What is AAFCO
Date Published: 2019-04-28
Date Updated: 2019-04-28
AAFCO stands for The Association of American Feed Control Officials, and many pet owners and stores believe that the organization is responsible for approving pets’ food; that’s not necessarily the case.
Learn a little bit about the AAFCO below and see what facts are real and what ones are not.
For Starters, the AAFCO Does Not Approve Pets’ Food
The AAFCO is not responsible for the food regulations; instead, the FDA is.
The FDA monitors all manufacturers to make sure their names are on the labels. The organization also ensures customers that the labels they are reading are not misleading. They do occasionally visit pet food processing plants for inspections, too.
AAFCO is a Voluntary-Based Organization
Most of the people involved in this organization are regulatory officials responsible for enforcing laws concerning the safety of animal food; all of the people involved are volunteers. These volunteers are typically involved in the manufacturing process or are ingredient suppliers.
None of these people perform testing on the animals’ food products.
Protection is the AAFCO’s Primary Goal
The AAFCO finds that labeling all products is an efficient method of ensuring the customer that they are purchasing safe food for their pets. Ingredient and nutritional requirements are also present on each food label per the AAFCO’s guidelines. If a specific manufacturer is trying to claim that their food products are ‘nutritionally complete,’ they must meet all of the AAFCO’s requirements.
The AAFCO puts together nutrient profiles for all customers to take a look at before purchasing food. These nutrient profiles list minimum and maximum levels of intake for protein, fat, vitamin and mineral contents for dogs’ food. This information will help you determine what brand is best for your dog.
AAFCO Regulates Ingredients on Labels
AAFCO does everything in their power to ensure customers feel comfortable purchasing food products for their dogs. They do this by listing all the ingredients present in the food recipe, starting with the element that is present most.
Keep in mind, this labeling of ingredients can get somewhat confusing. For instance, if there is protein present in the recipe, the AAFCO may divide the percentages by labeling meat digest, bone meal, fat meal, etc. If you have questions regarding the labeling, you are welcome to call the AAFCO or visit your local veterinarian directly.
AAFCO Helps with Feeding Trials
AAFCO takes their responsibility one step further by establishing protocols for feeding trials in dog foods and products. Generally speaking, each trial requires eight dog participants participating in at least a twenty-six-week trial. The trials only allow dogs that single food source for the twenty weeks, along with fresh water.
All in all, the AAFCO does not approve pets’ food, they just do everything they possibly can to help customers understand all the necessary information they need to know before purchasing food products for their dogs. This organization has your back, and they are known to be a legitimate source.