AAFCO is the Association of American Feed Control Officials. This voluntary membership association includes local, state and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies.
AAFCO is not a government agency and has no regulatory authority, though it does recognize laws administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In fact, many states have adopted the model pet food regulations established by AAFCO into state laws.
AAFCO establishes model regulations, labeling and nutritional standards, as well as ingredient definitions. Uniformity of standards and definitions for pet food labels helps make labels easier for you to understand as you select the appropriate product for your pet.
Pet food that is labeled with a “complete and balanced” nutritional adequacy statement for animals of a certain life stage can only do so if they have met the stringent standards established by AAFCO, substantiated by laboratory analysis, feeding trials, or analysis comparable in nutritional adequacy.