The purpose of the feed program is to assure the public and manufacturers that animal feed and feed ingredients meet label guarantees, are unadulterated, and are safe and effective for use. This is accomplished by feed mill and transporter inspections and surveillance sampling under authority of §94.72, Wis. Stats. and ch. ATCP 42, Wis. Adm. Code.
The feed program work includes issuing licenses and feed export certificates of free sale, collecting and auditing tonnage fees, reviewing labels for compliance with the feed law, product sampling, performing field investigations, and conducting education, training and information outreach activities with industry and consumers.
During 2013, the department issued 1,277 commercial feed licenses to firms that distribute, manufacture, process and/or label animal feed and feed ingredients in or into Wisconsin. Of these firms, there were 649 licensed facilities in Wisconsin. This represents an increase in the number of licenses issued during the previous year. These firms distributed a collective 4.7 million tons of commercial animal feed and feed products, also an increase from 2012. Chart 1 and Chart 2 show an overview of the feed program licensing and tonnage activities over the last six years.
A feed export certificate of free sale or license card, indicating a feed license status, is sometimes required when feed products are exported internationally. To issue a certificate, the department ensures the company is currently licensed, located in Wisconsin and in good standing with the department. In addition, we ensure that all feed product labels listed on the certificate are in compliance with state and federal feed regulations. The department provides notarized license cards or notarized certificates of free sale for feed products, including livestock feeds, pet foods, feed additives and feed ingredients. During 2013, the department issued 305 certificates of free sale.
Compliance Activities and Special Projects
The feed program continues to monitor compliance through Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) inspections, supported by feed product sampling. GMP inspections are a detailed review of the systems and practices utilized by feed manufacturing and processing firms. Adequate manufacturing systems and practices are essential in maintaining the safety and effectiveness of both medicated and non-medicated feeds, feed ingredients and pet foods. The inspection process evaluates a firm’s facilities and equipment, as well as their receipt, use and distribution of feeds and feed ingredients. It also documents the firm’s manufacturing practices to ensure that only safe and wholesome feeds are being manufactured. In conjunction with GMP inspections, samples of feeds and feed ingredients are collected for analysis. These samples are analyzed to determine if the feed products meet label guarantees. They may also be analyzed to detect the presence of contaminants, heavy metals, pesticides, microbiological contaminants and other toxic materials.
In 2012-2013, DATCP conducted 70 GMP inspections, with 21 inspections identifying significant violations; 70% of the inspected facilities were in full compliance with our regulations during the inspections. Environmental Enforcement Specialists (EES’s) issued 21 written warnings and 15 verbal warnings as a result of these inspectional findings. EES’s are responsible for following up on compliance after issuing an inspected facility a warning. The significant violations included improper labeling and failure to establish and maintain procedures for identifying, storing and controlling inventories of medicated feed ingredients. EES’s collected a total of 195 feed samples. Violations, such as failing to meet labeled guarantees, occurred in 94 samples for a 51.8% labeling compliance rate. The program is evaluating next steps to address this significant noncompliance rates and will be implementing outreach, increases surveillance and possible enforcement options beginning in 2014.
Industry Compliance Assistance: As needed, EES’s and office staff assisted industry feed manufacturers and labelers to better understand state and federal feed regulations. Topics addressed in meetings or through individualized assistance included how to remedy common areas of violation such as how to properly label feed products and how to establish and maintain procedures to identify, store and control inventories of medicated feed ingredients. Feed program staff will monitor future inspections and industry inquiries to see if there is a need for further industry training or outreach focusing on certain areas.
FDA Inspection Contract: Mills that use certain types of medications and antibiotics in feed products are required to hold a medicated feed license with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA contracts with DATCP to inspect these mills. EES’s inspected seven of these mills in 2013. FDA also contracted with the department to inspect feed manufacturers for compliance with 21 CFR 589.2000, which prohibits animal proteins from use in ruminant feeds. This federal regulation is commonly known as the Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) feed ban. In 2013, EES’s completed 160 contract inspections. No violations or issues of concerns were noted.
Feed Investigations: EES’s also followed up on feed complaints and initiated investigations based on initial information collected during inspections. Complaints may originate from the Wisconsin Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory (WVDL), the Division of Animal Health (within DATCP) or from University of Wisconsin Extension Agents, but typically they come from private practice veterinarians and consumers. Generally, feed complaints are related to animal illness or death, potentially related to feed or feed products. In 2013, eight complaints resulted in full feed investigations. Of these investigations, one resulted in the issuance of a warning notice, one resulted in the issuance of a letter of concern, one resulted in enforcement action, and five lacked sufficient evidence to demonstrate an adulterated feed source.
Toxic Response: The commercial feed specialist serves as DATCP’s coordinator for toxic response investigations. These cases involve illness or death of primarily food producing animals from unknown causes. Toxic response cases may also result if significant non-food producing animal deaths occur. In 2013, there were no toxic response activities.
Homeland Security & Emergency Response Planning: Feed program staff work with other department personnel to implement, and keep current, response plans to protect the state’s animal industries from potential bio-terrorist attacks, radiological releases, natural disasters and foreign animal disease outbreaks. This includes involvement with the multi-state partnership for Security in Agriculture, Association of American Feed Control Officials.
Certificates of Free Sale: A feed export certificate of free sale is required when feed products are exported overseas. The Division of Agricultural Resource Management provides notarized certificates of free sale for feed products, including livestock feeds, pet foods, feed additives and feed ingredients. In 2013, the Agrichemical Management Bureau reviewed 305 certificates of free sale in the feed program. The review includes ensuring the company is currently licensed, located in Wisconsin and in good standing with DATCP. In addition, we ensure that all feed product labels listed on the certificate are in compliance with state and federal feed regulations.
Five Most Common Feed Program Violations
- Failure to provide adequate labeling to end user
- Distribution of a commercial feed with labeling that is false, deceptive, or misleading
- Manufacturing, processing, packaging, storing, or distributing commercial feed in a way that does not prevent adulteration or misbranding
- Failure to establish and maintain procedures for identifying, storing, and controlling inventories of Type A medicated articles and Type B medicated feeds used in manufacturing medicated feeds
- Failure to maintain records of manufactured medicated commercial feed or dog or cat food
Direction for the Coming Year
FDA Food Safety Modernization Act: In January 2011, the federal Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into law. The purpose of FSMA is to prevent food-borne illness outbreaks. The FSMA includes new FDA authorities, new FDA responsibilities and activities, new food import requirements and an ambitious schedule for increased facility inspections. FDA issued draft FSMA regulations related to animal feed facilities in 2013. The draft rules were open for comment into 2014 with promulgation expected in 2015. The proposed FSMA regulations represent a significant change from current regulatory expectations for industry. It is not known what the final regulations will include and how the final rules will be implemented. This continues to be a priority issue being monitored by the department’s feed program.
Feed Tonnage working group: Bureau and program staff began working with industry in 2013 on revision of the feed tonnage reporting forms. Staff will be meeting with industry individually and at association meetings to receive comments and input on how to improve the tonnage reporting process and forms. The department expects to finalize revisions for implementation in the 2015 license renewal process.
Staffing Changes: During 2013, a significant staffing change occurred in the feed program with departure of the Section Chief, Feed Specialist and the licensing associate. The positions have all been recruited and filled in early 2014. It is anticipated that program managers and staff will be focusing time and resources on training and learning the industry in 2014.
For more information about the feed program you may email the department.