WASHINGTON – The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced plans to establish definitions and standards for animal food ingredients.

The agency said it will review the list of animal food-ingredient definitions used by industry and state regulators which is published by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). AAFCO membership includes regulatory officials of US state and federal government agencies. The organization provides a forum for regulatory officials to provide guidance and recommendations to ensure uniformity of animal feeds from state to state. FDA intends to align AAFCO ingredient listings with the agency’s regulatory process and requirements.

FDA said its strategy will formalize definitions and standards to meet federal laws and regulations. Otherwise, consumers can be confident in their accuracy, FDA noted.

According to the agency's strategy:

• The FDA intends to publish a proposed rule establishing as its own the AAFCO definitions for ingredients that are recognized as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) or approved by the FDA as food additives. The proposed rule will be open for public comment.

• FDA scientists will evaluate the remaining animal food ingredients listed in the AAFCO Official Publication that are currently not FDA-approved food additives or recognized as GRAS.

Additionally, FDA will publish the supporting information in the Federal Register in cases where scientific literature supports a GRAS recommendation.

FDA intends to approve ingredients as food additives in cases where the data and information support approval.

Finally, the agency will require manufacturers to submit a food-additive petition in cases where the FDA does not currently have data to make a GRAS recommendation or to approve the ingredient as a food additive. Manufacturers must submit a petition in order to continue legal use of the product in animal food.