on April 11, 2013

AAFCO updates dog and cat feeding trial protocols

Changes have been made to clarify ambiguities and close loopholes.

["The recent revisions are not extreme or extensive.", "The biggest change is the added requirement to substantiate continued validity of a protocol-tested diet."]

As discussed in last month's column, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee accepted recommendations from the expert panel (with minor amendments) for revision to the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles at its January 2013 meeting in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. At the same meeting, the committee also accepted recommended revisions to the dog and cat feeding trial protocols, which may be used as an alternative means to substantiate the nutritional adequacy of "complete and balanced" petfoods.

These changes to the protocols are still provisional, and must be approved by the board of directors and full AAFCO membership before they become official. However, assuming that is accomplished at the AAFCO annual meeting in August, the new protocols will appear in the 2014 AAFCO Official Publication.

The AAFCO dog and cat  feeding trial protocols were last revised in 1996. Except for new requirements regarding substantiation of continued validity of a protocol-tested product (discussed below), the recent revisions are not extreme or extensive. Beyond an editorial change in the outline format, a number of the changes are made to clarify ambiguities and/or close potential loopholes. For example, the current protocols read "daily food consumption may be measured and recorded." While considered a prudent thing to do in any sound feeding trial, it previously was not made mandatory since the data were…

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