AAFCO Standards

AAFCO stands for Association of American Feed Control Officials. This organization sets the nutritional standards for pet foods sold in the United States. These standards are also recognized in Canada. The nutritional adequacy of pet foods is generally determined by one of two methods based on nutritional levelsand procedures defined by AAFCO:

Feeding trial method

  • This method is also known as the “Gold Standard” for determining nutritional adequacy. The manufacturer must perform an AAFCO protocol feeding trial using the food being tested as the sole source of nutrition
  • Feeding trials are the best way to document how a pet will perform when fed a specific food

Formulation method

  • This method is less expensive and results are determined more quickly as actual feeding or digestibility trials are not required
  • There is NO guarantee of pet acceptance or nutrient bioavailability when utilizing this method. “Brand X Cat Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for Maintenance”. “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Brand Y Adult dog food provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs”.

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