There have been several recalls lately that have significantly impacted the supply and availability of pet food. As a pet owner, I am very disappointed that commercial pet food manufacturers are not following the required guidelines set by certain organizations. The two most well-known organizations that regulate the quality and safety of pet food are AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) and WSAVA (World Small Animal Veterinary Association).
What is AAFCO?
The AAFCO guidelines were developed specifically for North America, while the WSAVA was developed for all pet foods worldwide. Both organizations are made up of veterinarians, animal nutritionists, and other experts in the field.
The AAFCO is a non-profit organization that regulates the labeling and sale of pet food in the United States. The organization does not test products or ingredients themselves, but they do develop nutritional and ingredient definitions that pet food manufacturers must follow. The AAFCO also provides guidance to state feed control officials, who are responsible for enforcing the requirements within their states.
What is WSAVA?
The WSAVA is a global organization of veterinarians that aims to improve animal health and welfare through the development of science-based veterinary guidelines. One of these guidelines is the World Small Animal Veterinary Association Petfood Industry Guide to Manufacturing Dog and Cat Food. This guide was developed by veterinary nutritionists from around the world with input from commercial pet food manufacturers, animal feed regulators, and other experts in the field.
AAFCO vs WSAVA
While both organizations have similar goals, there are some key differences between AAFCO and WSAVA guidelines.
- The most significant difference is that the AAFCO guidelines are mandatory in the United States, while the WSAVA guidelines are voluntary.
- The AAFCO also has a more specific and detailed set of requirements for pet food manufacturers, while the WSAVA guidelines are less prescriptive. For example, the AAFCO requires pet food manufacturers to include specific ingredient definitions and minimum daily requirements for nutrients, while the WSAVA guidelines are more general in nature.
- AAFCO was founded in 1909 and is made up of state and federal regulatory officials, while the WSAVA was founded in 1959 and is made up of veterinarians from around the world.
- Though independent from US government agencies such as FDA, AAFCO is generally considered to be the official regulatory agency that oversees pet food manufacturing in the United States. On the other hand, all WSAVA recommendations are voluntary.
- AAFCO receives 35% ($70,000) of its funding from a $1.5M federal fund, and 65% ($130,000) from non-federal sources. On the other hand, WSAVA is funded by dog food brands such as Purina, Royal Canin, and others.
- Since AAFCO does not rely on funding from dog and cat food manufacturers, it is independent and its recommendations are more widely accepted than WSAVA which is funded by private companies.
- AAFCO’s recommendations follow a more prescriptive approach while WSAVA’s guidelines are more general and flexible.
While both AAFCO and the WSAVA have similar goals of ensuring the safety and quality of pet food, their approaches and guidelines differ in several key ways. Overall, I believe that AAFCO provides a stronger framework for regulating pet food manufacturing in the United States.
What dog food brands are AAFCO and WSAVA-approved?
Some of the most popular dog food brands that are AAFCO-approved include Purina, Royal Canin, and Hills Science Diet. Some WSAVA-approved dog foods include Iams and Eukanuba.
AAFCO vs FEDIAF
When it comes to pet food, there are two main organizations that provide guidance on manufacturing and labeling: the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF). Both AAFCO and FEDIAF are made up of experts in animal nutrition and feeding, including veterinarians, animal scientists, and pet food manufacturers.
There are some key differences between AAFCO and FEDIAF guidelines. The most significant difference is that AAFCO guidelines are mandatory in the United States, while FEDIAF guidelines are voluntary.
Similar to the WSAVA-AAFCO distinction above, FEDIAF has fewer prescriptive recommendations than AAFCO.
The AAFCO also has a more specific and detailed set of requirements for pet food manufacturers, while the FEDIAF guidelines are less prescriptive. For example, the AAFCO requires pet food manufacturers to include specific ingredient definitions and minimum daily requirements for nutrients, while the FEDIAF guidelines are more general in nature.
FEDIAF’s guiding principles are based on the “Precautionary Principle”, which states that action should be taken to prevent harm, even when there is scientific uncertainty about the risks.
In contrast, AAFCO takes a more risk-based approach, making decisions based on the available scientific evidence.
For example, FEDIAF recommends that pet food manufacturers use the “minimal processing” approach when making pet food, while AAFCO does not have a specific requirement for minimal processing.
Below is an example of FEDIAF requirements
AAFCO vs CVM
The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is a branch of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that regulates pet food manufacturing in the United States. In contrast, the American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an independent non-profit organization that provides guidance and standards for pet food manufacturers.
While both AAFCO and CVM work to ensure the safety and quality of pet food, they have different approaches and areas of focus.
The CVM is focused on the scientific evaluation of pet food ingredients and their safety, while AAFCO is focused on the regulatory aspects of pet food manufacturing.
The CVM has the authority to mandate recalls of pet food products, while AAFCO does not have this power.
The CVM also enforces the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which requires pet food manufacturers to list all ingredients on the product label. In contrast, AAFCO only provides guidance on ingredient labeling, and it is up to each individual state to enforce this requirement.
AAFCO vs FDA:
The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is an independent non-profit organization that provides guidance and standards for pet food manufacturers. The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is a branch of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that regulates pet food manufacturing in the United States.
AAFCO is different from FDA in that it is focused on the regulatory aspects of pet food manufacturing, while FDA is focused on the scientific evaluation of pet food ingredients and their safety. AAFCO does not have the authority to mandate recalls of pet food products, while FDA does have this power.
AAFCO only provides guidance on ingredient labeling, while FDA requires pet food manufacturers to list all ingredients on the product label.
In general, FDA has more authority over pet food manufacturers than AAFCO. For example, FDA enforces stricter regulations on ingredient sourcing and animal testing, while AAFCO does not have any specific requirements in these areas. Ultimately, it is up to pet food manufacturers to decide whether or not they wish to follow the guidelines set by AAFCO or FDA.
Q: is Purina one aafco approved?
A: Purina One is AAFCO and WSAVA-approved dog food brand.
Q: is Nutro AAFCO approved?
A: Yes, Nutro is an AAFCO-approved pet food brand.
Q: is Farmina AAFCO approved?
A: Farmina which began its operations in the US in 2013 has received the AAFCO approval. This Italian-based company also meets the strict standards set by the European Union.
Q: Which dog food is WSAVA-approved?
A: Check out all WSAVA-approved dog food.
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Hi there! My name is Ben Domb, an owner of two pets and I am one of the co-founders of OurPets HQ. I have several years of experience as a pet care professional in the New England region having spent time in various roles including a stint at a veterinary hospital in Upstate New York, Syracuse area. I am a certified pet care professional and mostly spend my time researching pet nutrition and sharing my thoughts in various blogs and columns. With quarantine and COVID restrictions, I have been spending a lot of time a lot with my dogs and cat and loving it! I also run a small consulting business providing advice to parents on pet nutrition, and especially safe homemade options to try. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org