Pet Food is One of the Most Regulated Foods

In the United States, pet food is among the most highly regulated of all food products. Currently, before an ingredient can be included in a pet food recipe, it must be recognized/accepted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), an organization of state and federal officials, develops model regulations for the state-level regulation of pet food and recognizes safe, usable ingredients for U.S. pet food makers.

Pet food makers and their suppliers have always been required to market safe products under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) of 1938. The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), signed into law in 2011, is the most comprehensive change to U.S. food safety regulation in more than 70 years. The law, passed by Congress in 2010 and signed into law by the President in 2011, requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and food producers to focus on preventing foodborne illness.

Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)

FDA issued its final regulation for animal food under FSMA in September 2015 that enhances and formalizes many of the safety measures PFI members already had in place.

FSMA impacts human and pet food alike in three ways by:

  • Creating a shift toward food safety regulation that focuses on preventing the causes of foodborne illness, rather than reacting to them;
  • Providing a new authority for FDA to conduct facility inspections and verify FSMA compliance; and
  • Outlining more detailed requirements to ensure that imported foods meets U.S. food safety standards.

PFI has worked from rulemaking through implementation to ensure our members are well aware of their FSMA obligations. Our efforts will continue through the compliance and enforcement phase, and PFI will engage our members, federal and state regulators, and other stakeholders to make sure FSMA expectations are clearly understood by pet food and treat makers, as well as FDA and state officials conducting FSMA compliance and surveillance.

In this regard, PFI is active in the Food Safety Preventive Controls Alliance (FSPCA), a public-private coalition that developed a standardized, detailed curriculum to assist the food industry, including pet food makers, in meeting FSMA requirements and providing FDA and state officials with training and inspection guidance. Click here for more information on the FSPCA.

PFI and affiliated animal feed associations also hosted a FSCPA lead instruction training and workshop in July 2016. Click here to read more.

Learn more about FSMA implementation.

Learn more about pet food labeling requirements.

Learn more about the state-level regulation of pet food.