AAFCO’s Established Guidelines – Calculations Method Statistics

Dog Food Bag Ripped Open

Find the AAFCO nutritional statement on dog food bags

There are two AAFCO statements which you may see on dog food labels, in this post we are going to look at the statement that reads  something like this – “(Product Name) is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food nutrient profiles for (specific life stage).”

Your first question should be, who is determining the nutritional levels that should be met by the dog food manufactures? If you read my previous post “Who is the AAFCO and What DO They Do?” it should concern you that the people making these recommendations are made up of dog food industry insiders and not a group of scientists with backgrounds in animal nutrition with no connection to the dog food industry.

The second thing that should set off alarm bells is the method they use to determine if the dog food formula meets this requirement. This is called the calculations method, and with this method they estimate the amount of nutrients either by an average nutrient content of ingredients, or by results of laboratory tests using standard chemical analysis.

One of the problems I have with this is, that with many formulas including by-product ingredients such as “chicken by-product meal” there is no way of knowing what the nutritional value of that ingredient is from one batch to another.

If  the first attempt to get the formula to pass this calculations method fails it is a simple as mixing up a new batch and trying again, and keep trying until you get it to pass. The major problem with this is that if one particular food in a product line proved to meet the AAFCO standard, the company is allowed to include the nutritional adequacy statement on other products of the same line that provide equal or greater concentrations of all the nutrients.

So not only is the method of testing flawed, but there are to many loop-wholes available to industry in which to cheat the process in the name of more profits.

So what value should you place on the AAFCO nutritional statements found on the bags? Don’t answer that question until you read the next post, which is about the second method of testing used… it says a lot about the importance of these AAFCO nutritional statements.