Pet Food Labeling & Guaranteed Analysis

by | Mar 10, 2021 | 0 comments

Pet food is a growing industry. Besides trying to avoid fraud or harmful ingredients, people are also becoming more invested in their pets’ wellbeing and more informed of their dog’s or cat’s unique nutritional needs and preferences. Many pet owners are seeking to satisfy these needs with new, high-quality pet food.

Pet Food Labeling Requirements

Even though your pet isn’t going to be reading a nutrition facts label anytime soon, there are still certain rules about information that must be provided on a dog food label or cat food label.  If you’re creating a new cat food or dog food, you’ll want to make sure you meet all the pet food labeling requirements – which are provided by the FDA, individual states, and the AAFCO.

Pet food is regulated differently than food for humans. In contrast to human food, where the FDA establishes extensive rules regarding nutrition labeling, there are comparatively few FDA label requirements for pet food. FDA labeling requirements demand that you display a reasonable, accurate product name; how much pet food is in the package; the manufacturer’s name and address; and list the ingredients with their correct name, in order by weight[1]. Furthermore, in addition to the federal FDA guidelines, each state has its own set of rules about pet food labeling. You will want to make sure that you comply with regulations in all the states in which you might sell your pet food.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials, or AAFCO, helps simplify this. Although this organization is independent of the government, it sets guidelines that almost all states have adopted for their own pet food labeling requirements – so by following the AAFCO’s guidelines, your cat or dog food label will either comply with the requirements in your state or exceed them[2].

Besides providing all the information outlined in the FDA label requirements, AAFCO guidelines require dog and cat food labels to contain some additional information. This includes an AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy[3]; the metabolic energy, or ME (how many calories are in the pet food); and what’s called a “Guaranteed Analysis” for dog or cat food. A Guaranteed Analysis is basically a simple nutritional analysis for pet food. Performed in a food testing lab, the Guaranteed Analysis will let you know the amounts of protein, fat, moisture, fiber, and ash (i.e., minerals) that your pet food contains. These amounts will be displayed on your cat or dog food label, similar to a nutrition facts label on human food.

Pet Food Labeling with RL Food Testing Laboratory

RL Food Testing Laboratory can help you get the information you need to make your dog or cat food label, and to make sure you meet the labeling requirements. Our food test lab will do all the pet food testing needed to supply you with a detailed Guaranteed Analysis that meets the AAFCO label requirements – minimum crude fat and protein, maximum fiber and moisture, and ash. We will also calculate the ME (metabolic energy, or caloric statement) for your product. In addition, we’ll create an ingredients list, so that you can be confident that your ingredient statement complies with FDA and AAFCO label requirements for pet food labeling.

To get started, you can either call, email, or fill out the form on our website, or go right ahead and start filling out our Lab Information form (this would need a link to the lab information form). You’ll then send samples of your dog or cat food to our pet food testing lab for cat or dog food analysis, and as soon as testing is done – usually only two weeks – you’ll receive your results in the form of a clear, easy-to-understand report. RL Food Testing Laboratory is ready to help you get your pet food onto the shelves!

[1] https://www.fda.gov/animal-veterinary/animal-health-literacy/pet-food-labels-general

[2] https://petfood.aafco.org/Starting-a-Pet-Food-Business#regulated

[3] The AAFCO statement of nutritional adequacy on a cat or dog food label lets customers know that the cat or dog food contains all the nutrients necessary to meet the pet’s nutritional needs, and therefore can be used as the sole source of food for a cat or dog. To meet the requirements, the product must be formulated to include all these nutrients, or must undergo live animal feeding tests. RL Food Testing Laboratory does not offer this type of live test.

Pet Food Labeling with RL Food Testing Laboratory

RL Food Testing Laboratory can help you get the information you need to make your dog or cat food label, and to make sure you meet the labeling requirements. Our food test lab will do all the pet food testing needed to supply you with a detailed Guaranteed Analysis that meets the AAFCO label requirements – minimum crude fat and protein, maximum fiber and moisture, and ash. We will also calculate the ME (metabolic energy, or caloric statement) for your product. In addition, we’ll create an ingredients list, so that you can be confident that your ingredient statement complies with FDA and AAFCO label requirements for pet food labeling.

To get started, you can either call, email, or fill out the form on our website, or go right ahead and start filling out our Lab Information form (this would need a link to the lab information form). You’ll then send samples of your dog or cat food to our pet food testing lab for cat or dog food analysis, and as soon as testing is done – usually only two weeks – you’ll receive your results in the form of a clear, easy-to-understand report. RL Food Testing Laboratory is ready to help you get your pet food onto the shelves!

About Muriel Allen

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