Due to the coronavirus pandemic, yet another national meeting has turned virtual. AAFCO will meet virtually August 5 through August 7, 2020. This virtual meeting meeting presents some interesting opportunities. There are definitely challenges as well.
For those who wonder why the trade association represents their company at AAFCO meetings, this is a great opportunity to see what goes on, to see why representation is needed, to see how the “system“ works and why that representation is vital for your voice to be heard. It’s an opportunity to see politics at work and see how political machinations and lobbying direct pet food regulation.
You can do that for free from the comfort of your own office computer. Specific meeting information is at the end of this post. Please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there is a specific comment or issue you wish to have raised – that is one of the functions of the trade association.
What’s missing from this meeting? The face-to-face opportunity to have discussions with regulators and colleagues. This has always been a great opportunity to talk unofficially to regulators about issues that are impacting the industry one way or another. Other missing content, something which is a little less apparent, include the Pet Food Committee (PFC) meeting is only scheduled for 45 minutes. When the meeting is live, this can be a very contentious committee and often brings robust discussion over a period of two or 2 1/2 hours. During the PFC, we expect the Human Grade Workgroup to present how Human Grade Pet Food will be certified through the USDA/AMS. (You may recall AAFCO is moving this function to its partners in USDA as state regulators do not have the resources – time, money, or personnel – to ensure pet foods are meeting the human grade standards.)
Be that as it may, there are two “guest“ lectures of interest to the entire industry:
On Wednesday “An Introduction to OneHealth and Its Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic” will be presented. On Thursday the discussion centers around “Coronavirus Impacts on Animal Food.” The first is very alarming as the presenter is claiming that 75% of international disease is caused what the FDA is calling zoonotic (transmissible between animals and humans) disease. We have not been provided any background information regarding the second discussion; however, it is being presented by the new head of FDA/CVM Office of Surveillance and Compliance.
Most importantly, this free meeting gives our members and supporters a chance to see some of the inner workings of the regularity processes that impact the real pet food industry. Hopefully, you can participate in some of these calls.
Here’s the registration link. Here is the schedule (all times are Eastern Daylight). The meetings that most impact our manufacturers are:
- Wednesday 2:30 PM An Introduction to One Health and Its Role in the COVID-19 Pandemic
- Wednesday 2:15 PM Pet Food Committee
- Thursday 1:15 PM Ingredient Definitions Committee
- Thursday 4:15 PM Coronavirus Impacts on Animal Food
- Friday 1:15 PM Ingredient Definitions Committee
- Friday 3:15 PM Feed and Feed Ingredients Manufacturing Committee