The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law Jan. 4, 2011, with a focus to "better protect human, animal and pet health by helping to ensure the safety and security of the food and feed supply." This system pushes for a worldwide set of controls, proposing many new rules and authoritative structures. Although FDA commented it will focus more on human food facilities than pet feed facilities, the specifics have yet to unfold.
In the free SupplySide Animal Nutrition Insights Report, "The Impact of FSMA on the Pet Food Industry," George Collings, Ph.D., president and general manager of Collings Nutrition Solutions, takes a candid look at the legislation. He details how FSMA takes the U.S. pet food/feed industry—which, in most cases, has a successful track record of producing safe, healthy products—and elevates it into the "zero tolerance" realm of human food safety, as determined by FDA. Collings notes that while process management is vital, it is difficult to anticipate the added expense and burden upon pet food companies and manufacturing plants to meet the new requirements, particularly amidst the lack of direct information.
One key aspect is the proposed rule to watch foreign manufacturing of foods and ingredients through the Foreign Supplier Verification Program (FSVP). FSMA will launch a program for the accreditation of third-party auditors for the purpose of inspections, directed by FDA. All international producers or suppliers are now expected to meet FSMA’s new FSVP. Many pet food ingredients come from non-U.S. sources, so this becomes a new responsibility for all U.S. producers using these sources.
The full disclosure of the FSMA plan—a long time coming—now seems to be on a rapid path. If any business, brand or production facility is unsure of its status with FSMA readiness and documentation, it should make every effort to begin the oversight process immediately.