Press Releases

Hickenlooper, Bennet, Bipartisan Group Call on FDA to Support Farmers’ Goals of Reducing Enteric Methane Emissions

Dec 9, 2022

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet joined U.S. Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and a bipartisan group of colleagues in a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) encouraging the agency to review the role that animal feed additives can play in helping farmers reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) from the agriculture industry.

“We write to you today regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s role in achieving President Biden’s goal of halving economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 in order to reach net zero by 2050,” said the senators. “Meeting these targets will require innovation and coordination with industry from every federal agency, and the FDA is uniquely positioned to provide climate solutions to the agriculture industry in reducing enteric methane emissions.”

In their letter, the senators note that the FDA has not yet approved any feed additives to achieve this goal despite the potential for these products to provide farmers with additional tools to reduce a large share of the GHG footprint of their farms and ranches and level the playing field with their international competitors.

“Enteric methane emissions are currently being addressed by our agricultural competitors in the European Union and Brazil through feed additives, but farmers in the U.S. do not have this option,” continued the senators. “Feed additives aimed at reducing enteric methane emissions would give farmers another tool to reduce a large share of their GHG footprint and create a level playing field with their European and Brazilian competitors as they work towards their sustainability goals. We encourage the FDA to review the role that animal feed additives approved by CVM are poised to play in helping achieve these goals, and we appreciate your attention to this important issue.”

In addition to Hickenlooper, Bennet, Moran, and Baldwin, the letter was signed by U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Susan Collins (R-Maine.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.).

The full text of the letter is available HERE and below.                                         

Dear Dr. Califf:                                              

We write to you today regarding the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) role in achieving President Biden’s goal of halving economy-wide greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by 2030 in order to reach net zero by 2050. Meeting these targets will require innovation and coordination with industry from every federal agency, and the FDA is uniquely positioned to provide climate solutions to the agriculture industry in reducing enteric methane emissions.

Both the dairy and cattle industries have committed to reducing the climate impact of their farming operations over the next 20-30 years. To meet their commitments, farmers are subscribing to conventional climate and land management programs offered by the United States Department of Agriculture. However, these programs do not address the nearly one third of operations’ emissions resulting from enteric methane. Enteric methane emissions are currently being addressed by our agricultural competitors in the European Union and Brazil through feed additives, but farmers in the U.S. do not have this option.                                           

The FDA has not yet approved any feed additives to meet this need, in part due to agency’s initial discretionary decision to regulate some potential feed ingredients within the animal drug process instead of the food additives process. Though both the animal drug and the Food Additive Petition (FAP) processes must demonstrate product efficacy and safety in human and animal reviews, the FAP route can be completed in 2-3 years, where the drug route can be completed in 8-10 years. Furthermore, if products are regulated as foods, they should be authorized and explicitly approved by FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).     

Feed additives aimed at reducing enteric methane emissions would give farmers another tool to reduce a large share of their GHG footprint and create a level playing field with their European and Brazilian competitors as they work towards their sustainability goals. We encourage the FDA to review the role that animal feed additives approved by CVM are poised to play in helping achieve these goals, and we appreciate your attention to this important issue. 

Sincerely,

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