Don’t be impressed with AAFCO “approval”

Don’t be impressed with AAFCO “approval”

The Association of American Feed Control Officials, called AAFCO, is a private organization of volunteers in the animal feed feed industry — including people from the pet food industry itself.

It is not mandated by any laws; it does not write laws or change them.

AAFCO sets standards for nutritional adequacy for a wide variety of animal feed, including cattle feed, feed for commercially raised rabbits, pig feed, dog and cat food, etc.
In my personal opinion, AAFCO regulation falls FAR short of protecting the welfare of our pets; here are some reasons why I say this.

1. How AAFCO tests pet foods

Food is either analyzed in the lab, or AAFCO runs feed trails.

  • the feed trial includes 8 dogs minimum, or more
  • 25% can be removed during the test – so the test could be conducted with just SIX DOGS
  • as long as the remaining animals don’t lose more than 15% of their body weight during the 26 week trial, the food is approved

AAFCO states clearly in its mandate, that it is setting standards for adequate nutrition. Not good nutrition, not particularly healthy. Adequate to keep the animal alive.

 

AAFCO food trials

 

2. FEED and FOOD is very different

There’s a big difference between FEED and FOOD.

AAFCO is mostly comprised of Feed Control Officials. These are state department of agriculture representatives who work together on feed that livestock eats. It’s nothing like our FOOD or what we think of as our pet’s FOOD. AAFCO is all about FEED.

Feed is all about fattening commercially raised animals for slaughter with the minimum resources possible; food is about building and maintaining good health.

One difference alone – FEED is allowed, per FDA, to contain euthanized pets and pesticide-laden grains and vegetables that wouldn’t be allowed for human consumption. (www.truthaboutpetfoods)

 

3. AAFCO doesn’t actually approve pet food

AAFCO does not approve, certify or reject pet food. Wording on pet food actually says that it MEETS the nutritional requirements established by AAFCO. Those standards, as mentioned, are what’s needed for adequate nutrition, in highly processed pet foods.

 

What does AAFCO really mean

 

4. These are the people who brought you the Label Laws

Remember these rules? You can read about them in detail on my blog, What’s on Your Dog’s Menu, but basically it’s a serious of weasel statements that tell manufactures what to call their products when they don’t contain a lot of meat.

For example, let’s look at Cesar Classics Filet Mignon Flavor, made by food giant Mars. 

 

It contains no filet mignon; it contains nothing like what we think of as beef.

Instead, this Cesar Classics flavour contains:

  • beef by-products – this is leftover, non-meat which can include lungs, stomach, and intestines (required to be freed of feces) from slaughtered mammals. It is not the flesh or ‘meat’ which has been removed for human food or other animal feed products.

It’s not even the ‘acceptable’ kinds of slaughterhouse leftovers like gristle, pieces of fatty tissue, meat from the animal’s head and feet; connective tissue – all of this goes into hot dogs and processed meat for people.

  • animal liver – liver is a good source of protein; the problem here is, what kind of animal?
  • meat by-products – again, the leftover waste from the slaughterhouse, but what kind of animal(s) are we talking about?
  • chicken by-products – this is not chicken ‘meat;’ it is the scrap, and can include feet, backs, livers, lungs, chicken heads, undeveloped eggs, etc.

….along with artificial colouring, sodium nitrite and more.

The total protein content of this food: 8%.

Remember, it’s the food name that counts

 


More reading on AAFCO and its role

Dog Food Advisor – https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/choosing-dog-food/animal-by-products/

Truth About Pet Food – http://truthaboutpetfood.com/should-my-pets-food-be-aafco-approved/

AAFCO official site – http://www.aafco.org/Consumers

What’s for dinner?

What’s for dinner?

When you shop for dog food for your Morkie, your head might be spinning when you read labels. I believe the pet food manufacturers – a multi BILLION dollar industry – purposely confuse consumers. Why would they do that? So they can pass off sub-par food (made with the cheapest possible ingredients) as high priced, quality food.

There are many, many ways dog food makers can do that, and I’ll be reviewing them over the next few weeks. Let’s start with dog food names.

But first, who regulates the pet food industry?

morkie eating dog foodMeet the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials)

This is the group that regulates the pet food industry. You’d expect this to be an unbiased, third party group. Possibly a government organization or agency.

Nope.

AAFCO is a private corporation. It is made up largely of PET FOOD COMPANY EXECUTIVES, business insiders and some elected officials in the United States and Canada. They set standards for their industry that are not very high, to state it mildly. The Association believes foods that are made up predominantly of ingredients like these, are just fine for our dogs:

 

Ground yellow corn, soybean meal, ground whole wheat, and corn syrup.

 

What’s corn syrup doing in dog food?

It covers up the putrid taste of processed food, to the point where your dog will find it reasonably palatable.

The role of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration ) is one of oversight.  They check that what’s on the label, is in the food. That, and whether or not the manufacturer’s name is correct on the label. They have no input or insights into what constitutes healthy pet food, and their recommendations to the AAFCO are generally considered ‘suggestions’ only. And generally ignored.

you gotta be kidding about whats in dog food

Unethical and shady: dog food names

That is what allows the industry to label dog food like this:

  • “Beef for dogs” then at least 95% of the product must be beef (or 70% when counting the added water)
  • “Beef dinner” requires the product to contain at least 25% of beef
  • “With beef” means the product contains at least 3% of beef. Buying a product that says “now with real beef” and you get only 3%!
  • “With beef flavour” means the flavour itself is detectable (from beef meal or beef by-products for example), there doesn’t have to be any actual beef meat present in the product
.

 Whats in dish of dog food

 

In summary

Don’t buy foods that are labelled as dinners, entrees, meals or anything along those lines: it means the food contains just 25% of the named meat.

“With beef” or “with beef flavour” are even worse so avoid them too.

Go for the simple animal protein name, such as Beef for dogs, Chicken or Lamb.