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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Animal & Veterinary

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CVM, AAFCO Sign Agreement on Feed Ingredient Listing

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

The Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that allows FDA to formally recognize AAFCO’s process to develop a list of feed ingredients and defines the role FDA can play in deciding on the suitability of feed ingredients offered for addition to AAFCO’s list.

FDA’s formal recognition of the AAFCO list is one of the specific recommendations made in a “Framework Document” drafted by FDA’s Animal Feed Safety System (AFSS) Team. FDA created the ad hoc AFSS Team 4 years ago to develop ways to modernize the feed safety system in the United States. The Team has identified “gaps” in the current animal feed regulatory structure (including the fact that FDA regulations do not include a complete list of suitable feed ingredients) and offers recommendations for closing the gaps.

AAFCO is a voluntary organization comprised largely of regulatory officials who have responsibility for enforcing their State’s laws and regulations concerning the safety of animal feeds. It is made up of members from each State in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as from FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the governments of Costa Rica and Canada.

A basic goal of AAFCO is to provide the means for ensuring the development and implementation of equitable laws, regulations, standards, definitions, and enforcement policies for regulating animal feed. AAFCO is an advisory group and has no enforcement authority. The State regulatory agencies that make up the membership of AAFCO carry out enforcement in their State if necessary.

AAFCO publishes an annual Official Publication (OP) that includes a list of all ingredients AAFCO has reviewed and found suitable for use in animal feeds. The OP also contains cross-references to certain sections of the Code of Federal Regulations that list approved food additives and ingredients that are Generally Recognized as Safe for use in animal feed. The OP is considered to contain the most current and extensive list of common or usual ingredient names. FDA has informally cited the OP’s ingredient list and has acted as AAFCO’s scientific advisor in reviewing petitions for the addition of ingredients to the list or for changes in the ingredient definitions. However, although the OP ingredient list does have the force of law in those States that adopt it, it does not carry the force of law for FDA.

Under the MOU, CVM assigns scientists to work with AAFCO in reviewing petitions for new feed ingredients or for modifications to existing ingredient definitions. Also, before it adopts a new feed ingredient definition or amends an existing one, AAFCO will ask CVM for advice and a letter of concurrence. In addition, the MOU requires AAFCO to remove a definition from its OP if FDA provides convincing scientific evidence that the ingredient is no longer suitable for its intended purpose.

The MOU went into effect on August 30, 2007, and remains in effect until September 1, 2012. 


The numbers for the Complaint Coordinators published in FDA Veterinarian, 2007, No. IV, for Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina are incorrect. The correct number for all three States is 404-253-1169. To be sure you have the most up-to-date listing of phone numbers, please check the Food and Drug Administration’s Complaint Coordinator Web site.


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