The Pet Food Committee was Day Three – and another fun day it was.

During the Pet Food Committee session (last session of the event) we again discussed the long awaited updated nutrient profiles for cats and dogs. And again there is a hold on the updated nutrient profiles. The hold was because there was not established a “delayed implementation” process for manufacturers (in other words a statement to allow them probably years to implement the new nutrient profiles in their pet foods). Dr. Chavez (Just Food for Dogs) stood up and asked AAFCO to please move this process along – he shared veterinarians have been waiting for these updated nutritional profiles for seven years. The committee told him/everyone – they take their time with this because they want “everybody to be happy”. But actually – the only people ‘happy’ about a delay in updated nutrient profiles are manufacturers who have to change their formulas (cost them money) to abide by new regulations.

Most of this meeting was actually just going over old business – discussing the new AAFCO website – and then we got to touch on tartar claims for treats and foods. AAFCO said they wanted to update the regulations to make sure these products didn’t mislead the consumer. No one besides AAFCO representatives had seen a preview of the new tartar claims they were presenting us (typically AAFCO will release a preview of material to be discussed to committee members prior to meeting). Everything read good (can’t quote it for you because they did not provide us with the copy) except – and this is a big except – a section of the proposed regulations would state “enforcement would be a low priority”.

When it was asked if anyone had any statement to share – I told the committee that statement – “enforcement would be a low priority” is an open door to manufacturers to continue to mislead consumers. It felt like an eternity – not a sole responded – cricket, cricket, cricket. And then the committee chair asked “Can you explain?” (Are you kidding me?) Me: Yes – this statement is telling industry here are the rules but don’t worry we are not going to enforce them because “enforcement would be a low priority” – say what ever you want about your tartar claims. They insisted this was not their intent. I shared – then remove the line about ‘enforcement being low priority’. They looked at me dumbfounded. I returned the look.

It is difficult enough to deal with these types of potential regulations, but it magnifies the problem ten fold when authorities honestly can’t see the concern for consumers. They have ignored the best interests of pets and pet food consumers for so long, they honestly believe what they are doing IS in the best interest of consumers. It is dumbfounding.

The issue got ‘tabled’ which means lucky us it will be discussed again at the next meeting in January. More fun to look forward to.

And speaking of fun…much to my surprise, the Pet Food Committee chair (Jan Jarmon) told the crowd that “Susan Thixton and Jean Hofve have let us know AAFCO needs to do more to connect with consumers.” So she asked if anyone knew of any other consumer groups AAFCO can “invite” to participate in the process. So…are there any consumer groups out there who want to experience pet food regulatory fun twice a year? AAFCO says they want you.

It is an honor for me to represent you – but I’m REALLY looking forward to being home with my family (two and four legged!). Give me a few days to recover – and then we’ve got some big planning to do! Thanks to all of you for your words of support! And thank you to Jersey Jackson for your friendship and support here in Sacramento!


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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