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Final Notes AAFCO Summer 2016 Meeting

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  1. Jeri

    It seems surreal when I read that agencies and organizations are arguing over the definition of “food”. Just goes to show how determined they are to try to maintain their market for inedible “non food” stuff.

  2. Tom

    Thanks again for your tireless, frustrating but critical work for our pets. I’m sorry I didn’t know that you were in Pittsburgh or I’d have come to here your talk.

  3. Janie

    I mentioned once how “meaty” is a tricky term. I understand that word as something packed with a meat-like substance. Meaty also may be defined as having a lot of substance or the main point of something.

    The word meaty is sneaky because one would assume that that pet food contains meat. That’s a logical assumption so the other definitions are tossed out the window. If they are putting an ingredient that resembles meat then they are (unfortunately) being accurate in their written verbage. Coupled with images of real meat makes the term imply that it is truly meat.

  4. Tracey

    Only the US Gov could need to form a committee to figure out what “food” is. That’s again for your work on our behalf. You deserve a long vacation after each of those meetings!

    I do want to express that considering dogs and cats as pets (for the purpose of labeling) allows these companies to feed all our other pets unlabeled garbage. So they are saying that house rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, mice, rats, hedgehogs and all other “pocket pets” that could potentially have a commercial food don’t have to be labeled? Reptiles/amphibians and even birds are fed canned cat and dog food but there is a large market (and dealers) for specialized “chows” to feed the more exotic pets. They need protection too!

    1. Jeri

      I love your first statement — I thought the exact same thing. Considering what is allowed in the “food” (and I use the term very loosely) for dogs and cats, none of our pets are protected. The whole system needs to be revamped….starting with the government being honest about what constitutes “food”.

  5. Jude

    It seems that progress was made, with the FDA actually making some positive decisions that will help the honest pet food companies. That is great and thank you for providing this information to us.

    As an aside, could the “mineral guy” also be a “meaty guy” or a “gassy meaty guy?”

  6. Julie

    I’m still confused regarding the Human Grade discussion. In a previous post about the AAFCO summer meeting, Susan Thixton writes, “We got to see the definition of feed grade and human grade approved. That was a milestone.”

    So what are the definitions, or are those on the list of things that can’t be publicly shared until the AAFCO gives the say-so?

    I seek clarification because this is what the AAFCO website has to say on the subject of “Human Grade”.

    Copied directly: “There have been “human-grade” claims on some pet foods for a few years. This term has no definition in any animal feed regulations. Extremely few pet food products could be considered officially human edible or human-grade. A pet food that actually met these standards would be expensive. While pet owners can buy what they feel is best for their pet, they should understand the definitions and the odds.

    The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines products fit for human consumption to be officially “edible.” These foodstuffs have been processed, inspected and passed manufacturing regulations (i.e. process control regulations) that are designed to assure safety for consumption by humans.

    Edible is a standard; human-grade is not. For a product to be deemed edible for humans, all ingredients must be human edible and the product must be manufactured, packed and held in accordance with federal regulations in 21 CFR 110, Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food. If these conditions are met for a pet food, human-grade claims may be made. If these conditions are not met, then it is an unqualified claim and misbrands the product.

    Misbranding a feed is a prohibited act subject to enforcement action on the responsible party. The presence of human-grade on a label implies a product or ingredients may meet the legally-recognized edible standard.

    A product formulated for a pet is unlikely to be nutritionally adequate for a human and vice versa. Because pets become like family members in many homes, it should be underscored that not everything that a human can eat is safe for a pet. Such ingredients as chocolate, macadamia nuts and onions, to name a few, are edible and good for humans but can be toxic to cats or dogs. Human-grade does not automatically equal nutritional safety for pets.

    A product might claim to be human-grade because its ingredients “came from a USDA meat-packing plant.” But materials leaving a USDA meatpacking plant may be either edible or inedible. The piece of meat that is rejected because it does not meet edible standards and some slaughter byproducts are not human edible, nor can they be implied to be unofficially human-grade.

    Whether a product is or is not advertised as human-grade has no impact on product safety. All pet food products must meet feed requirements, including being unadulterated.”

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The information you are quoting from the AAFCO website is dated. AAFCO legal definition of human grade is: “Every ingredient and the resulting product are stored, handled, processed, and transported in a manner that is consistent and compliant with regulations for good manufacturing practices (GMPs) for human edible foods as specified in 21 CFR 117.”

      The legal definition of feed grade pet food is: “Material that has been determined to be safe, functional and suitable for its intended use in animal food, is handled and labeled appropriately, and conforms to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act unless otherwise expressly permitted by the appropriate state or federal agency.”

      These will be published in the 2017 AAFCO Official Publication – but you’ll have to spend $100.00 to see the definitions.

      1. Julie

        Thanks so much for the quick reply! I’ve seen other veterinary nutrition resources that claim there is no legal definition for human grade. I think I’m going to nag them to get their facts up to date.

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Yes – please do nag them!

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