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Pet Food Regulations / Pet Food Labeling
On November 9, 2016

Is it time to ‘modernize’ pet food labels?

A newly formed group indicates the potential for changes down the line.

The current format of pet food labels in the United States has been around for many decades. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee was first convened in the 1960s, after which the basic labeling requirements took shape. Yes, there have been many updates and additions to these requirements over the years, but essentially, the fundamental layout that all pet foods must follow today has remained intact.

Some believe this format can be improved in order to make it easier for the purchaser to read and understand the information presented on the label. With that in mind, AAFCO formed the Pet Food Labeling Modernization Working Group in August 2016 to consider proposals for change and make recommendations back to the Pet Food Committee. The working group is still in its initial stages of discussion, so there is nothing much on which to report at this juncture. However, it is an interesting exercise to ponder the possibilities. 

Potential impact of the Pet Food Labeling Modernization Working Group

One aspect that may be impacted is the guaranteed analysis. Some have looked at the Nutrition Facts box (as required on human food labels under the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990 and more recently updated) as a source of inspiration. The regulation promulgated under the Act prescribes a very precise format for declaring nutrient content in a clearly delineated, easily identified section on the label. Many of the specific requirements are not directly transferable to pet foods, as…

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