AFIA Hosts First-Ever Regulatory Training This Week
01 Oct 2009
ARLINGTON, VA., Oct. 1, 2009 – The federal and state regulations that cover the livestock feed, pet food and related ingredients industry were the focus of this week’s first-ever Regulatory Training Short Course, a unique event organized by the American Feed Industry Association. More than 120 feed industry insiders attended the short course, a number that exceeded by 600 percent the early expectations of event organizers.
The short course was designed to give participants an opportunity to hear from and ask questions of the government officials who are charged with regulating the feed industry. Participants ranged in experience levels, but the program offered speakers and materials that all could learn from.
Jarrod Kersey, AFIA director of ingredients and state legislative affairs, said he determined the event was needed based on the concerns and questions that he fields from members on a daily basis. The event was open to non-AFIA members, and participants came from as far as Canada, Mexico and France.
“This is the first-ever event of this kind designed specifically to teach people about how feed, pet food and ingredients are regulated by the various agencies,” said Kersey. “The overwhelming industry participation proves there is a need.”
Event speakers represented the top level of federal and state regulators and experts. Federal-level speakers were Dr. Martine Hartogensis of the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine; Audrey Talley-Rush of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agriculture Service; Dr. Joyce Bowling of USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s National Center for Import and Export; and Dr. Mika Alewynse, also of FDA’s CVM.
Presenting state regulatory information was Chad Linton of the West Virginia Department of Agriculture and a member of the board of the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Another speaker was State Chemist Teresa Crenshaw of the Delaware Department of Agriculture.
In addition to Kersey, other AFIA speakers were Joel G. Newman, AFIA president and CEO; Richard Sellers, AFIA vice president of feed regulation and nutrition; Steve Kopperud, executive vice president of Policy Directions Inc. and AFIA’s government-affairs consultant; and Arthur Tsien, AFIA’s legal counsel at the firm of Olsson, Frank and Weeda.
Among the topics that were discussed and sparked the most interest was the FDA’s Reportable Food Registry that became operational on Sept. 8. Learning how to handle complex import and export issues was another popular topic, and Bowling addressed these concerns. Legislation in Congress regarding food safety and FDA reform was another issue on the agenda.
“The focus of the event was how to work with regulators, not on debating the merits of the rules or the implementation of them,” said Kersey. “This step-back approach helped the industry look at the current rules differently.”
Kersey said the response to the event was overwhelming, especially given economic conditions and financial considerations that have forced many firms to cut back on travel expenditures in the last year.
When Kersey and other members of the AFIA team initiated plans for the short course, they expected to attract around 20 participants, and they planned to host the meetings and a reception at AFIA’s office. As plans progressed over the summer and the number of registrations grew rapidly, it became clear the office was not large enough to accommodate the crowd. Ultimately, the decision was made to hold the entire short course at a hotel near AFIA’s office.
Kersey said AFIA plans to make this a bi-annual event in the future.
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