After a couple of years of discussion and planning, the
Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), along
with the Pet Food Institute (PFI), held a petfood regulatory
workshop in early August, the day before AAFCO's Annual Meeting
in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. The intent was to educate both
regulators and industry professionals about the AAFCO Model
Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food (also known as
Model Pet Food Regulations).
The areas targeted for explanation included:
By all accounts, the workshop appears to have been
successful in meeting its goals.
Why a workshop?
While certainly more user-friendly than the Code of Federal
Regulations by which the US Food and Drug Administration
operates, the AAFCO Model Pet Food Regulations that many states
have chosen to adopt as part of their own state rules can at
times be difficult to understand and apply. During the 1990s, a
major petfood company facilitated a series of regulatory
workshops to assist state feed control officials and others in
better understanding the rules.
However, that series ended a number of years ago, so for the
bulk of this decade, a similar resource has not been available.
As many new people have since joined state regulatory offices
or petfood companies, quite a few of those involved in
regulation today have not had an opportunity to participate in
such a venue.
But the workshop was not just for the new folks. Since the
AAFCO rules seem to be amended almost every year, it can be a
struggle for both regulators and industry to keep up to date.
Thus, everyone attending, among whom I would include the
presenters themselves, most likely came out of the meeting with
at least some new information or a new insight on an old
Content still relevant today
The workshop started with some overviews of AAFCO, how
products are regulated and an inside look at how petfoods are
developed and manufactured. I especially enjoyed the discussion
on the history of the Model Pet Food Regulations and how issues
that affected the industry in the 1960s are still relevant in
today's regulatory environment.
The bulk of the workshop was a breakdown of the Model Pet
Food Regulations themselves. In general the discussion followed
the format of the AAFCO Pet Food Regulations Label Review
Checklist as found in the
AAFCO Official Publication
AAFCO Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food Labeling Guide
. (In fact, having copies of both of these publications was a
requisite for participating in the workshop.)
Most of the individual topicsfor example, product name,
guaranteed analysis, feeding directionswere presented by pairs
of speakers, one from the government and one from industry.
Many pairs chose to present the information via a dialogue
between the two, with the industry person asking questions and
the regulator offering sage responses. While the presenters
perhaps did not quite reach the level of a George Burns and
Gracie Allen comedy routine, that style of presentation proved
enjoyable to the audience and hopefully facilitated the
A few topics merited discussion in this venue but didn't
fall under the checklist format. Near the end of the workshop,
I offered a brief discussion of issues specifically pertaining
to specialty pet foods, nutritional supplements, treats and
chews. Another presenter spoke on issues related to products
that do not easily fall within AAFCO's purview, such as herbal
supplements and other similarly marketed products.
What if you missed it?
Unfortunately, the workshop was not video or audio recorded.
Reportedly, the slide set used in the presentations will be
posted on both AAFCO's and PFI's websites.
regularly for updates.
Public meetings invited comments and provided updates
Committees discussed key proposals such as a possible shift in the oversight of animal feeds
The mid-year meeting addressed several regulatory matters affecting petfoods
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