As indicated in the previous article, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) reached a settlement agreement with the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and Center for Environmental Health that extended and staggered the deadlines for publishing final rules implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act. Another feature of the settlement was that original deadlines for the close of comment periods were no longer operative.
In response, feed industry groups requested for FDA to extend the comment period deadlines for three major proposed rules affecting the grain, feed and processing industry. On March 4-6, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA), the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), the Pet Food Institute (PFI) and the National Renderers Association jointly requested to change comment period deadlines from March 31 to June 30, 2014 for the Animal Feed/Pet Food Proposed Rule and the Focused Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration Proposed Rule. The industry groups also requested a 90-day extension for the Draft Approach for Designating High-Risk Foods comment period.
These groups argued that FDA is no longer subject to a court-imposed deadline for closing the comment period, and the extension would provide the feed industry additional time to prepare comments on the significant and complex issues raised by the proposed rule.
On March 19, the FDA announced that it will grant comment-period extensions for two of the proposed rules that the feed industry groups requested: 1) a 90-day extension for the Focused Mitigation Strategies to Protect Food Against Intentional Adulteration Proposed Rule (and the accompanying draft qualitative risk assessment) to June 30, 2014; and 2) a 45-day extension for the Draft Approach for Designating High-Risk Foods to May 22, 2014. However, the FDA informed that it will not extend the comment period for the Animal Feed/Pet Food Proposed Rule, because the agency plans to publish revised language for this proposed rule and for its companion Human Food Proposed Rule in early summer of 2014.