Articles by David A. Dzanis, DVM, PhD, DACVN

Calorie content declarations on petfood labels: What’s the best method?

With new requirements for calorie content statements on the horizon, what’s the best method to determine ME?
As previously reported, recent amendments to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food will require calorie content statements on all dog and cat food labels within the next few years (the exact time frame for compliance is still to be determined). There currently are two AAFCO-accepted methods upon which to determine and report metabolizable energy (ME).
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AAFCO updates dog and cat feeding trial protocols

Changes have been made to clarify ambiguities and close loopholes.
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.
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Which petfood nutrient values should you follow?

When AAFCO, FEDIAF and NRC guidelines differ, it’s not always easy for petfood manufacturers to determine which recommendations to implement.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee accepted (with minor revision) the expert panel's recommendations to update the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles. The European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF) also revised its Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complementary Pet Food for Dogs and Cats in July 2012, and both organizations reportedly relied in part on recommendations from the National Research Council's (NRC) Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats, published in 2006. Yet, the three documents deviate in their stated nutrient values, sometimes to very significant degrees. Why? Where do they differ; who should the petfood manufacturer follow?
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New calorie regulations approved by Association of American Feed Control Officials

Group holds “mid-year” meeting, passes 95% Rule amendment and expands xanthan gum use
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) held its "mid-year" meeting January 22-24 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. By far the biggest news was the vote in the General Session to approve the proposed changes to AAFCO Model Regulation PF9 that would require calorie content statements on ALL (not just "lite" and "reduced calorie") dog and cat food labels. 
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Petfood predictions for 2013

Regulation amendments and labeling changes may be ahead in the new year.
What's ahead in the new year for petfoods? A number of issues, both at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Association of American Feed Control Officials(AAFCO) levels, seem to have lingered on for years. That's not terribly surprising, as by its nature the regulatory process is "deliberate" (i.e., "slow").
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AAFCO petfood ingredient definition process gets reprieve

Extension of an agreement with FDA means using the process for a few more years to get new petfood ingredients approved
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) recently announced an extension of its memorandum of understanding with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the AAFCO process for establishing feed ingredient definitions (including for petfood) through September 1, 2015. The announcement came as a bit of a surprise.
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No GMO labeling required for petfoods (yet)

While Prop #37 failed to pass in California this time around, the concept of such label disclosure is not likely to go away
For readers outside of California who do not follow state election issues, there was an initiative on the November 6th ballot that, if passed, would have had profound effects on petfood labeling nationwide. The “California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act,” better known as Prop #37, enjoyed an early lead in the polls with over 70% of the state population supporting the measure. However, a reported $45.6 million negative campaign apparently swayed voters otherwise, so in the end it lost with approximately 47% in favor and 53% opposed (at last count).
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FDA proposes guidelines for therapeutic petfoods

After decades of informal Food and Drug Administration policies for the marketing of these petfoods, the agency has now proposed formal guidance
The concept of using diet in the management of disease in dogs and cats can be traced back to the 1940s, when Mark Morris Sr., DVM, first marketed a restricted protein product for the feeding of dogs with chronic kidney disease. Since that time, therapeutic petfoods (also known as veterinary medical foods) have shown themselves to be a vital component of the veterinary practitioner’s arsenal for managing a number of medical conditions.
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Big petfood changes to come at next AAFCO meeting?

In January, full membership will likely vote on requiring calorie content statements, while committees will review nutrient profile changes and civil penalties
From calories on petfood labels to potential changes to proof of nutritional adequacy to carbohydrate guarantees, the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) annual meeting, August 3–6 in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA, included a number of petfood-related items in various stages of review and approval.
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Food technologists offer insights for petfood, too

Though the Institute of Food Technologists focuses on foods for human consumption, the organization has interest in the unique issues involving petfood
While the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) focuses mainly on the human food industry, many of the organization’s initiatives, including its annual meeting, are applicable to petfood as well. In fact, when I attended IFT’s 2012 Annual Meeting & Food Expo June 25-28 in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, to speak about petfood regulations, I ran into several people from the petfood industry who have been IFT members for years.
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