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

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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New information on dog and cat nutrition revealed

Annual American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition symposium emphasizes research on pet obesity, other areas affecting the petfood industry
Implications for pet obesity and metabolism from the neurobiology of energy and protein intake highlighted the keynote address at the American Academy of Veterinary Nutrition (AAVN)’s 12th Annual Clinical Nutrition and Research Symposium on May 30, 2012, in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. This thought-provoking presentation also discussed such implications for humans and other animals, though the majority of the 30-plus oral and poster presentations were on various facets of dog, cat and horse nutrition.
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Chicken jerky pet treats: the new melamine?

Are chicken jerky pet treats from China being falsely maligned, or is this the biggest petfood safety issue since 2007?
Are chicken jerky pet treats falsely maligned or the new melamine? To be frank, I do not know the answer. I am not privy to any of the details regarding reported incidences of harm to dogs from consumption of chicken jerky manufactured in China or to any test results or other investigative findings; hence I do not have a sufficient basis to make a determination.
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Dzanis-pet-tortoise-1205PETinsight

Feeding tortoises imparts lessons about petfood

Learning how to feed sulcata tortoises inspires reflection on how we feed more conventional pets, particularly dogs and cats
I’ve frequently mentioned my dogs and cats in writings and presentations, and many industry members have heard or read about my small chicken flock as well. However, fewer people know about my penchant for reptiles. I recently added to my collection of snakes, lizards and turtles by adopting three sulcata tortoises over the past year. What I’ve learned about feeding these guys has caused me to reflect on how we feed our more conventional pets, particularly dogs and cats.
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