montage of feed including corn kernels, feed barn & silo, mill & railcar, and wheat

Feed and Feed Ingredients

Safe Animal Feed Education Program

Every ingredient which is incorporated into a mixed feed, formula feed, supplement, or otherwise fed to animals must be safe and suitable for the intended species of animal as well as the human food products which are derived from those animals. This webpage provides educational and regulatory resources regarding feed and feed ingredients for use in commercial feed in California. It is important to review available resources and ensure an ingredient is safe and approved for use prior to sale or incorporation into a commercial feed, even for research purposes. To ensure all ingredients are safe for use in the animals as well as meat, milk, and eggs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provides oversight and approval of every feed ingredient, food additive, and animal drug.

Find resources and lists of approved feed ingredients, food additives, animal drugs for use in medicated feed, and registered California livestock drugs in the "Feed Ingredient Lists" sidebar on this page.

New, Novel, and Unapproved Feed Ingredients

There are several pathways in which a feed ingredient, food additive, or animal drug become approved for use in animal feed.

Association of America Feed Control Officials

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an independent organization that has been guiding state, federal, and international feed regulators with ingredient definitions, label standards, and laboratory standards for more than 110 years, while supporting the health and safety of people and animals. AAFCO operates under a Memorandum of Understanding with the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). AAFCO publishes the Official Publication (OP) annually, which includes AAFCO ingredient definitions, FDA approved food additives which are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), substances listed in the FDA Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Inventory for animal food, and other common names and definitions. The OP can be purchased hard copy, or electronic access.

Simple feed ingredients which have publicly available data regarding their safety in animal feed may be able to utilize the AAFCO ingredient definition submission process to become a defined feed definition. Learn more about the AAFCO ingredient submission process with the following resources:

Guide to Submitting Ingredient Definitions to AAFCO

Ingredient Definition Process Flow Chart

Comprehensive Animal Feed Ingredient Submission Course

All approved food additives are listed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 573, and after published in the CFR are also published in the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Official Publication. The term food additive is defined in the Food, Drug and Cosmetics (FD&C) Act (section 201(s)) as any substance that directly or indirectly becomes a component of a food or that affects a food's characteristics. Food additives must be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prior to their use in foods and after approval, they must be used in accordance with a specific food additive regulation.

Feed ingredients or food additives which do not have a transparent publicly available safety status should use the Food Additive Petition (FAP) process with FDA to demonstrate the additive is safe for use in animal food. Learn more at FDA's website:

FDA Food Additive Petitions

CVM GFI #221 Recommendations for Preparation and Submission of Animal Food Additive Petitions

CVM GFI #262 Pre-Submission Consultation Process for Animal Food Additive Petitions or Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) Notices

Under sections 201(s) and 409 of the FD&C Act any substance that is intentionally added to food is subject to premarket review and approval by FDA, unless the substance is generally recognized, among qualified experts, as having been adequately shown to be safe under the conditions of its intended use. A food additive may be GRAS either through scientific procedures or, for a substance used in food before 1958, through experience based on common use in food. It is important to note that GRAS for humans is NOT GRAS for animals. GRAS notices are specific to a certain species and intended use.

Feed ingredients which have transparent publicly available safety status may be GRAS. Learn more at FDA's website:

GRAS Program

How to Submit a GRAS Notice to CVM

Some substances used in animal food are defined as drugs when they are accompanied by claims other than providing nutrition. "Drug claims" include being intended for use in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease in animals and being intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of animals. Animal drugs will not be able to be approved through the FAP, AAFCO, or GRAS pathways. Learn more about new animal drugs and the application process on FDA's website:

New Animal Drug Applications

"Livestock drug" means any drug, combination of drugs, proprietary medicine, or combination of drugs and other ingredients which is prepared for administration to livestock orally, hypodermically, topically, or otherwise. "Livestock" includes all animals, poultry, and bees, and aquatic and amphibian species which are raised, kept, or used for profit. It does not include those species which are usually kept as pets, such as dogs, cats, and pet birds. All livestock drugs must be registered with the CDFA Livestock Drug Program in order to be sold in California.

If a demonstration feeding trial intends to have egg, milk, or meat products from the livestock consuming the feed additive enter the human food chain, the recipient must comply with all federal and state food and feed safety laws. If a feed additive or drug provided to livestock is not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by means of a Food Use Authorization or formal approval from FDA, CDFA, or feed ingredient definition from the Association of America Feed Control Officials, the recipient must provide proof the egg, milk, and meat from livestock in the trial did not enter the human food chain. Contact CDFA's Inspection Services Division, Safety Animal Feed Education Program at for more information about the proper labeling and use of feed products.

Annual Feed Reports

Each year SAFE analyzes and publishes data from Commercial Feed Regulatory Program (CFRP) routine feed sampling. Find annual mycotoxin reports, tonnage reports, and sampling reports in the panel "Annual Reporting" sidebar on this page. A preliminary report of mycotoxin analyses of whole corn received by rail in the fall and winter is published in the quarterly newsletter to provide an early insight to mycotoxin levels in the new crop year. A full mycotoxin report is published later in the year which includes other commodities and feeds that were sampled by CFRP and analyzed during the year. The annual sample report shows CFRP sample numbers, types of feed sampled, and types of violations received. The annual tonnage report shows tonnage of commercial feed reported the program.