Not much news to report to everyone from day one at the summer 2013 AAFCO meetings. Here’s what happened…
It was nice not having to travel to this AAFCO meeting – it is being held near home, in St. Petersburg, FL. The meetings are being held at the Tradewinds Resort on St. Pete Beach. The very first AAFCO meeting I attended was at this same location (a few years ago), so I was somewhat familiar with where to go.
The opening session always proves interesting with roll call. It starts with each state being announced and any Department of Agriculture representative from that state is to stand, state their name and department. It sounded like more states were represented this year than in years past (though not confirmed). Canada had three representatives of their food safety system in attendance, no other country was represented.
And then there begins the long…very long list of industry and lobby organizations in attendance. The companies that had most in attendance were Mars Petcare (including representatives from Nutro) and Purina. I was the only consumer representative (though Dr. Hofve will be joining the meetings today – Tuesday).
A representative from Purina and Hill’s Science Diet gave a brief presentation requesting the registration process for pet food manufacturers be made more uniform between the states. Each pet food manufacturer must register their company or their products in each state they sell in. Some states require each product to be registered individually, some state charge fees per each pet food product, some states charge fees for estimated ton(s) of product sold in their state, and other states charge no fees at all. Each state requires different information with registration. It was left that a ‘working group’ would be formed to determine if a more universal registration process could be developed.
One suggestion I have for this working group (which will be submitted after the meeting) is with all registrations – each manufacturer provide a complete list of ingredient suppliers along with contact information for each supplier. Should a particular ingredient be the source of a contaminated pet food – prompt action can only take place if information is documented nationwide which pet foods source ingredients from that same supplier.
And we finally have a deadline for calorie statements on all pet food labels. The ‘model bill’ for calorie statements will be listed in the 2014 AAFCO Official Publication. At that point, individual states will begin implementing the model bill into law – and then we will begin to see all pet food labels with calorie statements.
More news soon. The Tuesday meetings are the significant ones for pet food.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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