Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pet food, feed meeting focuses on feed safety rule

Implementation and enforcement of the Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis and Preventive Controls for Food for Animals, the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) regulation most relevant to pet food safety, was a key focus of the 2015 Feed and Pet Food Joint Conference held September 29-October 1 in Columbus, Ohio, USA. The two organizations hosting the conference, the National Grain & Feed Association (NGFA) and Pet Food Institute (PFI), have played a leadership role in providing industry response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the rule.
The conference’s opening sessions were presented by two FDA representatives: Daniel McChesney, PhD, director of the agency’s Center for Veterinary Medicine Office of Surveillance and Compliance, who provided an overview of how the rule will be implemented; and Scott MacIntire, director of FDA’s Division of Enforcement/Office of Enforcement and Import Operations within the Office of Regulatory Affairs, who spoke about enforcement of the rule. A workshop on the second day of the conference helped attendees understand the rule’s requirements and how to demonstrate compliance.
McChesney reiterated that the regulation, commonly referred to as the animal feed preventive controls rule, establishes current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) for animal feed and pet food for the first time and requires all registered manufacturing facilities within those industries to have written preventive controls plans. After several hundred comments from industry members, FDA also looked at existing industry standards and revised the requirements for cGMPs in the final rule, making them more flexible and less prescriptive because of the wide range in types of facilities, products being made and species of animals the products are manufactured for.
The cGMPs in the rule cover personnel, plant and grounds, sanitation, water supply and plumbing, equipment and utensils, plant operations, holding and distribution, and holding and distribution of human food by-products for use as animal food, McChesney said. He added that it is up to each company/facility to determine which of these might have hazards that need control.
He also discussed the food safety plan, which must include hazard analysis, preventive controls (including process, sanitation, supply chain controls, plus a recall plan), monitoring of hazards/controls, corrective actions and controls, verification, validation, verification of implementation/effectiveness and re-analysis of plan itself. “This rule is heavy on documentation; everything must be documented,” McChesney said.
The rule also includes a supply-chain program, which involves supplier verification activities (such as on-site audits), sampling and testing, and review of relevant safety records, among other elements. The activity and frequency should be based on the nature of the hazard, where it is controlled and the supplier performance.
To help pet food and feed manufacturers comply with the rule, FDA is issuing guidance documents. One on cGMPs is finished, McChesney said, and in the process of being cleared through the federal government’s channels; a document on hazard and analysis and preventive controls is under development.
MacIntire discussed the training requirements of FSMA and FDA’s role. The agency has established a Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance, in conjunction with NGFA and PFI, which is developing and providing training to industry as well as regulators. Food and feed safety staff from FDA will be required to attend this training, and industry members will receive a certificate proving they did the training, which will count under FSMA, MacIntire said. The preventive controls training will take three to four years because of the sheer number of people needing training, he added. In addition, the agency has formed a Food Safety Technical Assistance Network to provide central, consistent sources of outreach and real-time technical assistance to industry and regulators before, during and after inspections. Training for that is also under way.
MacIntire emphasized that the underlying philosophy for his division’s enforcement of FSMA is to try and change the culture in FDA, from one of enforcement only to gaining industry compliance. That includes having an open-door policy to industry at all levels and recognizing companies when they self-identify problems and fix them, coming up with different ways to address things. Because of the flexibility of the animal feed preventive controls rule, FDA will not use a one-size-fits-all approach, MacIntire said. That likely means spend less time in facilities with very good safety records and more time in ones that need more help.
Other speakers at the conference, including Bob Ehart, senior policy and science advisor for the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, questioned whether FDA would receive full and adequate funding from the US Congress to enforce FSMA regulations.

Monday, October 12, 2015

AFIA to host 9th annual Pet Food Conference

The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) will host its ninth annual Pet Food Conference January 26, 2016, as part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia. The education-packed conference is designed to inform pet food industry representatives about the latest industry initiatives, including speakers from government entities, private companies and universities.
Attendees will engage with a well-rounded cast of presenters to discuss industry issues including country of origin labeling, pet obesity trends, allergen research and the newly published Food Safety Modernization Act and its implications on the pet food industry.
“Every year attendees from around the world congregate at the Pet Food Conference to acknowledge, discuss and rectify pertinent issues affecting the pet food industry,” said Leah Wilkinson, AFIA director of ingredients, pet food and state affairs. “The conference offers an opportunity for industry professionals to unify and learn about the latest in the field.”
 IPPE is expected to attract more than 28,000 attendees and is a collaboration of three trade shows — International Feed Expo, International Poultry Expo and International Meat Expo — representing the entire chain of protein production and processing. The event is sponsored by the American Feed Industry Association, U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the North American Meat Institute.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Texas A&M to hold course on feeds, pet food extrusion

A one-week Practical Short Course on Feeds & Pet Food Extrusion will be presented January 31-February 5, 2016, at Texas A&M University by staff, industry representatives and consultants.
The program will cover information on designing new feed mills and selecting conveying, drying, grinding, conditioning and feed mixing equipment. Current practices for production of pet foods, preparing full-fat soy meal; recycling fisheries byproducts, raw animal products, and secondary resources; extrusion of floating, sinking, and high fat feeds; spraying and coating fats, digests and preservatives; use of encapsulated ingredients and preparation of premixes, and least cost formulation are reviewed.
 Practical demonstration of pet food, vacuum coating, and several others are demonstrated on four major types of extruders - (dry, interrupted flights, single and twin screw), using various shaping dies. Reservations are accepted on a first-come basis.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Big Heart Pet Brands investigated over alleged slave labor

Plaintiffs law firm Hagens Berman is investigating Big Heart Pet Brands for allegedly importing fish-based pet food from suppliers who use slave labor.
Hagens Berman alleges that Big Heart Pet Brands imports pet food from Thai Union Frozen Products. According to U.S. customs documents, Thai Union has shipped more than 28 million pounds of seafood-based pet food for some of the top brands sold in the United States.
“Based on our investigation and media reports, Hagens Berman attorneys believe that Thai Union relies on forced or slave labor to catch the fish used in fish-based Meow Mix-brand wet cat foods. These men and boys are victims of many human rights violations: they are trafficked from countries neighboring Thailand, sold to fishing boats by brokers and smugglers, and forced to work under physical violence, emotional abuse, and verbal threats. Reports by the New York Times and The Guardian have recently shed light on these inhumane working conditions,” the law firm said in a press release.
Hagens Berman says that, in violation of California law, Big Heart Pet Brands does not disclose that its supplier, Thai Union, employs these forced labor practices and instead continues to profit from the slave labor that supplies the fish.
Nestle and Mars previously have been sued by consumers accusing the companies of failing to disclose the use of forced labor on boats that supply the fish they use in pet food.
And now several lawmakers are looking to address the problem. In August, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., proposed legislation aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in corporate supply chains. Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney, D-N.Y., has sent a letter to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to put more focus on illegal fishing and on preventing “trafficking and slavery in the fishing industry.”
More than 2,000 enslaved fishermen have been rescued in 2015 as a result of an Associated Press investigation into forced labor on fishing boats in Asia. A multimillion-dollar Thai-Indonesian fishing business has been shut down, at least nine people have been arrested, and two fishing boats have been seized.
 The men saved from the forced labor came from Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Laos and have been identified or repatriated. Hundreds more have been quietly returned home, so the companies running the fishing businesses can avoid human trafficking allegations.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Petco will go public once again

The company has filed an amended S-1 form with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, but no terms were given in the filing. Petco has not said what exchange it will file on or what its symbol will be.
Proceeds from the offering will go to the selling stockholders instead of the company. The private equity firms that own it and other investors will retain majority voting power after the initial public offering.
In September, PetSmart said it was exploring the possibility of acquiring Petco Holdings Inc.
The two companies explored a merger possibility in 2014, but PetSmart ruled out a deal with Petco in 2014 in favor of a buyout by private equity consortium led by BC Partners Ltd. for US$8.7 billion. At the time, PetSmart was unsure a deal with Petco would receive antitrust clearance.
If PetSmart and Petco merged, the new company would account for 30% of US pet specialty supplies stores, reports say.
PetSmart and Petco account for 20% of all pet product sales in the US, according to market research publisher Packaged Facts. The two pet retail stores had combined sales of about US$11 billion in 2014 based on Packaged Facts' estimates, with sales of natural pet products an important factor in the strong performances.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

RECALL: K-9 Kraving Dog Food recalls Chicken Patties

K-9 Kraving Dog Food has announced a voluntary recall of its Chicken Patties Dog Food shipped between July 13 and July 17, 2015, because these products may be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.
The affected product was distributed to retail stores only in Maryland. No other K-9 Kraving Dog Food products are affected.
No illnesses have been reported to date. Even though no illnesses have been reported, consumers should follow the Safe Handling Instructions printed on the K-9 Kraving Dog Food package when disposing of the affected product.
K-9 Kraving Dog Food became aware of a potential issue after receiving notification from the FDA that a routine surveillance sample of Chicken Patties tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.
“At K-9 Kraving Dog Food we take quality and safety very seriously. We believe that under all circumstances, health and safety comes first, and we are committed to providing the best possible nutrition for pets,” said Robert Barrett, CEO of K-9 Kraving Dog Food.
Consumers feeding the affected product should discontinue use and monitor their pet's health, and contact their veterinarian if they have concerns. Consumers who purchased the product can obtain a full refund or exchange by either returning the product in its original packaging or bringing a proof of purchase back to their retailer.
Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.
Healthy people infected with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping and fever. Rarely, Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.
Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian.
Consumers with additional questions can call +1.800.675.1471 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, EST.

More visitors coming to Interzoo from Eastern EU

The number of visitors to Interzoo 2014 from Eastern European Union was up 49% from 2004, according to Interzoo News.
“The central location of Germany and in particular the innovative, international range of products and services at Interzoo have no doubt contributed to this,” said Herbert Bollhöfer, managing director of Commercial Association of Specialist Zoological Companies.
Between 2004 and 2014, there was an increase in the number of visitors to Interzoo from Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Estonia.
 Interzoo now plays a central role in business strategy in particular for the companies from Germany's eastern neighbors Poland and the Czech Republic. At Interzoo 2014, 1,141 experts and specialists came from Poland and 986 from the Czech Republic. But Interzoo has also become an important marketplace for the pet supplies retail trade visitors from Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia.