Attending both annual AAFCO meeting costs approximately $3500, including dues, travel and hotel stays. This is why so many small batch pet food manufacturers (like our esteemed NGPFMA members!) miss out. Well, they used to miss out. Now, through AFFORDABLE Next Generation Pet Food Manufacturing Association membership, they not only get representation at this meeting, but they receive all pertinent information, changes, warnings of future changes so they are prepared, confident and always moving forward without the headaches of retroactively “cleaning up” or “catching up” to new policy, ingredient or legislative changes affecting our industry.
Below is a brief summary of what was covered at AAFCO’s August Annual meeting. If you want any further clarification, contact us here. Be sure to mention whether or not you’re an active Next Gen member.
- “Freeze dried” is formally defined. This is a first. The term has been used for almost 20 years, but it is only now formally defined, an addition which was proposed by me. Why? For so many, it may not seem important, but it is the first step towards modernizing AAFCO terms and regulations to also represent fresh pet food manufacturers. Hint: We have more definition updates in the works.
- Many feed ingredients, which our manufacturers don’t use, have been approved for use.
- Biggest news: AAFCO is recommending a six-year phase-in period for the new, modernized pet foods labels.These labels allow our manufacturers to more fully demonstrate their products. Carbs/fiber/sugar will now be presented rather than hidden as “ash.” You can wait. Or. You can embrace the future and start presenting this information to your consumers now. At NGPFMA, we recommend you update your labels at next printing. Consumers are waiting for the new labels. Lead the industry and provide it now. More details:
- There are 5 states that will immediately implement the new labeling rules in January 2024. These states are: Idaho, South Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, and New York.
- Many states have stated they will allow for a dual registration system. This means over the next six years, they will allow pet food manufacturers to use either of the old style or the new style pet food labels.
- There was a great debate about copper levels in pet food. While the ACVN (American College of Veterinary Nutrition) has not yet issued any policy statement, both AFIA and PFI, the big powerhouses in the grain and kibble industry, are adamantly opposed to any kind of “low copper“ labeling. These groups cite lack of data. Regardless of industry objections, AAFCO and the Pet Food Committee have agreed to commission a work group to address the copper issue in pet food.
- NOTE: NGPFMA will convene our panel of nutrition experts, to propose our own position paper on this topic – specifically as it pertains to the fresh food category
- On the political front, both AFIA and PFI, the two big powerhouses in the grain/kibble industry, have proposed legislation, which — among many suggestions — increases funding to the FDA. Sadly, in their proposals, these organizations do not account for very small manufacturers. These legislative efforts divide between manufacturers with more than 500 employees and less than 500 employees. They continue to ignore a small — but mighty and growing — fraction of the market place with small employee numbers but huge hearts for providing pet food that makes them proud and pets healthy!
Not to worry, though, Next Gen has secured a seat at the table and is representing your needs.