Deciphering Pet Food Labels – AAFCO Standards

Deciphering Pet Food Labels – AAFCO Standards

  The question exists of  how we know a pet food is good for our pets. The answer is simple. There are hundreds of individuals dedicated to researching and formulating the best ingredients to be used in pet food. Scientists, chemists, nutritionists, and veterinarians have come together to do this and have been doing this for decades upon decades. Their sole purpose is to create a pet food that not only maintains your pet’s health, but improves it. These are highly educated individuals who know how to calculate and formulate the appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats for a pet food. There is no guess work here!

One of the parts of pet food formulation is discussed below.

*AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. This is the organization that sets nutritional standards for pet foods sold in the United States, and is also recognized in Canada.

The nutritional adequacy of pet foods is generally determined by one of two methods based on nutritional levels and procedures defined by AAFCO.

Formulation method – this is a less expensive method, and results are determined more quickly because actual feeding or digestibility trials are not required. There is NO guarantee of pet acceptance or nutrient bioavailability when utilizing this method.

Feeding trial method – This method is alson known as the “gold standard” for determining nutritional adequacy. The manufacturer must perform an AAFCO protocol feeding trial using the food being tested as the sole source of nutrition.*


* Nutrition Reference Manual – Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc.

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