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AAFCO Receives Unanimous Support from State Agriculture Leaders for New Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food Model Regulations

The organization encourages state feed regulatory programs to adopt recommended changes to pet food labels.

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(PRESS RELEASE) CHAMPAIGN, IL — Heads of departments of agriculture unanimously voted to support the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) revised Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food. The vote took place on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, at the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) Winter Policy Conference in Washington, D.C.

NASDA encouraged state feed regulatory programs with regulatory authority over pet food to swiftly and uniformly adopt the AAFCO Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food while respecting individual state legal authorities and regulatory processes. The organization also encouraged feed regulatory programs to work with pet food manufacturers and distributors within their states to adhere to the six-year transition grace period outlined by AAFCO.

“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 revised Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food were approved by AAFCO in July 2023, and set new suggested labeling guidelines around nutrition information, ingredient statements, and storage and handling instructions to ensure consistency and transparency on pet food labels. AAFCO also recommended a six year enforcement discretion period to allow state regulatory programs time to incorporate the guidelines into their state laws and pet food manufacturers to make the necessary label and packaging updates to their products. Both AAFCO and NASDA encourage state regulators to allow the distribution and sale of pet food products that comply with both existing state pet food regulations or the new model regulations during the six year period.

AAFCO and key stakeholders have worked together since 2015 — conducting multiple rounds of consumer research and gathering feedback from pet food manufacturers and industry partners to understand how pet food labels could better communicate important information — to develop the revised Pet Food Model Regulations and state implementation guidelines.

About NASDA

The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture (NASDA) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit association which represents the elected and appointed commissioners, secretaries and directors of the departments of agriculture in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. NASDA enhances American food and agricultural communities through policy, partnerships and public engagement. To learn more about NASDA, please visit www.nasda.org.

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About AAFCO

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has been guiding state, federal and international feed regulators with ingredient definitions, label standards and laboratory standards for more than 110 years, while supporting the health and safety of people and animals. Its members are charged by their state or federal laws to regulate the manufacture, sale and distribution of animal feeds and feed ingredients. AAFCO is an affiliate of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Learn more at aafco.org.

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