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Pet Food Regulations / Pet Food Labeling
on March 10, 2017

US pet food regulatory labeling issues in the spotlight

AAFCO has resolved a number of pet food labeling issues, while others near completion and still others are on the horizon.

There has been a whirlwind of changes to United States pet food labeling requirements in the recent past, with more to come soon as well as further down the road. Most of these changes stem from actions by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Add to that all the new processing, record-keeping and other requirements being implemented under the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act, and it's easy to see how the pet food regulatory professional is keeping busy.

"Resolved" issues: what the pet food industry needs to know about compliance

After years of deliberation, a number of important amendments to the rules have been settled, so the job now is for pet food manufacturers to incorporate the required changes into their labeling. The revisions to the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles became effective in January 2016. All new products must now be compliant, but products on the market prior to January 2016 must bear revised labeling by January 2018. Among the biggest changes (for dog foods, anyway) is the need to differentiate products based on maximum calcium content. Those products intended for "all life stages" or "growth" must specify whether it expressly includes or excludes suitability for large-breed puppies. For both dog and cat foods, the new profiles also change how specific fatty acids, such as DHA, appear in the guaranteed analysis.

Also, the grace period for enforcement of the amended AAFCO calorie content statement regulations has now expired. All pet…

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