There is a great deal of information I’m looking forward to sharing with everyone, but for now here’s a brief overview of what I experienced today (day one).
Today was the Pet Food Labeling Workshop. I was treated wonderfully and welcomed by numerous AAFCO officials. Below are just some of the information from today – and only brief information. Much of what I want to share with you will take some time to write out (my brain is gone for today). I’ve got tons of notes that I hope I can read when I have the time to share everything with you.
I thought, mistakenly, that the event was solely an AAFCO event. Instead the Pet Food Labeling Workshop was “in co-operation with the Pet Food Institute and the Animal Feed Industry Association.” Both of these organizations are lobby organizations representing industry. I have a bit of a problem with lobby organizations teaming with regulatory authorities.
Numerous presenters from both AAFCO and industry spoke to the group of around 200 attendees. The audience consisted of manufacturing, ingredient suppliers, and numerous State Dept. of Agriculture Representatives. While part of me thought it might be beneficial for industry to help teach others in industry how to properly label a pet food (they’ve been there done that) – another part of me felt it was a conflict of interest for industry to teach newbie’s in industry and especially for industry to teach those in regulatory positions (Dept of Agriculture Reps in attendance).
It was clear that members of the Pet Food Institute, some in FDA, and most all of AAFCO have long standing close relationships. Again, it seemed a huge conflict of interest for regulatory representatives to be buddy, buddy with industry.
The entire workshop dealt on pet food labeling. What can be done on a pet food label, what can’t be done on a pet food label. The day did give me a great deal of insight what a manufacturer has to go through to get a pet food to market and a great deal of information I’ll share with all soon.
The day also pointed out some huge loopholes in my book. As example, the Guaranteed Analysis on a pet food label. Did you know that no regulatory authority requires a pet food manufacturer to provide clinical evidence proving what is stated in the Guaranteed Analysis? In other words, a pet food can state it is 24% protein but they are not required to prove this percentage to anyone. Not good.
And lastly – for now – many times throughout the day I heard how strapped for time and funds State Department of Agriculture Representatives are. A Representative from Mississippi shared that a couple of years ago he had almost 50 in his office – today he has less than half that. Not good again.
Tomorrow is the AAFCO Pet Food Committee meetings. Should be interesting. I did request an interview with incoming AAFCO president; no word on if or when this could happen. And I’m hoping to get a chance to speak with and ask questions of FDA Reps there as well. We’ll see.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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