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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has presented a draft proposal for establishing good manufacturing practices for producing animal food. Rules in this particular area have never been implemented before and the proposal specifically addresses the manufacturing, processing, packing and holding of animal food.

The rule will be introduced under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) with the aim of preventing foodborne diseases in animals and humans. It will also outline hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls for food for animals, the FDA said in a statement. The rule is open for public comment over the next 120 days.

All manufacturers of pet and animal food will be required to present a formal plan that depicts all procedures put in place to prevent contamination. The plans will also have to feature corrective action that will be implemented should the need arise. Manufacturing, processing and packaging facilities for pet and animal food will have to meet various requirements to comply with the proposed standards, with a focus on sanitation.

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Commenting on the proposal, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg stated that the federal agency is committed to ensuring safety across the entire supply chain and the new proposal would address critical challenges in the U.S. food manufacturing system.

In order to introduce the proposal to the U.S. pet and animal food industry, the FDA is organizing three public meetings. The first one is scheduled for November 21, at the FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition in College Park, Md.