FDA issues proposed rule to improve food safety for animals

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Friday it is issuing a proposed rule aimed at improving the safety of food for animals and pets.

The rule would require companies that make animal feed and pet food sold in the United States to identify potential hazards and put in place procedures to prevent and correct them.

The rule is one of seven key pillars of the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act, an initiative designed to improve human and animal food safety and reduce food-borne illnesses by giving the FDA greater power to intervene before an outbreak occurs.

The FDA is proposing that the animal feed requirements become effective 60 days after the final rule is published in the Federal Register.

The proposed rule will be published on October 29 and there will be a 120-day comment period. Small and very small businesses will be given more time than bigger companies to comply.

The proposed rule would for the first time establish good manufacturing practices that specifically address the manufacturing, processing, packing and holding of animal food to ensure they are made under conditions that protect against contamination.

The FDA is under a court-ordered deadline to complete the final rules of the food safety act by the end of June 2015.