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

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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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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Petfood ingredient definitions: a new role for AAFCO?

If FDA decides not to continue with the current feed ingredient definition process, could AAFCO become a standard-setting body?
A memorandum of understanding between the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the US Food and Drug Administration pertaining to the former’s feed ingredient definition process is due to expire in September 2012. FDA has indicated it does not intend to continue its participation in the process when the agreement expires.
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Calorie statements on petfood labels move forward

A report from the AAFCO Pet Food Committee’s recent deliberations.
During the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ “mid-year” meeting January 17–19, 2012, in Reno, Nevada, USA, the agenda for the Pet Food Committee was relatively light, with no new items up for discussion. Yet one piece of old business held court. It was the amendment to AAFCO Model Regulation PF9, which would in part require a calorie content statement on all dog and cat food labels (currently it is only mandatory on “lite” and “less calories” product labels).  
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Petfood innovation: marketing vs. regulatory

In a competitive marketplace, products need innovative ingredients that are marketed to consumers—but in a way that complies with regulations.
While the marketing, R&D and regulatory departments within a petfood company share a common goal—to contribute to the success of the company—the respective functions of the first two departments compared to the last often appear diametrically opposed. In a competitive marketplace, the need to distinguish your products from others is a major key to success.
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How do you solve a problem like glucosamine in petfood?

With apologies to The Sound of Music — confusion over including glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate in petfoods still rages.
Glucosamine hydrochloride and chondroitin sulfate have been ingredients in petfoods for most of the last 20 years. However, neither ingredient ever has been formally approved or otherwise sanctioned for that purpose. This should not stop interested states from meeting and agreeing to uniform labeling requirements.
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