Any food that you find in your local supermarket must meet federal and state regulations, and the same is true for dog food. In fact, dog food regulation has actually been on the rise over the years. Dog food is subject to certain federal and state regulations. On a federal level, they must meet the standards set forth by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture), and the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). These are the same federal departments that govern and regulate human food as well.
Everything You Need to Know About Dog Food Regulation
Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration is well known for regulating human foods and medications, but they also have regulations that help to prevent harmful or improperly labeled dog food. Any foods that make therapeutic claims must also be approved by the FDA. They also do manufacturing plant inspections routinely, just to make sure that the food is manufactured safely. The FDA has set forth the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which requires the following:
- foods must be wholesome and pure
- foods must contain no harmful substances
- foods must be labeled truthfully
- foods must be prepared and packaged in sanitary conditions
- food must not contain any product of diseased animals
- foods must list the ingredients on the package, in order of their weight
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture is also involved when it comes to dog food regulation. They offer a voluntary inspection regulation for dog food manufacturers. This inspection will determine the following:
- amount of meat in the food
- ingredients found in the food
- minimum nutrients found in the food
- label specifications
If a manufacturer chooses to go through with this inspection, they can put the USDA seal of approval on their packaging. This, however, isn’t something that all manufacturers choose to do. Not having the USDA approval seal doesn’t necessarily make a food unfit for your dog to consume. It just means you need to do a bit more research.
Federal Trade Commission
The Federal Trade Commission helps to ensure that dog food manufacturers are not using false advertising to mislead consumers. Pet food manufacturers must follow the ‘general truth’ rule found in the FTC’s advertising standards. This means not making misleading claims, and ensuring that the labeling is completely true.
Association of American Feed Control Officials
On a state level, the Association of American Feed Control Officials can regulate foods. Many states conform to their requirements. The AAFCO actually enforces laws regarding production, labeling, sales and distribution of dog food. States must adopt these regulations, or they can come up with their own regulations based on those set forth by the AAFCO. AAFCO regulations have requirements for the following:
- product names
- flavor designations
- nutritional adequacy
- ingredient names
- other labeling aspects
If you have any concerns about the food that you feed your pet, make sure that you focus on the dog food regulation and how it relates to your pet. After all, you likely want to feed your pet the very best food. By choosing a food that has the approval of either the FDA, USDA or AAFCO, you can rest assured that you are feeding your dog premium quality food that will meet their nutritional requirements on a daily basis.
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