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Thursday, October 8, 2009

March 2009 Newsletter

Last month we talked about recall pet food. This month we want to tell you what the difference is between natural food and organic food. We did some research and found the definitions of both of these food groups in one of the publications that we receive. It was written by Karen M Alley.

The term "organic," "all natural and "Human-grade" are just a few of the new words popping up on pet food packaging. What do they mean, and who make sure claims are sub-stantiated? (means to verify or approve)

The Association of American Feed Control Officials Inc. (West Lafayette, Ind.) regulates pet foods. The private organization is made up of government officials from different states and organizations; the Food and Drug Administration is one of its members. After the massive pet recall of 2007, however, Congress called for the FDA to create-by September--its own pet food regulations and set standards for nutrition, labeling and ingredients. In the mean time, pet food consultant Davis Dzanis explains common label terms:

NATURAL: Products with no synthetic ingredients per AAFCO. Many pet foods that contain mostly all-natural ingredients also include synthetic vitamins and minerals to meet AAFCO requirements; these include the disclaimer "natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals."

ORGANIC: Products that contain 95% or more organic ingredients can be labeled "USDA Organic." Such claims, which are regulated by by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, pertain to processes, not to safety or nutrients. An approved organization must certify pet foods before a company can make the "organic" claim. The USDA is working on regulations for organic pet foods, which AAFCO will recognize. They will have no comply to Natural Organic Program regulations.

HUMAN GRADE: Debate swirls around how to define this term and whether or not it misleads people into thinking the food is suitable for human consumption. The AAFCO has released no official definition.

Remember we are not professional doctors, and you should always read instructions and talk to your vet about what is best for your pets.

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