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U.S. feed associations meet with FDA over max dioxin levels

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

AFIA Vice President Richard Sellers and Tom Cook of the National Renderers Association met with technical and management officials of FDA Oct. 6 to discuss recent dioxin developments. An FDA scientist announced a five part per trillion (pptr) trigger level for feed ingredients at the Dioxin 2003 Conference in Boston earlier this year. The scientist also announced a significant increase in sampling for feed from 50 per year to 2,000 samples. These are major policy changes on the agency’s approach to dioxin.

The purpose of the meeting was to confirm this direction and determine rationale for this approach. FDA/CVM Director Dr. Steve Sundlof said the agency will be utilizing 5 pptr as a trigger level for further sampling and action on mineral ingredients only. The agency’s sampling has revealed a "breakpoint" of about 2 pptr, for which most sample results fall under.

If the agency finds products containing over 5 pptr dioxin, then it will take more samples and look for a dioxin source and may initiate recall requests. This is an attempt to reduce dioxin in the food supply, since many scientists believe that feed is a major source of channeling dioxin to the food supply.

Sellers expressed AFIA’s concern in this approach and was told that the proposed policy will assist firms in setting some type of benchmark for subsequent action. No agency level is being set for finished feed or other ingredients, but a level may be established later after more sampling results are received.

AFIA previously offered to host a national feed dioxin summit this year and was encouraged by support received in a letter from FDA Deputy Commissioner Dr. Lester Crawford. Dr. Sundlof also expressed support for such a summit and committed staff attendance, if invited. AFIA plans to set up this summit in early December. The summit is envisioned to have technical speakers, as well as policy and agency speakers to address the information available and establish a rational, well-reasoned and cost-effective approach to reducing dioxin in the feed supply.

For more technical information on dioxin, go to the AFIA home page at www.afia.org and order the proceedings and/or videotape of a conference held in May 2002 found under "AFIA Shop." [Source: AFIA]

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