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How Pet Food and Supplement Labels Are Changing in 2024 and Beyond

Changes are coming to pet food and supplement labels. Here’s what you need to know about the Pet Food Label Modernization project.

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AS A PET PRODUCT retailer, you know customers take notice when a change is made to the products they regularly buy. If you sell pet food, including dog and cat food, and supplements, such as multivitamins, be aware that significant changes to pet food labeling are coming, with rollout starting as early as January of this year.

Making Labels Easier to Understand

In 2015, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) began its Pet Food Label Modernization (PFLM) project to update the Pet Food Model Regulations, with the goals of improving customer understanding when reading labels and bringing pet food labeling more in line with human food labeling. AAFCO membership approved the recommended changes in July 2023. These changes will apply to all food types for pets (dog and cat) and specialty pets, including complete food, treats, supplements and veterinary diets.

Key labeling changes include:

  • Required “Intended Use” statement on the principal display panel
  • Mandatory “Nutrition Facts” box with nutrition information, like in human food labeling
  • Clear and consistent listing of ingredients
  • Regulations for storage and handling instructions, when included

The new model regulations will be published in the 2024 AAFCO Official Publication. Until then, you can visit aafco.org/pflm for helpful resources.

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Timeline For Implementation

Don’t look for every brand and company to make the changes immediately. AAFCO has recommended that states allow for a six-year transition period in consideration of each state’s rulemaking process and the efforts industry must undertake to incorporate the changes. Most states will allow this timeframe, although some may require earlier implementation.

As brands and companies adopt the labeling changes in coming months and years, two different label formats will be seen in the marketplace, which may confuse customers. You can provide education by explaining these changes are being made to make labels easier to understand and to assist pet parents in making informed product decisions for their pets.

Upcoming Training Opportunities

The National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) is engaging in various activities to provide support to the animal supplement industry, including the retailers and veterinarians who recommend and sell these products:

  • January — The NASC Compliance Team will provide guidance documents to NASC members to help them navigate correctly revising and creating pet food supplement labels.
  • Jan. 22 — AAFCO will host a PFLM training workshop. Bill Bookout, NASC president, and myself as NASC compliance officer, serve on the AAFCO Pet Food Committee and will be participating as trainers at the workshop. Visit aafco.org/events for more information.
  • Feb. TBD – The NASC Compliance Team, in cooperation with the American Pet Products Association, will host a PFLM training webinar.
  • Mar. 21 – AAFCO Executive Director Austin Therrell will present an hour-long session summarizing PFLM during Global Pet Expo, beginning at 8:30 a.m.
  • May 21-23 – The NASC Compliance Team will provide training, including information on PFLM, at the NASC Annual Conference at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbor, FL.

Retailers with questions about the training opportunities or labeling changes can email compliance@nasc.cc.

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