processing must be considered in determining exposure scoring, because processing could either enhance or mitigate some of the risks from the -contaminants.

For the examples presented, the AFSS team members used whatever data were available, but where no data existed they used expert opinions. The AFSS team said it hoped members of the feed industry and other experts would work with CVM to add data on contaminants, especially about the effects of feed processing on the -hazards.

Melamine issue demonstrated importance of AFSS

Dr. Dan McChesney, Director of CVM’s Office of Surveillance and Compliance, opened the May 22 meeting by describing how the recall of pet food contaminated with melamine had “altered the landscape” of feed (including pet food) safety.

Because of the recall, “animal feed safety” had become a household expression, he said. The recall generated news stories for several weeks following the initial recall announcement in mid-March. It also brought millions of individuals to FDA’s pet food recall page on the Web site. Thousands of consumers called FDA offices across the country. The recall also generated interest in Congress, and the Senate passed a bill addressing pet food safety issues, Dr. McChesney said.

This amount of attention to the issue drove home the fact that AFSS is needed, Dr. McChesney said.

He also pointed out that the melamine-contaminated pet food recall, while significant and possibly the largest pet food recall ever, was not the only feed recall. In fact, 33 firms had initiated 118 recalls in fiscal year 2006, he said. For 2007, by the time of the May 22 AFSS meeting, 15 firms had initiated 23 recalls, he said.

Future meeting

The AFSS team will continue to review comments from the May 22 meeting, but is also planning another public meeting for early in calendar year 2008. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for February. That meeting, and possibly other future meetings, will be used to discuss how the risk-ranking method will combine health consequence and exposure scores to rank risks.

Meanwhile, the AFSS docket remains open for comments. Comments should be sent to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Electronic comments may be submitted to http://www.fda.gov/dockets/ecomments.

Comments should be labeled with Docket Number 2003N-0312.

The transcript, list of attendees, and presentations from the May 22 meeting are available on CVM’s Web site, at http://www.fda.gov/cvm/AFSS.htm.


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