By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
TOPEKA, Kan. — The two Republican U.S. senators from Kansas and a pair of Democratic U.S. senators from Wisconsin and Colorado endorsed legislation offering an alternative route for U.S. Food and Drug Administration review of new feed additives for livestock.
The bipartisan measure introduced by U.S. Sens. Roger Marshall and Jerry Moran of Kansas, U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado would offer a pathway for manufacturers to seek FDA approval of additives tied to improving efficiency of meat and dairy production but don’t fit neatly into the federal agency’s regulated-as-drugs or regulated-as-foods categories.
“This legislation will help bolster the animal feed industry and make certain producers in Kansas and across the country have access to feed additives that will support animal nutrition,” Moran said. “By expanding research and reducing bureaucratic hurdles at the FDA, more of these products will be available to farmers, encouraging a stronger food supply chain.”
The objective would be to modernize the FDA pipeline for feed additives associated with production efficiency as well as waste management. Manufacturers have created additives responsive to heat stress in animals or to deal with presence of food-borne pathogens harmful to humans. Other products curtail nitrogen and phosphorus in cattle manure to help feedlot operators or reduce ammonia in swine waste to address odor problems.
The senators said the Innovative Feed Enhancement and Economic Development (FEED) Act would set guardrails to ensure qualifying products were safe.
Marshall, a member of the Senate’s agriculture committee, said Kansas livestock producers were keen to take advantage of feed additives to “make more with less and leave the world safer, cleaner and healthier than they found it.”
“Since the feed industry doesn’t have a pathway to bring certain feed products to market, innovation that could be happening here is instead happening with our competitors abroad,” Marshall said.
U.S. beef and dairy competitors in South America, Europe and Asia have benefit of updated policies for introduction of feed additives.
Baldwin, a Democrat from the dairy state of Wisconsin, said new feed mixtures could assist producers striving to keep up with market demand while dealing with emissions associated with climate change.
“We know that there are innovative feed products that can help farmers reduce their environmental impact, but onerous bureaucratic processes are getting in the way of these products making it to our agriculture community in a timely way,” Baldwin said.
Bennet, the Colorado Democrat, said red tape at FDA left U.S. cattlemen and dairy farmers without feed options available to peers in exporting countries.
“We need to create a level playing field for Colorado’s livestock industry by giving them every available tool to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve the sustainability of their farms and ranches,” he said.