AAFCO urges additional research on animal food hemp products
Using these products before extensive studies and legal approval processes can negatively impact ranchers’ access to markets, animal health, and ultimately, human health.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has proposed a position paper and call to action on hemp and its byproducts—including whole hemp plants, hemp seed oil, CBD, and other cannabinoids—in livestock feed and pet food. It is urging the hemp and feed industries to continue studying these as nutritional ingredients to gather information on the products' safety and efficacy.
According to an organizational release, AAFCO can use this data to formally define the various ingredients and offer standards for safe pet and livestock feed when this process is finished.
"We understand the hemp industry is eager to enter the animal food market, but we are concerned that not enough research has been completed on these products. That's why we are urging the hemp industry to conduct appropriate research and submit their results to us for review as a normal step in our ingredient approval process,” said Susan M. Hays, AAFCO executive director, in the release.
Although the 2018 Farm Bill legalized growing hemp, any feed ingredient—including hemp products—is under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As research is required to identify the levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and other cannabinoids in hemp and what effects the content will have on the intended uses and species, it is not yet determined if hemp products are safe to feed to all animal species.
"Allowing hemp byproducts to be used for animal nutrition before rigorous research and legal approval processes have been completed could have adverse impacts on ranchers' access to markets, on animal health, and ultimately on human health when hemp-fed animal products enter the human food chain," Hays stressed.
Supporters of hemp in feed have recently concentrated on passing state legislation to enable in-state use of hemp as a feed ingredient, but it is lacking national approval based on a comprehensive scientific review of its safety.
According to the release, AAFCO is concerned that welcoming hemp products to market through a state-by-state basis of laws, without detailed research and a formal review process, will result in inconsistent manufacturing methods, unsupported marketing claims nationwide, and restriction of interstate and international markets.
AAFCO urges lawmakers to collaborate with key stakeholders including the FDA, United States Department of Agriculture, the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, livestock and dairy associations, consumer advocacy groups, and AAFCO itself within the formal process for review and approval of hemp and its byproducts regarding animal nutrition. AAFCO can help lead hemp producers through the submission and review process.
To learn more about AAFCO's Hemp and Hemp Byproducts in Animal Food position paper, go here.
AAFCO calls for hemp industry action on hemp products in animal food. News release. September 20, 2021; Association of American Feed Control. Accessed September 21, 2021. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/aafco-calls-for-hemp-industry-action-on-hemp-products-in-animal-food-301380249.html