Is there an AAFCO Nutrient Profile for All Life Stages?
The only two AAFCO nutrient profiles are Adult Maintenance and Growth and Reproduction. Dog food manufacturers can develop and market a product as suitable for all life stages, though.
Similarly, foods that fit into the Growth and Reproduction nutrient profile may state they are formulated for puppies or gestational mothers.
Does the FDA Regulate Pet Food?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) makes sure that the ingredients used in pet food are safe and have a purpose in pet food.
Some ingredients, like meat, poultry, and grains, are deemed safe. Other substances, like vitamins, minerals, flavorings, and preservatives, may be generally recognized as safe for an intended use. The FDA also regulates specific claims such as “low magnesium.”
The FDA requires that pet food packaging include:
Ingredients must be displayed in order of the largest amount to least amount by weight.
States may have their own regulations as well. Many states follow models based on AAFCO recommendations.
Does AAFCO Test Pet Foods or Regulate Pet Food Ingredients?
AAFCO does NOT directly test, regulate, approve, or certify pet foods to make sure that they meet the standard requirements. Instead, they establish guidelines for ingredient definitions, product labels, feeding trials, and laboratory analyses of the nutrients that go into pet foods.
Pet food companies then use third-party testing agencies to analyze their foods according to the AAFCO guidelines.
AAFCO guidelines for pet food labels include:
What dog foods are AAFCO approved?
Is Purina dog food AAFCO approved?
What is the AAFCO statement on dog food?