Pet Food Labeling

Veterinarian clarifies natural, organic petfood label terms

Veterinarian urges consumers to read petfood labels when choosing a food
Petfood ingredient labels can be confusing to pet owners because certain terms have no legal definition. Ernest Ward, veterinarian and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, says pet owners need to do their research when selecting what to feed their dog or cat. Ward says there is no official definition for the term "natural," which could mean anything that is not syntheic, but does not guarantee the product's quality or nutritional value.
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AAFCO votes on specialty petfood labels

During the AAFCO annual meeting, members also approved a change in the L-carnitine ingredient definition
The 102nd Annual Convention of the Association of American Feed Control Officials was held July 30 to August 1, 2011, in Austin, Texas, USA. There were some, but not very many, items directly affecting petfood. Since the AAFCO recently changed its procedures so the membership now votes at both the annual and midyear meetings, the number of items up for consideration in the general session seemed fewer this year than at annual meetings past.
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Clean labels provide transparency for pet owners

Help consumers understand what is in your products with the clearest communication possible
As consumers have made it clear that they trust what they understand and perceive to be fresh, "real" ingredients, and as they demand the right to know what is in the foods they eat, should it come as a surprise that those same consumers are now insisting on the same right for the foods they feed their pets? The focus on a clear brand message and using language consumers clearly understand is growing and not going away, according to Lynn Dornblaser of Mintel.  
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Bringing a new petfood concept to market

Innovative companies take an idea and add to it, managing the inevitable balancing act among competing interests, requirements and realities
Where do new product ideas come from in the petfood industry? Do they only come from marketing or sales? In my experience, some of the fastest growing new products or brands have come from single entrepreneurs as well as large multifunctional groups.
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New AAFCO website to help small petfood manufacturers

‘The Business of Pet Food’ was designed for smaller producers who have limited understanding of state and federal regulatory requirements
In the September 2010 issue of Petfood Industry, I briefly reported on the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ intent to launch a website designed particularly to help small manufacturers understand and comply with labeling and other state and federal regulatory requirements. The preview of the site at last year’s annual meeting met with tremendous applause from the audience.
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FEDIAF issues draft on communication for petfood

European petfood federation expects draft code on communcation on petfood to consumers will be adopted by EU commission
European Union Regulation 767/2009 on placing on the market and use of animal feeds sets out basic rules for the way information about petfood should be provided to the consumer. Common principles set out in this legislation are that information communicated about products must be truthful, objective and quantifiable, and it must also not mislead or deceive customers.
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Veterinary groups offer pet nutritional assessment guidelines

Nutrition has been recognized by both groups as a critical component of overall pet care
Both the American Animal Hospital Association and World Small Animal Veterinary Association have recently published guidelines for the nutritional assessment of pets as part of routine physical examinations. The role of nutrition in animal health has long been a very important but often underutilized component of veterinary medicine.
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Something to Chew On: Fighting pet obesity

Information such as calorie contents and feeding directions using common measurements could be an important weapon
The fourth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention ( shows more than 50% of US dogs and cats are now overweight or obese. Specifically, the survey highlights these preliminary data.
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What’s in a name? New and proposed petfood ingredients

During its last meeting, AAFCO took action on a number of new and proposed ingredients
Despite the expectation that the Food and Drug Administration will phase out its participation in the Association of American Feed Control Officials feed ingredient definition process by 2012, there are still many ingredients in the definition pipeline. During its “mid-year” meeting in January, AAFCO took action on a number of new and proposed ingredients, at least a few of which have impact on petfoods.
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US petfood labeling update

AAFCO has proposed requiring calorie content to be included on labels, plus changes to labels of specialty petfoods
In the US, petfood labeling is stipulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food. The models are constantly evolving, with often at least an amendment or two every year.
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