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AAFCO calls for more research on hemp ingredients in feed

Thursday, September 23, 2021

The US Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) released a white paper explaining the risks of feeding hemp to animals. 

Animal feed with hemp byproducts was recently accelerated with the passage of the 2018 Agricultural Improvement Act, commonly referred to as the “Farm Bill”, that expanded the legal production of hemp in the United States. AAFCO said that lawmakers are being lobbied to consider legislation allowing the use of hemp in feed ingredients but recall that the use of hemp and its byproducts in animal feed fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). 

AAFCO’s position for further research 

“As an association of animal feed regulators, AAFCO strives to develop a model framework that supports the health and safety of livestock and companion animals through regulatory consistency for commercial animal food across the United States. In partnership with FDA, a scientific review on the safety and efficacy of ingredient definitions is just one of the ways AAFCO accomplishes that goal,” AAFCO said. 

“While AAFCO understands the interest to support the new hemp industry, AAFCO strongly encourages agricultural leaders, lawmakers and industry members to consider the potential adverse impact of allowing hemp in animal feed prior to completing the necessary research and legal approval process that will demonstrate the safety and efficacy of this ingredient. Rather than unilaterally approving the use of hemp as a feed ingredient, in conflict with AAFCO's century-old model for animal feed ingredient approval, advocates should support continued research and development, and promptly submit applications to AAFCO and the FDA for review and approval on a national level,” the association said. “In order for any ingredient to be used in animal food, thorough scientific research must be completed to ensure safety and nutritional benefits. Allowance of hemp byproducts prior to an appropriate scientific review and approval process can result in serious adverse effects that need to be considered.”

Since 2015, AAFCO has been asking the hemp industry to come forward and present information for the scientific review to establish definitions for animal foods made with all or part of the industrial hemp plant. The requested data would help address the safety of both the target animals and the resultant human food. AAFCO expects to see ingredients like hemp seed oil, hemp seed meal, and whole hemp seeds. To date, the industry has submitted data related to the use of hempseed cake in laying hens. The data is under review as of September 2021. AAFCO strongly encourages additional applications for other species.

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