Petfood Industry - December 2013 - 42

42

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Petfood Insights
David A. Dzanis, DVM, PhD, DACVN

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Dr. Dzanis at
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petfoodinsights.aspx.

AAFCO 'Official
Publication' goes online

Web version provides
a working alternative
to print version of a
vital resource.

A NY PETFOOD MANUFACTURER
distributing product in the US needs
to be familiar with the contents of the
Association of American Feed Control
Officials (AAFCO) Official Publication
(OP) to formulate and label products
in compliance with the regulations
of most states. An online version of
the OP is now available. This is great
news after decades of urging for an
alternative to the print version of this
vital resource. 
I am still learning how to navigate
the electronic OP effectively, and I am
sure improvements in the website will
be made over time. At this juncture, it
appears that the electronic version will
augment, but not wholly replace, my
use of the print version.

A KEY BENEFIT TO the electronic OP is easy
searchability. A resource book is only as good as its
index, and frankly, the index in the printed OP has
had its share of problems.
For example, in the 2010 and
earlier editions, "powdered
cellulose" was listed in
the index under "C," but
"microcrystalline cellulose"
was listed under "M."
Also, for at least one year,
"manganous oxide" was
missing from the index altogether.
While those errors have been rectified, still
to this day there are issues with cross references,
such as "brewers rice" listed under "chipped rice"
and "cassava root" under "tapioca." Comparatively, the risk of missing an important listing
using the online version is now minimized.
Unfortunately, the current search engine does
not autofill search words or offer alternative

spellings, but perhaps these enhanced functions
can be incorporated in the future.
In my limited experience, I did find browsing
through the electronic OP to be a bit cumbersome, at least compared to other electronic
resources I have used. Frankly, so far it is often
easier for me to find the section of the OP pertinent to my needs by a quick flip of pages in the
physical book than via my computer. Navigation
of the website proved especially difficult when
using the OP on my iPad.  
However, AAFCO is also in development
of an app to optimize use on mobile devices. I
downloaded the app for "Knowledge Vault" on
my iPad and was able to easily access the OP
from there, as well. The app is not fully functional yet (no search function at the time of this
writing), but hopefully it will be easier to use in
the near future.
I HAVE ALSO been told that the electronic OP will
be updated after each annual and mid-year meeting
to reflect any changes in the model regulations and

I plan on buying the online OP
for 2014 but am not ready to give
up the print version just yet.
ingredient definitions. I presume any typographical
errors or omissions found during the year can be
quickly fixed, as well. This is a great advantage
compared to the print OP, where you need to wait
until the next January to see the changes for the
year implemented in writing. 
However, I am unclear as to which version,
online or print, will be deemed the "official"
version when there are discrepancies between the

Dr. Dzanis is CEO of Regulatory Discretion Inc. and a writer and consultant on nutrition, labeling and regulation.
December 2013

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Petfood Industry - December 2013 - Contents
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