Another AAFCO meeting is within a few weeks, final agendas have been published on the AAFCO website. Here are issues that I would like consumer input on to take to the meeting.
AAFCO hosts public meetings twice a year. The second meeting of 2016 will begin on August 1, 2016. The meeting will be held in Pittsburgh, PA at the Marriott City Center. For any pet food consumers in the Pittsburgh area, you are welcome to attend ($500.00 admission fee). All meetings can be listened to for free, details of call in information below.
Side note: For pet food consumers in the Pittsburgh area, you are invited to a fund raising event hosted by independent pet food store(s) Healthy Pet Products (for Western Pennsylvania Humane Society); Paws, Claws & Laws. I will be speaking at this event and would love to meet pet owners in the area face to face!
At the January 2016 AAFCO meeting, FDA told the crowd the agency is wanting to drop the term ‘feed’. FDA introduced the new term ‘animal food’ for the first time at this meeting (first time to my knowledge). Quoting the minutes of the January meeting: “Jenny Murphy said that FDA is moving away from the term “feed” except for “medicated feed” and is using the term, “animal food”.”
This discussion was ‘tabled’ in January for discussion at the upcoming August meeting.
Historically, the ‘food’ that animals eat has been referred to as feed; cattle feed, pig feed, chicken feed. Pet food is the only animal food that is referred to as food (not feed). AAFCO itself is a ‘feed’ organization; Association of American Feed Control Officials. Legally, all of what animals consume should be referred to as food. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act defines food as: “(1) articles used for food or drink for man or other animals, (2) chewing gum, and (3) articles used for components of any such article.” But as we know, law is not often followed when it comes to the food that animals consume.
The same Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act defines feed (in reference to drugs allowed into animal feed – medicated feed) as: “an article which is intended for use for food for animals other than man and which is intended for use as a substantial source of nutrients in the diet of the animal, and is not limited to a mixture intended to be the sole ration of the animal.”
We do not know if there is a motive behind FDA’s decision to change the agency’s reference to animal food from feed. We do not know – why now? Why is the FDA is wishing to change from feed to animal food after decades of referring to the material animals consume as feed. Regardless, in my opinion the term ‘animal food’ further confuses pet food consumers.
As explanation, pet food can consist of legal food ingredients, food supplements, and manufactured according to food regulation – or it can consist of illegal food ingredients, classified as feed supplements, and manufactured in a feed plant.
If both of the above are called pet food…or both referenced by FDA as animal food, how can consumers understand what they are purchasing? They can’t.
It is my opinion FDA is furthering the confusion with the term ‘animal food’. It is my opinion that the term ‘food’ should only be used on animal products that abide by food rules (grey column above). All products that follow the yellow column above should be called feed. Again, it is my personal opinion that there needs to be a clear, easy way for consumers to determine what they are buying (is it food, or is it something entirely different?).
My opinion is not why I go to AAFCO meetings; I go to these meeting to take your opinions. So…your opinion on the above is welcome (survey link below).
The above discussion is listed on the agenda for two meetings (unknown why). It is included on the agenda for Model Bills & Regulations Committee (item 4 a) to be held on Monday August 1, 2016 at 1:30 PM, and on the agenda for the Ingredient Definitions Committee (items 4 a & b) to be held on Tuesday August 2, 2016 at 1:30 PM.
Information for consumers to listen to these meetings are listed on the agenda documents linked above.
The Pet Food Committee Meeting lists a discussion of human grade pet food; all the agenda states is “FAQs”. Also on the agenda is a discussion from Big Heart Pet Food on the “use of the word ‘Meaty’ on labeling”.
I am requesting input as to what consumers believe the word ‘Meaty’ should mean on pet food labels.
The Pet Food Committee Meeting will be held on Tuesday August 2, 2016 at 9:30 AM. Details for consumers to listen to this meeting is provided on the agenda document linked above.
To help organize comments, I have built a quick survey on the two issues discussed above (Animal Food and the term Meaty). Click Here to take that survey.
Thanks to all in advance.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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Susan’s List of trusted pet foods. Click Here
The Other List
The List of pet foods I would not give my own pets. Click Here
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