ASA Weighs in on Soy Ingredients to Armed Services Committees

Aug 29, 2019

ASA joined a group of 23 food and agriculture stakeholders in a letter asking Armed Services Committee leadership to allow public stakeholders to weigh in on food ingredient policy.

The House and Senate Armed Services Committees are working on the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 and the Senate version includes language regarding the formation of food ingredient policy at the Department of Defense (DOD). The group letter asks for the Conference Report to include the Senate language, which would establish a formal process through which public stakeholders would be permitted to provide input on the formation of food ingredient policy.

The provision stems from a 2017 announcement by the Department of Defense that several ingredients deemed safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) would be prohibited from food products used by DOD. These ingredients included Textured Vegetable Protein (TVP), Isolated Soybean Protein (ISP), Soy Protein Concentrate (SPC), and Vegetable Protein Product (VPP) when used as meat protein extenders.

The Department’s abrupt decision immediately reverberated through the food supply chain and made clear that a transparent, science-based process must be applied when the Department considers future ingredient limitations.

It is important that the DOD be required to provide public stakeholders the opportunity to comment in a manner much like in civilian regulatory agencies, such as the FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Public transparency would provide departmental leadership with useful information as it formulates ingredient-level subsistence policy and provide needed predictability and, for the food and agriculture supply chain, information from which to develop products to meet the evolving needs of the military.