AAFCO urges more research on hemp products for feed

AAFCO urges more research on hemp products for feed

Kanjana Kawfang | Bigstock.com

Association says more data needed on products’ safety and efficacy

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is urging the hemp and animal feed industries to continue researching hemp and hemp byproducts for use in animal feed and pet food.

AAFCO said that when data gathering on the products’ safety and efficacy is complete, it can formally define the various ingredients and provide standards for safe pet food and livestock feed with that information. The products to be evaluated include whole hemp plants, hemp seed oil, CBD, and other cannabinoids.

“We understand the hemp industry is eager to enter the animal food market, but we are concerned that not enough research has been completed on these products,” said Susan M. Hays, AAFCO executive director. “That’s why we are urging the hemp industry to conduct appropriate research and submit their results to us for review as a normal step in our ingredient approval process.”

The 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing hemp, but any feed ingredient, including hemp products, falls under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is not yet known whether hemp products are safe to feed to all animal species. Research is needed to address the levels of THC and other cannabinoids in hemp and what effects the content will have on the intended uses and species.

For any ingredient to be used in animal food, thorough scientific research must be completed to ensure nutritional and safety benefits.

“Allowing hemp byproducts to be used for animal nutrition before rigorous research and legal approval processes have been completed could have adverse impacts on ranchers’ access to markets, on animal health, and ultimately on human health when hemp-fed animal products enter the human food chain,” Hays said.

Recently, proponents of hemp in feed have focused on passing state legislation to allow in-state use of hemp as a feed ingredient, despite the lack of a national approval based on a comprehensive scientific review of its safety.

AAFCO is concerned that bringing hemp products to market through a state-by-state patchwork of laws, without the backing of in-depth research and a formal review process, will lead to inconsistent manufacturing methods, unsupported marketing claims across the country, and restriction of interstate and international markets.

AAFCO encourages lawmakers to work with key stakeholders like the FDA, United States Department of Agriculture, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, livestock and dairy associations, consumer advocacy groups, and AAFCO itself within the formal process for review and approval of hemp and its byproducts for animal nutrition. AAFCO can help guide hemp producers through the submission and review process.