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Rep. Feenstra wants faster FDA approval of feed additives

U.S. House Agriculture Committee member says faster approval of animal feed additives is important for sustainability initiatives.

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House Agriculture Committee member said some feed additives can make animal agriculture more sustainable, so the approval process needs to be improved

House Agriculture Committee member Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) said feed additives are a key component to improving sustainability within the animal agriculture industry, and he hopes that newly proposed additives can gain quicker federal approval so such improvements can be made.

Feenstra spoke during the committee’s Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture’s hearing “Sustainability in the Livestock Sector: Environmental Gain and Economic Vitality.” The hearing was held on February 3.

Feenstra spoke about how the hog, dairy and beef producers in his district and beyond have made great advances in sustainability over the years, and says that those improvements are largely being made because of new technology.

“One technology that has advanced the industry into greater sustainability is feed additives,” said Feenstra, adding that animal feed ingredients have helped both cattle sectors reduce methane emissions.

But Feenstra said he had “concerns that the regulatory red tape is preventing timely market availability for these ingredients.” He even cited one study that said it takes 3-5 years for a new feed ingredient to be reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Center for Veterinary Medicine.

He directly asked two hearing witnesses – Melvin Medeiros, representing the National Milk Producers Federation, and Kim Brackett, representing the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association – what their suggestions were to improve the process.

Medeiros, from Fresno County, California, said feed additives need to be treated differently than antibiotics, and in doing so, “we can start fast-forwarding what we know so far.”

“FDA needs to take a look at the protocol on feed additives so we can pursue that at a much more rapid rate, so we can push that forward,” he said. “I think that’s something Congress really needs to take a look at.”

More resources needed for research

But Medeiros also believes that if the federal government offered more support for feed additive research, it would help, because a lack of time and money investment in that research is a hindrance to improving sustainability.

Brackett, from Homedale, Idaho, agreed with Medeiros concerning research.

“I think it’s important to focus on innovation. Having support of research and innovation … would be something that we’re very much in favor of. We need to be investing in research that’s going to help producers be more solutions-oriented. I think that could be the collaborative wall that we’re all striving to achieve here,” she said. “That would help us achieve our sustainability goals.”

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