AAFCO and Dog Food

AAFCO, or to give them their full title Association of American Feed Control Officials, produces a set of "standards" in relation to dog food labeling,ingredients and manufacturing, that appear to have been adopted world wide as a "measure of compliance" for producers of dog food.

Unfortunately this "Association" of "Officials" has no regulatory powers as it is not a Government Agency so therefore it has no authority to enforce standards or prosecute non compliant companies!

In that way I suppose you could call this "adopted regulatory" association a "toothless tiger".

Since membership is also open to dog food manufacturers, meat renderers, and various industry groups, I can imagine what "lobbying" would be aggressively pursued by those not wanting any changes, or upgrading, of the current situation.

If the day has already come where lobbying tactics are winning, and setting the agenda for "standards and guidelines", then Dracula has become in charge of the Blood Bank!!

Currently the best we have, and it appears that could be world wide, are the "standards and guidelines" issued by the Association of American Feed Control Officers. Unfortunately it is too far away from what is needed to give our dogs full protection.

Dog owners need an independent Government authority that has enforceable powers to eradicate sub-standard quality, dubious origin of ingredients, and those suspect additives to our dog food


Some dog food labels will have a notation that the product meets the standards of the Association, or something similar to those words, but alluding to the same thing.

That notation would be there purely to gain some credibility, for what could easily be an inferior product!

For my part I would rather see "This product far exceeds the minimal expectations of AAFCO"!

There are quality manufacturers out there that could rightly apply that notation!

Life without AAFCO does not bear thinking about!

I dread to think of how life would be if there was no "standards" or "guidelines" whatsoever! We are already subjected to the inclusion of sub standard ingredients, and potentially harmful additives in many major brands of dog food.

Sometimes I think I am too paranoid about major manufacturers and then low and behold up pops another example to justify my lack of trust!

How is this for proving my point:

It involves IAMS / EUKANUBA yes it's THEM again!

Despite lawsuits being filed to keep information out of the public arena copies of letters between FDA and the company have been obtained through the Freedom of Information Act.

Letters that show IAMS/EUKANUBA failed to meet even the minimum of AAFCO standards!

But wait there's more!

Can you guess what was on the label?

It was the "Meets AAFCO" notation that is used by manufacturers for credibility that the product meets certain minimum rerquirements!!


Here is A Comment from Dr Andrew Jones DVM.

This is part of an email I received from Dr Jones, where he makes comment on this "Authority".

START of comment;

"I get bombarded by questions about pet food.

So what is the best one to feed?

Raw vs Dry vs Home Made ??????

Here is a common Pet Food Myth...The Pet Food is fine as it has an accredited label on the bag- It has been tested by an "authority"

You all know what I think about authorities.

My first rule is to question them and look into their claims.

AAFCO certifies Pet Food in the U.S.

This is what can be found on the label: "Our pet foods are made following AAFCO guidelines and must pass stringent testing."

This sounds good, until we take a close look at the AAFCO test guidelines.

"The Testing Protocols For Providing An Unqualified Representation of Nutritional Adequacy For A Dog Or Cat Food" are..

* 8 dogs older than 1 yr. must start the test.* At start all dogs must be normal weight & health.* A blood test is to be taken from each dog at th e start and finish of the test.* For 6 months, the dogs used must only eat the food being tested.* The dogs finishing the test must not lose more than 15% of their body weight.* During the test, none of the dogs used are to die or be removed becasue of nutritional causes.* 6 of the 8 dogs starting must finish the test.

That's all there is to it.

Buyer beware . . . you may be buying a pet food advertised as being a nutritionally adequate diet for all dogs because it passed "stringent" AAFCO testing ... when only six to eight dogs ate that food for 6 months and survived with no more than an "acceptable" 15% loss of body weight.


P.S. So what do I think about AAFCO certification?

To claim it is "nutritionally adequate" with only 6 dogs eating the food is clearly not much of a study- not scientifically valid, and NOT adequate in my opinion.

I doubt many of you are feeding your pet food based on AAFCO claims.

This has almost more to do with marketing."

END of comment.

I agree wholeheartedly with Dr Jones, and the proof is in the case mentioned above.

Sad really isn't it - you would expect better!

Unfortunately we cannot rely on any organization to be our quality control - that responsibility has to lie solely with with us. We do that by being able to understand label definitions and the ingredient listing, plus considering all of our feeding options!

Whilst you are at this website I hope you will take the opportunity to visit the page that there are links for just below - or if short of time why not bookmark and come back later when you have a little more time.

Top of page AAFCO and Dog Food

To go to Dog Food Manufacturers click here

To go to Dog Food Labels click here

To go to Dog Food Ingredients click here

To go to Dog Food Recall click here

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