Keeping an Eye on AAFCO Activities

By David Meeker, PhD, MBA
Senior Vice President, Scientific Services
National Renderers Association

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a group of state and federal agency volunteers charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds. AAFCO meets twice each year and works toward consistent regulation across states and maintains an official listing of approved feed ingredients. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is heavily involved while industry groups such as the National Renderers Association (NRA) attend to advise and observe.

At AAFCO’s 2017 annual meeting held in Bellevue, Washington, this past summer, there were several items of interest to renderers:

FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Director Dr. Steve Solomon announced that compliance inspections for the hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls portion of the Food Safety Modernization Act previously slated to begin in September 2017 will instead begin in September 2018 for large firms (over 500 employees). Large plants still need to be in compliance now but will not be inspected on that point for another year. The one-year extension does not apply to smaller firms that have a September 2018 compliance date. FDA staff is working on guidance documents that will explain what is required for compliance in areas where the regulation was not clear. The extension was granted so the guidance will be available before compliance inspections begin. More information is available at

• CVM’s deputy director of the Division of Animal Feeds, Dr. Dave Edwards, stated that FDA’s review of all definitions in the AAFCO Official Publication to determine those not good enough to be “standards” has been suspended. The rendering industry will occasionally need to review and revise definitions when problems arise such as with feeding fat a few years ago, but this announcement gives relief to the concern that a large number of rendered product definitions would be placed in limbo. Definitions in the AAFCO Official Publication will continue to be the legal basis for animal feed ingredients.

• AAFCO’s Ingredient Definitions Committee voted to move the following definitions from “tentative” to “official” as negotiated by NRA and allies in 2015: poultry by-product meal, poultry by-products, poultry, and poultry meal. NRA was able to avoid major detrimental revisions and possible market disruptions with these minor revisions, though activist groups continue to complain about what goes into pet food no matter how safe and nutritious. These definitions became official without additional discussion in committee. The next steps are for the AAFCO Board of Directors to do the same at which time the membership will vote, most likely next January. NRA is always ready for these challenges.

• The AAFCO membership accepted the recommendation of the board and voted official the definitions for “yellow grease, feed grade” and “used cooking oil, feed grade” negotiated last year by NRA and allies. These largely replace the old “fat product, feed grade” that was recently removed from AAFCO’s Official Publication.

• An AAFCO task force charged with simplifying pet food labels failed to advance a proposal for a new definition for poultry protein (a higher protein, higher quality form of by-product meal). NRA met with the Pet Food Institute and American Feed Industry Association as well as some pet food and rendering companies attending the meeting about continuing work on this and other new pet-food-friendly definitions for common rendered products. The allied group will submit new definitions to AAFCO in the future

AAFCO is looking to hire a full-time executive director, which should help the all-volunteer organization work more efficiently and consistently.

October 2017 RENDER | back