The second AAFCO meeting of 2019 begins next week. Here’s what will be discussed and how you can listen in.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a private organization that is (in some mysterious way) given the responsibility to write the laws that govern pet food and animal feed (there is no other private organization in the US allowed to write law). Members of AAFCO – State Department of Agriculture representatives and representatives from FDA – are responsible for the Nutrient Profiles of pet foods, labeling requirements, and legal definitions of all ingredients used in pet foods and livestock feeds.
To accomplish it’s law writing, AAFCO holds two public meetings a year, one in January – the other in August. Meetings cost $500.00 to attend (not including hotel and travel). The meetings are held in a different location each time, this next meeting to be held in Louisville, KY.
This next meeting will include an extra day – at a $200.00 extra fee – to learn more about the federal laws Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This extra session occurs on Sunday August 4, 2019. It’s very telling that the agenda for this session includes:
- “FSMA Update from an Industry Perspective” (with industry members speaking), and
- “FSMA Update from FDA/CVM Perspective” (with FDA speaking), but…
- No consumer perspective of FSMA (no consumer representatives were asked to participate).
On Monday August 5, 2019 begins the regular AAFCO meeting. Dr. Steven Solomon – FDA’s director of Center for Veterinary Medicine – will be speaking to attendees. (Dr. Solomon is who stated to industry at an industry event earlier this year that “pentobarbital in pet food is more of a problem than we thought“.) His talk is scheduled to begin at 8:45 AM ET. Pet owners can listen in to this session (though not allowed to make comments), details on how to listen in are provided at the top of the agenda – Click Here.
On Tuesday August 6, 2019 at 8 AM ET, AAFCO is providing a session about consumers. Roxi Beck, Consumer Engagement Director at The Center for Food Integrity will speak to attendees on how to “engage meaningfully in an effort to earn the trust of today’s consumers.” It appears this session will be a how to market (sell to) consumers session specifically for industry attendees. To read more about this session and for information to listen in, Click Here.
Following this session will be the Pet Food Committee meeting starting at 9:30 AM ET (Tuesday August 6, 2019). AAFCO will again discuss Human Grade pet food – there has been attempts to lower the standards of the current definition. It is unknown until the meeting if this is another attempt (but we’ll be there to voice concern if it is). Also in this session will be a discussion of prescription pet foods. To read the full agenda of the Pet Food Committee session and for information on how to listen in, Click Here.
And Tuesday August 6, 2019 afternoon session will be the Ingredient Definitions Committee from 3:00 to 5:30 PM ET. There is discussion in this session on “Vitamin common names for dog and cat finished foods“, AAFCO will finally make two separate definitions for Bison and Water Buffalo (which have previously been used in pet food listed only as ‘Buffalo’), “treat” will be defined, and an update will be provided on “hemp” ingredient for pet food/animal feed. To read the full agenda of the Ingredient Definitions Committee session and for information on how to listen in, Click Here.
Personal note: This will be my 16th AAFCO meeting – it all began because of pet owner followers of this website. In late 2010, TruthaboutPetFood.com posted an article about pet food regulations and several pet owners commented – asking me to attend the regulatory meetings AND pet owners raised the money for me in order to pay AAFCO’s admission fee. The FDA spoke at that meeting as well, and took questions from the audience. I asked the FDA representative about the Compliance Policies that allow “diseased animals and animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter” – specifically asking how FDA can allow this material in pet food when it is a direct violation of federal law. Though we are still asking FDA the same question 8 years later – we have learned so much in the past 8 years. Because consumers have supported us – sending us to two meetings a year – we have learned ‘how’ to ask FDA questions (the required procedures) and we’ve learned more about how the regulatory system of pet food works. We currently have a significant Petition for Reconsideration filed with FDA regarding those illegal ingredients and we are awaiting a date for a face to face meeting with FDA on the ‘arrangement’ FDA has with AAFCO to keep pet owners in the dark with rules and legal definitions of ingredients. We wouldn’t have learned how to tackle these issues without the years of experience from attending AAFCO meetings that pet owners have sent us to.
Association for Truth in Pet Food sends two consumer representatives to each AAFCO meeting – Mr. BC Henschen and myself. Our thanks to every member of our association, your membership gets us to these meetings.
For pet owners in the Louisville area, we are hosting a meet-up event with all of the ‘pet food’ (not feed) representatives that attend AAFCO on Sunday evening at Dundee Tavern in the Highlands area of Louisville. You can join us for dinner (dutch-treat) at 6 PM or join us at 7 PM for our meet-up.
News from the meeting will be posted as soon as possible. Wish us luck!
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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