On August 17, FDA announced that the Animal Drug and Animal Generic Drug User Fee Amendments of 2018 had been signed into law. As the name of the law suggests, it reauthorizes the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA) and the Animal Generic Drug User Fee Act (AGDUFA) programs administered by FDA. Not so obvious is that the amendment also impacts FDA’s review of animal feed ingredients. Specifically, section 360 concerns the review and approval process for animal food ingredients. Among other things, the amendment removes Section 1002(a) of the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act of 2007 (FDAAA). This section required FDA to establish ingredient standards and definitions with respect to pet food. Lacking a clear definition of pet food, FDA interpreted the provision broadly as to require ingredient standards and definitions for animal food ingredients.
As discussed in a prior posting, FDA announced a strategy for the required ingredient review only in 2015. Briefly, FDA had planned to align ingredient listings in the Official Publication (OP) of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) with the agency’s regulatory process and requirements.” Based on a comprehensive review of the OP, the Agency would establish as its own standards and definitions any AAFCO definitions for ingredients that are approved by the agency as food additives or that are Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). For the remaining AAFCO ingredient definitions, FDA would review available data and determine whether they supported an animal food additive approval or GRAS conclusion. There remained uncertainty about how FDA would manage the strain on resources; estimates suggested FDA might have to address about 500 ingredients. Now three years later, section 1002(a) has been removed. Section 306 also addresses several aspects of the animal food additive approval process. FDA must develop pre-submission guidance for companies. A draft guidance must be published in the next 18 months, and FDA is directed to finalize, withdraw or reissue this guidance no later than one year after closing of the comment period for the draft guidance. The law also amends FDC Act § 409 to clarify that FDA must review applicable foreign reports of investigations and data on animal food ingredients when submitted by petitioners as part of an animal food additive petition. It remains to be seen if these actions will speed up the food additive approval process (currently it takes 3-5 years to obtain approval).