On September 20, 2021, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) released a press statement in which it detailed its updated position on the regulation of hemp and hemp byproducts in animal food, urging more research to be conducted and for unified regulatory action at the national level.
Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act it is illegal to introduce hemp and hemp products (containing CBD or THC) as food or animal feed. FDA continues to review the safety of such products and potential regulatory pathways for their introduction. As a result, many efforts have been made to gain approval for such uses at the state level (see e.g., New York), threatening a patchwork of conflicting state regulations under the umbrella of a federal prohibition.
AAFCO is urging the industry to continue to conduct research supporting the safety of hemp and hemp products in animal feed and to submit applications to AAFCO and FDA for review and approval at the national level (AAFCO and FDA work together to review a new AAFCO ingredient definition submission).
AAFCO believes that further research is needed to demonstrate that hemp can be safely fed to all animal species and that it is safe to consume food from food-producing animals fed hemp. Currently only data regarding the use of hempseed cake in laying hens has been submitted to AAFCO and the data is still under review. Further, AAFCO believes that the approval of hemp as a feed ingredient at the state level could result in trade barriers between states and the loss of market opportunities for farmers if their suppliers are unwilling to accept the risk of purchasing products that have not been federally approved.