Who is the AAFCO and What DO They Do?

English: Large blue dog food bowl, half full o...

AAFCO statements

I’m still steaming from reading a few different articles that quote Dr. Julie Churchill’s alluding to the fact that the AAFCO statements found on dog food packages, are one of the primary tools to use, to find  quality dog food.

I want to cover three points in the next three posts over the next three days.

  1. Who is the AAFCO
  2. What does “(Name of product) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO (Dog/Cat) Food Nutrient Profiles.” mean?
  3. What does “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition.” mean.

Today we’ll start with the fist on ” Who is the AAFCO”?

The American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO) is responsible for the words “complete and balanced nutrition” on commercial pet food.  AAFCO is an organization made up of people who work for state agriculture departments and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), with input from people in front groups for industry such as The Pet Food Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Renderer’s Association.

AAFCO is concerned with issues involving animal feed, and it advises the FDA and USDA on such matters.  But it has no regulatory authority itself, it does not test pet food, and it does not issue any kind of certificate that a pet food is “complete and balanced.”  When that statement goes on the label, the company making the food is solely responsible for it being there.  AAFCO doesn’t verify.  AAFCO publishes minimum standards for “complete and balanced nutrition.”  But serious questions have recently been raised about those standards which may have more to do with making pet food profitable than making pets healthy.  AAFCO makes no secret of the fact that it wants to cooperate with, not regulate, members of the pet food industry.  The industry is made up of rendering plants; manufacturers of vitamin premixes and flavorings; and multinational corporations. by Terri Mitchell

As you can see, there is a lot of representation and influence from the very groups that would put profits ahead of your pets health, if they had to make a choice between the two.

English: USDA MyPlate nutritional guide icon

MyPlate Lobbyists

This should not be much of a surprise, the USDA food pyramid, or the new MyPlate is not really based on what you should or should not eat, as much as it was negotiated by the different food group’s lobbyists.

Could you imagine if the truth was told about the dairy processing and what it really does to milk, therefore telling you, that you would be better off drinking Almond milk than cows milk… could you imagine the USDA killing an industry, that provides as many jobs as the dairy industry or any other industries represented by the MyPlate or food pyramid?

The same thing holds true for the AAFCO, they are not only being lobbied by The Pet Food Institute, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the National Renderer’s Association, but they are State employees that want to keep jobs in their Sates. This means it is more difficult to pass laws that might hurt one of the players in the pet food supply chain, like National Renderer’s.

So for Dr. Julie Churchill’s importance put on the AAFCO’s, I feel is very misleading to dog parents and should be rebutted or at least explained in detail.

The next two days I will post the two AAFCO statements, and explain them, so that you can decide how much importance you should put on them.