What Is AAFCO?
Video: Dr. Justin Shmalberg, DVM
Created by Dr. Shmalberg, fresh dog food, individually portioned and delivered to your door.
AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials, and you'll notice many of their statements on the dog food you buy. It is important to keep in mind that AAFCO is a voluntary organization, and not actually who is responsible for regulating dog food (that falls under the FDA, Food and Drug Administration). Dog food regulations must occur at a state level, though many states defer to AAFCO's regulations as the FDA's primary focus is on human food. AAFCO includes committee members and advisors from many major pet food companies.
** All NomNomNow recipes meet (and exceed) AAFCO standards for all life stages.
On most foods that you might encounter, you will find an AAFCO statement. AAFCO is not a regulatory organization, but it is a consortium of feed control officers from different states. They get together and establish model regulations for pet foods. Given that most states, at least in the US, follow those regulations, the bags are going to conform typically to those suggested regulations.
AFFCO is going to require things like the guaranteed analysis, the ingredient list, and also have input on what you can or cannot say and how you label the bulk of your packaging within the diet itself. The AAFFO does not, therefore, go and regulate anything; it is actually the states that are responsible for following recommendations and producing their own regulations, but for a diet to be sold between states, it should have a complete and balanced moniker at the bottom, so there should be a clear statement that it is good for certain life stages.
For instance, if it is for adults, it will say that it is formulated to be complete and balanced for adult maintenance. If it is for puppies, it should talk about growth and development and if it can be given to pregnant or lactating dogs. It will certainly say that it is balanced for gestation as well. If it is an all-life-stages food, that means it can be fed to any of those classifications of dogs. The AAFCO is going to provide those regulations to the different states, and the states are going to make sure that different foods are in compliance with that particular statement and recommendations