CHAMPAIGN ILL. and WASHINGTON — On Feb. 8, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) announced it had received unanimous support from the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) for its revised Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food. NASDA members voted on whether to support the model regulations during its Winter Policy Conference on Feb. 7.

The Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food has been an eight-year project by AAFCO, aiming to enhance the transparency of pet food labels and provide consumers with clearer information about pet food formulas. Often referred to as pet food label modernization (PFLM), the model regulations were approved by AAFCO in July 2023.

Following its vote on Feb. 7, NASDA encouraged state feed regulatory programs that have regulatory authority over pet foods, to swiftly and uniformly adopt the regulations, while also respecting an individual state’s existing legal authorities and regulatory processes.

“The vote by NASDA members to support AAFCO’s revised Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food underscores the importance of collaboration and innovation to safeguard animal health,” said Austin Therrell, executive director of AAFCO. “AAFCO is here to be a partner with and resource for state regulatory programs as they move forward with adopting the model regulations that will enhance transparency and provide clearer information on pet food packaging.”

The NASDA also encouraged feed regulatory programs to collaborate with pet food processors and distributors within their states to follow AAFCO’s recommended six-year transition period. During the transition period, state regulators are recommended to allow the distribution and sale of pet food products that comply with current state regulations or new model regulations.

“Pet food labels, like any other food label, should be clear and easy to understand so pet owners can make informed decisions about what they feed their pets,” said Blayne Arthur, president of the NASDA and Oklahoma agriculture secretary. “State feed regulatory programs agree to utilize enforcement discretion in the review of pet food labels. This action item showcases NASDA members’ commitment to transparent and consistent pet food labels across the United States. It prioritizes a seamless transition to the AAFCO model regulations adopted by its membership and agreed to by the pet food industry. NASDA looks forward to working with AAFCO and industry representatives.”

For more regulatory news affecting the pet food market, visit our Regulatory page.

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