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AAFCO Accepts Revised Dog and Cat Food Profiles



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It took eight years of back-and-forth wrangling, according to petfoodindustry.com, but the full membership of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) accepted revised dog and cat food nutrient profiles at its annual meeting held last month in Denver.

The body also accepted a few amendments to its Model Regulations to accommodate different maximum allowed calcium levels for larger puppies.

Once the new nutrient profiles are published in the AAFCO 2016 Official Publication, pet food companies will have one to two years to get any new products as well as existing products in compliance with the new nutrient profile requirements or reformulate or relabel products accordingly.

Some of the expected changes when the newly adopted nutrient profiles hit the ink in 2016 include:

  • The minimum calcium for adult maintenance dog foods drops from 0.6 to 0.5 percent for dry food and from 0.5 to 0.4 percent for phosphorous;
  • Minimums for dry dog food intended for growth and reproduction jump from 1 to 1.2 percent for calcium and from 0.8 to 1 percent for phosphorous;
  • A significant change is the maximum calcium allowed in dog foods that may be fed to large-size puppies (70 pounds or more), and that change is a drop from a maximum of 2.5 to 1.8 percent;
  • increase in crude protein from 22 to 22.5 percent for maintenance foods for dogs;
  • many amino acid requirements for dog and cat foods will increase; and
  • dog foods will now have to list methionine and phenylalanine as separate nutrients.

Because of the new nutrient profiles, there will be a much tighter range of calcium levels for dog foods for all sizes of dogs and for all life stages, thus requiring reformulation or at least relabeling, noted petfoodindustry.com in a March 11, 2015, column.

While AAFCO pet food models are not legally binding, several states base their animal feed laws, regulations and policies on AAFCO Model Bill and Model Regulations.

The AAFCO in discussing its old nutrient profiles at talkspetfood.aafco.org, stated, “Creating a complete and balanced pet food is a complex endeavor.”

The old AAFCO nutrient profiles, which are based on ratios of nutrients to calories, included 37 nutritional parameters for dogs and 44 for cats.

The AAFCO is a voluntary membership organization headquartered in Champaign, Ill., and made up of local, state and federal agencies tasked to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drugs.

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