The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has just concluded their 2018 Mid-Year Meeting. The Ingredient Definitions Committee (IDC) met on Tuesday, January 23. This alert covers items that were discussed at that meeting whose agenda is available here.

GRAS Update

The Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Working Group has prioritized three projects as follows: (1) identify and pursue state acceptable alternatives to Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) review of independent GRAS conclusions; (2) provide industry, consumers and regulators information about the FDA law and regulations applicable to GRAS substances; and (3) identify and pursue solutions to CVM review resources above and beyond GRAS notifications. In short, the State Feed Control Officials continue to take issue with the quality of certain self-determined GRAS positions and are finding it difficult to come up with a path that will preserve the self-determined GRAS concept without further support to evaluate these GRAS positions. We will continue to carefully monitor this situation as there has been indications that AAFCO is close to deciding that they will not accept any self-GRAS positions. New Work Groups

The IDC has also convened two new Work Groups. The first Work Group is tasked with identifying ingredients that have not made it through the ingredient approval process to determine what should be done with these ingredients. For example, should AAFCO maintain a negative list of these ingredients as those that are not recognized in the Official Publication? The second Work Group will explore ingredients in animal food that are viewed negatively by consumers to determine if alternative common or usual names can or should be established.

Hemp Update

Hollis Glenn, the Division Director of the Inspection & Consumer Services Division at the Colorado Department of Agriculture, provided an update on the use of hemp in animal food. In short, a stakeholder group has been working on how to best get hemp approved for use in animal food. They are currently working on a food additive petition submission to the CVM that will cover hemp seed and hemp seed byproducts. Of interest, at the end of this update there were questions as to how hemp ingredients were currently being used in animal products. One response was that they were being used in dietary supplements for animals, which are "not regulated." AAFCO and FDA were quick to correct that, technically there is no dietary supplement category for animals. AAFCO also stated that they have the authority to remove such products from the marketplace and they implied that they may use this authority in the future.

Ingredient Definition Updates

The following ingredient definitions were all approved to move to tentative status: (1) "Oat Fiber," (2) "Low Glucosinolate High Erucic Acid Rapeseed Meal, Solvent Extracted," (3) "Cashew Nut Shell Liquid," and (4) "Cashew Nut Shell Extract." Regarding the "Oat Fiber" definition, there was some discussion as to whether the definition should describe the process as "wet and dry" as opposed to "wet or dry" but FDA verified that the oat hulls are processed through both a wet and dry process. Note there is no minimum fiber level set forth in the "Oat Fiber" definition. Updates were also made to the ammonium formate and formic acid listings in the Official Publication. There was also a discussion as to the organization and placement of the Enzyme Marketing Document and Section 30 header edits. Finally, AAFCO has received an ingredient definition request for crickets in dog food and anticipates more insect protein ingredients will be reviewed in the future.

Next Meeting

Discussion topics that have been postponed for a later meeting include: (1) whether the tentative ingredient definition process needs to apply to every ingredient; (2) the Standard of Identity Template; (3) the status of high profile ingredients; and (4) discussing common human foods in pet food. There is very little information in the public domain regarding these discussion topics.