At the January 2012 AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) meeting, Pet Food Committee Chair Liz Higgins asked for topics of discussion for the August meeting. While there are many topics that need to be discussed to protect our pets, the following were the suggestions I sent as a beginning.
Email sent 2/25/12…
In January you asked for topics of discussion for the pet food committee for August. Below are my suggestions…
1. USDA Inspected and Approved. The majority of pet owners want to feed their dog or cat a food that is made from the same quality of ingredients that they feed any other member of their family. But with existing regulations, that is impossible to know by reading the pet food label. I would like to propose an amendment to the regulations to allow manufacturers to make the statement ingredients are USDA Inspected and Approved – of course these manufacturers would be required to provide evidence of such when they make this statement.
2. Carbohydrate content included in the Guaranteed Analysis. Many pet owners are concerned with carbohydrate content in pet foods – especially cat owners. Existing regulations require calorie content to be calculated on sum of protein calories, fat calories, and carbohydrate calories – yet currently the GA only provides protein and fat minimums (which by the way considering the pet obesity epidemic in this country, maximum of fat should be listed on labels), with no carbohydrate information. If calories are the sum of protein, fat, and carbs – then I propose carbohydrate information be required on labels as well.
3. Country of origin information. One of the biggest concerns of pet owners, especially since the 2007 pet food recall, is country of origin information on all ingredients in a pet food. COOL (Country of origin labeling) laws apply to many human foods. As regulations stand currently, a pet owner’s only option to discover country of origin of ingredient information is to call or email the manufacturer. And – I can share from personal experience – even with a call or email, many manufacturers do not readily provide complete information. Many ‘forget’ to provide country of origin for vitamins and minerals. I propose pet food/treats provide to consumers the country of origin of all ingredients on labels.
Thank you and see you at the August meeting,
Here’s hoping that my suggestions are presented at the August meeting, pet owners deserve this information. It should be very interesting to see the reaction and hear the complaints from the Pet Food Institute on these!
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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