When I arrived at the hotel, the front desk told me I had a message from AAFCO President Robert Waltz; he wanted to speak to me tomorrow morning. I ran into him in the hallway – he wanted to know how the experience of being on a sub-comittee was. At the January 2012 meeting, myself and Dr. Hofve volunteered to be on a sub-committee to help develop the definitions to pet food ingredients rabbit meal, and venison. Turns out, my first experience on a sub-committee wasn’t much.
After the January AAFCO meeting, I was happy and excited that consumers would have a voice in developing new pet food ingredient definitions. Shortly after I got home in January, I emailed the AAFCO director of this sub-committee Neil Lanning asking what I could do to help…get things rolling. I was told – do nothing. Just wait.
About a month later, still anxious to be involved, I emailed Neil Lanning again. ‘What can I do?’ ‘Nothing – just wait.’
So…I did as I was asked. Nothing. Doing nothing wasn’t my idea of a good time – wasn’t what I wanted – and wasn’t the best representation of pet owners.
Fast forward to yesterday – first day of the AAFCO meeting. President Robert Waltz asks me ‘how was your experience being on the sub-committee?’ I shared my experience with him (nothing) and then asked if ingredient definitions were submitted. Yes – as a matter of fact they were. Without involvement of me or Dr. Hofve – the only 2 consumer representatives.
Guess who else is on this ingredient definition sub-committee? Two representatives of the Pet Food Institute. Guess who submitted the ingredient definitions? The Pet Food Insitute…industry representatives.
When I was told to do nothing – this was my exact concern. Dr. Jean and I would be blindsided at this meeting. Turns out my concern was legitimate. As it turns out, we will have no preparation time to provide input on these ingredient definitions. This doesn’t mean the PFI ingredient definitions will pass, but it will certainly delay things.
I told AAFCO President Robert Waltz that this whole situation tells me AAFCO listens to industry but isn’t listening to consumer representatives. He apologized and I believe completely he meant it. Perhaps it is just that AAFCO isn’t used to working with consumer representatives as they are industry representatives. I learned that next time, I won’t do as I’m told – I won’t just wait.
Today will be the Pet Food Committee Meeting and the Ingredient Definitions Committee Meeting. More updates soon.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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