The 16th annual American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) Pet Food Conference (PFC) was held in conjunction with the 2023 International Production & Processing Expo. With more than 400 pet food professionals in attendance, this conference provided an opportunity to hear the latest news within the growing pet food and treats industry, as well as network with established experts and emerging professionals.
“Some of the biggest takeaways attendees took from the conference is the need to accurately sample for aflatoxins in order to control for them,” said Louise Calderwood, AFIA’s director of regulatory affairs. “We had a packed room the entire day and certainly learned a lot.”
The AFIA Pet Food Committee builds the PFC agenda every year on industry input and acknowledgement of the changing marketplace. This year’s conference discussed current pet food research and forward-looking issues, such as the impact of flavor on animal metabolism and mergers and acquisitions that are shaking up the industry, different approaches to sampling and controlling for aflatoxins and more. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration provided updates to attendees on what the agency has planned for regulating the pet food industry in the new year.
The AFIA also announced Steve Thomas, recently retired vice president of protein sales for Darling Ingredients, as the recipient of the third annual AFIA Friend of Pet Food Award in recognition of his work in sustainability and new product development.
Three graduate students also presented their new pet food research to the members, covering topics such as “The Link Between Soluble Fiber and Diet-Related Heart Failure in Beagles,” “The Role of Dried Brewer’s Yeast in Gastrointestinal Health and Immune Function of Dogs,” and “Amino Acid Digestibility and Protein Quality of Mealworm-based Ingredients Using the Precision-fed Cecectomized Rooster Assay.”