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Dog food packaging and labeling

Dog food packaging and labeling

Labeling laws differ from country to country; there is no world standard. In the United States, pet-food labeling is regulated at both the federal level and the state level, while in Europe each country has its own legislation.
dog-food-packaging-and-labeling
dog-food-packaging-and-labeling
U.S. federal regulations, enforced by the CVM (Center for Veterinary Medicine) of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), establish standards that are applicable for all animal foods:
* Proper identification of the product
* Net quantity statement
* Manufacturer's address
* Proper listing of ingredients
Some states also enforce their own labeling regulations. Many states have adopted the model established by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials). These regulations cover aspects of labeling such as the product name, guaranteed analysis, nutritional adequacy statement, feeding directions, and declaration of the caloric content.

Decoding the ingredients:

Ingredients are listed in descending order of inclusion rate. The term "meat" must refer only to striated muscle, with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of skin, sinew, nerve, and blood vessels that normally accompany the flesh.
If the label states "meat meal," however, this can refer to a rendered product from mammalian tissues.
 If a product is named "rabbit for dogs" or "lamb for dogs," it must contain at least 95 percent rabbit or lamb in the pack. If two or more major ingredients are in the name, then the combined inclusion of the named ingredients must be no less than 95 percent.
 If the ingredient name is qualified by another term—for example, "rabbit dinner for dogs"—then it must contain at least 25 percent of that ingredient. Similarly, for two or more ingredients, the combined inclusion should be 25 percent or more. The ingredients list will identify other items, which should be carefully checked, especially if a dog has a known allergy to a particular ingredient.
 A manufacturer can only highlight another ingredient on the label (say a herb or cheese) if it comprises at least 3 percent of the final formulation. And if the food is labeled "rabbit flavor," the writing for both words must be in the same size, style, and color.
 The water content of a product is important and can affect its feeding value ("meat" contains about 75 percent moisture, "meat meal" only about 25 percent). A food may contain a maximum of 78 percent moisture, unless it is labeled "in gravy," "in sauce," or "stew." The water content affects the proportions of other ingredients, so a product with more moisture may contain a higher proportion of protein than a drier food, despite a much lower declared percentage of protein.
 If labeling implies that a food can be used on its own—for example, "complete" or "balanced'—then it must comply with the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile. The claims "natural," "gourmet," and ",premium" have no legally controlled status.
 Minor ingredients are often vitamins and minerals and may include artificial colors, stabilizers, or preservatives. Ethoxyquin (an artificial antioxidant) is still permitted in pet food.
 Regulations can only protect the consumer to a certain extent, and it is impossible to legislate for every eventuality. It must also be remembered that each dog is an individual and may not suit a particular manufacturer's product. Buying fresh food from a known source and preparing it at home offers protection against the pitfalls of the system, and fresh food should be healthier than processed food. Flowever, variety and moderation are bywords to ensure a balanced diet over time.

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