FDA delays animal food rule

The Food and Drug Administration is delaying a rule that would establish new safety standards for animal food.

The FDA announced Friday it is extending the comment period on proposed sanitation standards for companies that manufacture, process and pack animal food to protect against contamination. 

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The Hill reported that the FDA was considering new rules for animal food safety last October. But the agency plans to give industry groups and other people who are interested more time to comment on the proposed regulations, according to a notice that will be published in Monday's Federal Register. The new deadline is March 31.

The proposed animal food safety standards stem from the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law in 2010 and calls for regulators to combat food-borne illnesses by preventing contamination rather than responding to it.

The FDA is extending the strategy to animal food. The new regulations would require producers of animal feed and pet food to establish procedures to combat outbreaks.

"The FDA is taking this action to provide greater assurance that animal food is safe and will not cause illness or injury to animals or humans," the agency wrote when it announced the rule