Demand to know what's in Fido's bowl! "Feed" isn't Food

  • by: Susan Thixton
  • target: The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), Ken Bowers, President; Stan Cook, Chair, Pet Food Committee

Many pet food labels, television commercials and websites are telling consumers a Big Fat Lie. They call themselves ‘food’ – cat food and dog food – when NOTHING about the product is food. Authorities that regulate pet food allow two very distinct types of pet food, both are termed ‘pet food’ on the product label and in marketing:

1. Feed grade
2. Food grade (or Human grade)

Feed grade pet foods are allowed by regulatory authorities to contain illegal ingredients such as diseased animal parts rejected for use in human food, or meats sourced from dead non-slaughtered animal carcasses - otherwise known as condemned animal material. Feed grade pet foods are manufactured differently than food, and are not held to the same safety standards as food.

Food grade or Human grade pet foods are…simply put…food. Each ingredient is food, and the pet food meets all regulatory requirements of food.

But again, pet food consumers don’t know which pet ‘foods’ are food and which are feed. Both feed grade pet foods and food grade pet foods are currently termed food.

The ultimate regulatory authority over pet food – the FDA – agrees that pet foods and treats should disclose the classification of food or feed to the consumer. Next, we need AAFCO – Association of American Feed Control Officials – to swiftly move the disclosure into law.

Pet food consumers deserve an easy to understand standard of identity for pet foods and treats. Pet products that are made with food ingredients according to food law should be termed ‘pet food’. Pet products that are made with feed ingredients, manufactured according to feed law should be termed ‘pet feed’.

Simple, honest, transparent. Pet food consumers deserve to know what they are buying – feed or food.

By adding your name to this petition, you are telling AAFCO you support required disclosure of feed or food on pet food labels, websites and all marketing. No more pet ‘food’ lies.

Lies can have fatal consequences.

A little dog named Talula paid the ultimate price for a pet ‘food’ lie. Talula consumed a ‘pet food’ – Evanger’s Hunk of Beef Dog ‘Food’ – that contained meat sourced from a pentobarbital euthanized animal. It was illegal feed grade meat. Talula died.

Evanger’s Hunk of Beef stated “pet food” on the label and “human grade” on the website – but no part of this ‘pet food’ was food. It was feed.

No more lies.

Tell AAFCO to move swiftly and give pet food consumers what they deserve. Promptly update existing regulations classifying pet products to their true and honest classification – feed or food.

By signing this petition, you are asking AAFCO to:

1. Accept and pass this standard of identity for pet foods and treats: Pet products that are made with food ingredients according to food law would be termed ‘pet food’. Pet products that are made with feed ingredients, manufactured according to feed law would be termed ‘pet feed’ with the option for verified exception (a) below.

(a) Similar to the USDA grading of meat, we have asked FDA to establish an optional pet product ingredient quality verification system providing consumers a validated standard of identity to quality of ingredients even if the pet product was manufactured in a USDA or pet food facility (does not meet the current requirement of Human Grade pet food). Pet products that complete the verification process (verifying all food grade ingredients) would be provided opportunity to state on product labels and in marketing the claim ‘Verified Pet Food’ providing consumers with another level of standard of identity.

Pet Feed or Pet Food or Pet Food Verified standard of identity to be required on the product label, the product website, and all marketing material.

2. Update all existing Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food to include the feed/food/verified food distinction to be completed no later than the August 2018 Annual Meeting. Updated model regulations to be published in the 2019 AAFCO Official Publication.

3. Deadline for pet food manufacturer compliance no later than 1 year from publication of the 2019 Official Publication (January 2020).

Thank you for signing and speaking up for honesty in pet food.

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