Petfood Industry - March 2018 - 64
64 | www.PetfoodIndustry.com
David A. Dzanis, DVM, PhD, DACVN
AAFCO announces pet and
specialty pet definitions
definitions and regulations
were discussed at AAFCO's
midyear meeting, held in
The Association of
American Feed Control
Officials (AAFCO) held its "midyear"
meeting on January 22-24, 2018, in Anaheim,
California, USA. The meeting was convened
only a matter of miles away from Disneyland,
also known as "The Happiest Place on Earth."
Many, but maybe not all, attendees were
happy with the outcomes of the meeting.
Pet definitions: 'Pet' vs.
'specialty pet,' new definition
The first order of business at AAFCO
meetings is the general session, when
members vote on proposals brought forward
from the various committees. Approved at
this session were amendments to the definitions in the AAFCO Model Bill for "pet"
and "specialty pet." "Pet" now specifically
refers to the species Canis familiaris and Felis
catus. This was to remedy a discrepancy
in interpretation as to whether "dogs" and
"cats" meant only the domestic species or
included their wild brethren. It is now clear
that wolves and tigers are not "pets," hence
labels for foods intended for those species
don't need to conform to the AAFCO model
regulations for pet foods but rather to those
applicable to animal feeds in general.
Of particular need for clarification in the
"specialty pet" definition was the status
of rabbits. There are long-existing regulations that consider rabbits to be livestock,
and feeds intended for livestock must be
labeled differently than specialty pet foods,
especially with regard to the guaranteed
analysis. This has caused problems for some
manufacturers, because the labels for pet
rabbits compared with those for other small
mammals (e.g., hamsters, guinea pigs) were
sometimes required to be decidedly different
and hence were potentially confusing to
purchasers. As it stands now with the
amendment, labels of foods for rabbits "not
raised for food or fur" should be subject to
Dr. Dzanis is CEO of Regulatory Discretion Inc. and a writer and consultant on nutrition, labeling and regulation. He is also the
author of Petfood Industry magazine's monthly column, "Petfood Insights."