The label on a dog food product gives a great deal of information about the product inside the bag, box, can or carton. To interpret this data properly, it is necessary to know and understand the various parts of the label copy and the regulations involved. The purpose of this article is to explain current pet food regulations, and what the dog owner can determine from information provided on the label.
Each label shall show the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor of the dog food. If a manufacturer has several locations where dog food is produced, the name and address of that manufacturer's principal place of business will be used.
The net weight statement must be shown on the principal display panel. The declaration of the net weight shall be made in conformity with the U.S. Fair Packaging and Labeling Act and the regulations promulgated there under.
The figures for net weight will be in the lower one-third of the display panel, and the size of the numbers and letters will be determined by the package size.
Net weights may appear on other parts of the label as well as the principal display panel, particularly on larger package sizes. Net weight statement must include weight in metric conversion.
Nutritional Adequacy Statement
The label shall show whether or not the product provides complete and balanced nutrition, and if it is adequate for all life stages or just for a particular life stage, such as maintenance of the adult cat or dog.
Toll-Free Consumer Information Number
Although this is not a required element, some manufacturers include an 800 number on the label. This is an important element for consumers because it can be a source of information not available on the label and a way for dog owners to learn more about the product they are feeding.
Who Establishes and Governs Label Requirement Policies?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) develops the regulations for livestock and companion animal foods. The regulations are published annually in the AAFCO Official Publication.