Every pet food needs to meet federal (FDA) and state regulatory standards before it gets anywhere near your pet’s bowl. Pet food companies follow these standards, which help make sure each food results in a positive outcome for your pet.
Purina® Pro Plan® always meets or exceeds AAFCO standards, and every Purina® Pro Plan® dog food formula combines high-quality ingredients for outstanding nutrition and a taste dogs love. We always craft our dry food with real meat, poultry, or fish, and our highly digestible formulas promote nutrient bioavailability.
WHAT IS AAFCO?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was established to help develop the standards for animal feed and pet foods. AAFCO has no regulatory authority and does not approve pet foods, but it instead establishes nutritional standards for complete and balanced pet foods. These AAFCO nutritional standards are often used to develop state regulations, and the FDA relies on AAFCO information when regulating pet food.
WHAT ARE DOG FOOD NUTRIENT PROFILES?
For a dog food to be considered complete and balanced under AAFCO requirements, the food must contain all the nutrients listed in the AAFCO dog food nutrient profiles at the specified levels.
AAFCO breaks down nutrient profiles into two categories: growth & reproduction and adult maintenance. Pet foods meeting the adult maintenance requirements are only designed for adult animals, while pet foods meeting the growth & reproduction requirements are designed for puppies and lactating mothers. If a pet food meets all the nutrient requirements of both growth & reproduction and adult maintenance, that pet food can be considered nutritionally adequate for “all life stages.”
There are two ways a dog food can be verified to meet the requirements of AAFCO nutritional adequacy standards. In one method, a dog food is formulated so that the nutrient levels meet the AAFCO nutritional standards. In the second method, the dog food is also analyzed in a laboratory and tested according to AAFCO-approved feeding trials. Feeding trials help make sure that a company’s foods result in positive outcomes for real pets.
WHAT IS AN AAFCO STATEMENT?
An AAFCO statement is printed on packaging to let consumers know that dog food has met the requirements of the AAFCO nutrient profiles and provides complete and balanced nutrition for the stated life stage(s). The claim also informs consumers whether the food meets AAFCO standards only through laboratory analysis or through both laboratory analysis and animal feeding trials.