AAFCO expresses concern with state approvals of hemp in animal food 

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on Sept. 20 issued a press release and a “call to action” on the use of hemp and hemp byproducts in livestock feed and companion animal pet food. 
 
In doing so, AAFCO expressed concern that recent actions taken by some state legislative bodies to allow in-state use of hemp as a feed ingredient is creating a state-by-state patchwork of laws that lack an in-depth, formal safety review process.  AAFCO also stated that such state approvals will lead to inconsistent manufacturing methods, unsupported marketing claims across the country, and restriction of animal food products that contain hemp within interstate and international markets.
 
Instead, AAFCO encouraged state lawmakers to work with key stakeholders like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, livestock and dairy associations, consumer advocacy groups, and AAFCO itself within the formal feed ingredient approval process for review and approval of hemp and its byproducts for animal nutrition.  
 
The 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing hemp, but approval of feed ingredients, including those derived from hemp, falls under the jurisdiction of FDA. To date, FDA has not completed a formal regulatory review of the safety and efficacy of feeding hemp and hemp byproducts to all animal species. Safety considerations associated with the use of hemp in animal food include levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids and what effects the content will have on animals and animal-derived human food. 
 
In a separate communication to feed industry stakeholders including NGFA, AAFCO requested animal feed and pet food industry organizations to actively engage with hemp producers, as well as state and federal stakeholders, producers, manufacturers, and consumers, to develop a pathway for hemp products to be legally approved on a national level. AAFCO also stated that it will reach out to stakeholders to discuss whether there are opportunities to collaborate in finding an alternative path to state-by-state approval of hemp and hemp byproducts.
 
AAFCO’s Hemp and Hemp Byproducts in Animal Food position paper and guidelines are available on its website.