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Phthalates

Phthalates

Phthalates, or phthalate esters, are esters of plastic. They are mainly used as plasticizers, i.e. substances added to plastics to increase their flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity.

Heavy Metals

Heavy Metals

The World Health Organization lists Cadmium, Mercury, Arsenic and Lead as highly poisonous major public concerns.

Macronutrients

Macronutrients

What are they?
Macronutrients are dietary elements required in large amounts for growth and development. These include Protein, Fat, Fiber and Carbohydrates. Macronutrients contain Micronutrients such as Vitamins, Minerals and Amino Acids.

Pet food products list guaranteed analyses on their package labels. In theory, these are accurate, or close to accurate. However, Protein and Fat are listed in minimum quantities. For example, if Protein says it’s 25% minimum, it could be 80% and still be in compliance. Fat is listed as a maximum, and carbohydrates are not required to be listed at all on your pets food nutrient analysis.

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DNA Analysis & Cross-Contamination

DNA Analysis & Cross-Contamination

What is DNA Analysis?DNA Analysis is a determination of cross-contamination or missing DNA containing ingredients. DNA is found in meat proteins such as chicken, pork, beef, insects, rodents, dogs, cats, etc. DNA is also found in fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. DNA is […]

Minerals

Minerals

Nutritional Minerals are essential nutrients that perform functions necessary for life, such as Calcium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium and Magnesium.

Phytic Acid

Phytic Acid

What is it?
Phytic Acid, also known as Phytates, are commonly found in plant seeds. This is a naturally occurring chemical that works as a protective mechanism to the plant, allowing it grow and not be over-consumed by animals. While Phytic Acid has some anti-oxidant effects, it also binds to Calcium, Iron, Zinc, and other nutrients, thus preventing their absorption and in use the body. This can lead to nutritional deficiencies.

Foods that are highest in phytic acid are soy, pinto beans, navy beans, kidney beans and peanuts though other beans, seeds, nuts and grains may be high in phytates as well.

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Veterinary Drug Residue

Veterinary Drug Residue

Vet Residues include hormones, antibiotics, steroids, and pentobarbital (euthanasia drugs). We test for 90 pet residues in foods.

Pathogens

Pathogens

What are Pathogens?

BPA

BPA

What is BPA?
Also known as bisphenol A, BPA is a chemical found in containers that store food and beverages. Research shows that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. BPA has been linked to negative health effects on the brain, behavior and prostate gland. It has also been linked to high blood pressure.

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B-Vitamins

B-Vitamins

B-Vitamins play an important role in metabolic reactions for energy production, red blood cell production, and regulation of mood.

Aflatoxins

Aflatoxins

Aflatoxins are poisonous, cancer-causing chemicals produced by certain molds which grow in soil, decaying vegetation, hay and grains. They have been the cause of numerous pet food recalls historically.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D

What is Vitamin D?
Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, normally sourced from sunlight, that increases intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium and phosphate. It is responsible for multiple body functions including regulating bone density, boosting immune health and reducing the risk of cancer.

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Glyphosate

Glyphosate

Glyphosate is a chemical compound of Monsanto’s pesticide, Roundup. Glyphosate has been implicated in increases in cancer in humans.

Amino Acids

Amino Acids

What are they?Amino Acids are the building blocks of proteins. When protein is consumed, whether it be from a meat, vegetable or grain source, the body breaks it up to access the amino acids within it. The body then uses those amino acids to build […]

Development of AAFCO Mineral Tolerances

Development of AAFCO Mineral Tolerances

From the AAFCO 2018 OP, page 153

The original Canine and Feline Nutrition Expert Subcommittees convened in 1990 were charged by the chair of the AAFCO Pet Food Committee to establish practical nutrient profiles for both dog and cat foods based on commonly used ingredients. These subcommittees established the “AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles” and the “AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles” that appeared in the Official Publication of the AAFCO in 1992 and 1993, respectively. The profiles were reviewed in 1994/1995 and updates to the maximum concentrations for Vitamin A in dog foods were implemented in 1996.

The National Research Council (NRC) in 2006 updated its published Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Nutrient Requirements of Cats in a single publication that combined recommendations for species. In 2007 the AAFCO Pet Food Committee again formed Canine and Feline Nutrition Expert Subcommittees and charged these subcommittees with the task of revising the AAFCO Nutrient Profiles in consideration of the information in the 2006 NRC Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats (2006 NRC). In addition, the subcommittees considered information in the NRC Mineral Tolerance of Animals Second Revision Edition, 2005 (2005 Mineral Tolerance of Animals). Finally, the subcommittees also reviewed and considered the recommended nutrient concentrations for dog and cat food products as published in February 2008 by the European Pet Food Industry Federation (Federation Europeenne de l’Industrie des Alimentis pour Animaux Familiers (FEDIAF)), titled F.E.D.I.A.F. Nutritional Guidelines for Complete and Complimentary Pet Food For Cats and Dogs, (FEDIAF Guidelines) that are roughly the European equivalent to the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles.

The AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles were designed to establish practical minimum and some maximum nutrient concentrations for dog and cat foods, formulated from commonly used, non-purified, complex ingredients. The concentrations differ from minimum nutrient requirements traditionally developed by the NRC Committee on Animal Nutrition. Many of the NRC minimum nutrient requirements are based on research with purified diets and/or highly bioavailable nutrient sources that are not practical to use in commercial dog and cat foods.

– AAFCO 2018 op

Therefore, unlike the previous NRC publications Nutrient Requirements of Dogs in 1985 and Nutrient Requirements of Cats in 1986, the Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats in 2006 contained two additional listings of nutrient concentrations for adequate intake and recommended allowance (RA) in additional to minimum requirements. The concentrations for RA’s of nutrients in the 2006 NRC are at least equal to, or greater than, concentrations for adequate intakes and minimum requirements, respectively, and are defined as “the concentration or amount of a nutrient in a diet formulated to support a given physiological state.” When appropriate, the RA takes into consideration the bioavailability of the nutrient. Thus, the Canine and Feline Nutrition Expert Subcommittees of 2007 primarily used the RA in the 2006 Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats in evaluating whether revision was needed to one or more of the minimum recommended concentrations in the profiles. Values for specific nutrient concentrations were added or modified where indicated and supported by recent scientific publications, practical experience, or unpublished data.

The AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles have been criticized and faulted for not explicitly indicating the apparent nutrient digestibility, sometimes called nutrient availability or bioavailability, required to make the listed concentrations adequate for meeting the animal’s daily requirements. When a minimum requirement has been established for a particular nutrient, the expected apparent digestibility to meet the minimum requirement for that nutrient at the recommended concentration listed in an AAFCO Nutrient Profile can be calculated using the formula:

[(minimum requirement) x (its apparent digestibility in the diet(s) used to establish the minimum requirement)/(recommended concentration in the AAFCO profile)} x 100.

In the above formula, the minimum requirement is expressed in the same units as in the AAFCO Nutrient Profile and digestibility is expressed in decimal equivalents. As an example, the NRC lists the minimum crude protein requirement for puppies to be met by formulas containing 18% crude protein on a dry matter basis with the digestibility of the protein sources estimated to be near 100%. The 2016 AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for Growth and Reproduction recommends the minimum crude protein concentration of dry matter to be 22.5%. Therefore, the expected apparent digestibility for crude protein in a diet formulated to meet the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profile for Growth and Reproduction s at least 80% [(18 x (1.00)/22.5) x 100]

For nutrients known to be essential, but that lack sufficient data to establish a minimum requirement, the typical digestibility for the nutrient in ingredients and food matrices similar to those used to establish the apparent amount to fulfill the animal’s need for the nutrient should be ensured. The 2006 Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats discusses average or typical apparent digestibility for such nutrients when explaining how a RA was set. As an example, for adult dogs there is not established minimum requirement for iron, although iron is considered essential for adult dogs. In setting the RA of 30 mg/kg in dietary dry matter for adult maintenance, the NRC subcommittee considered the apparent digestibility of iron to be 20%. However, the explanatory text in the publication notes that measured apparent digestibility of iron in the scientific literature has ranged from close to 100% to less than 10%, and is affected by numerous factors such as the specific source of iron, the concentration of other specific minerals or other ingredients in the diet, as well as the iron status of the animal.

The specific example for iron can be generalized to most essential minerals, and demonstrates the impossibility that any list of concentrations can invariably ensure that all nutrient requirements are fulfilled in all diet formulas without additional considerations. As stated for the previous editions of the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles, formulating a product according to the Profiles is only one part of a nutritionally sound, scientific development that must consider all other aspects of the product. The fact that a dog or cat food is formulated to meet a specific AAFCO Profile should not deter or discourage the manufacturer from conducting appropriate feeding trials to further confirm and ensure the diet is nutritionally adequate for its intended use.

Indications regarding expected nutrient availability from some ingredient sources are given in footnotes. It is important to read the footnotes to the tables as they contain information critical to many of the recommended concentrations. Additionally, manufacturers must make allowances to nutrient concentrations prior to processing to account for losses during processing and subsequent storage. The recommended concentration in the Profiles are those expected to be present at the time the formula is consumed by the animal.

The established profiles are the “AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles” and “AAFCO Cat Food Nutrient Profiles” as the terms are applied in AAFCO model pet food regulations referring to nutritional adequacy. Under these model regulations, dog and cat food substantiated for nutritional adequacy by reference to the AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for a designated life stage(s) must be formulated to contain at least the minimum concentrations of nutrients specified in the Profiles, and, for some nutrients, not more than any maximum concentration listed for that specific nutrient in the Profiles as shown in this section. Products with their nutritional adequacy substantiated by AAFCO Feeding Protocols are not mandated to meet the minimum or maximum concentrations listed in the Profiles. Additionally, snacks, treats or products intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only are not mandated to meet the concentrations in the Profiles unless their labeling references the Profiles.

The AAFCO Dog and Cat Food Nutrient Profiles and the AAFCO Feeding Protocols are the only methods recognized by AAFCO for substantiating the nutritional adequacy of “complete and balanced” dog or cat foods. If a product is substantiated by a feeding trial and does not meet the AAFCO Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profiles, the label cannot reference the profiles. An unqualified reference to an AAFCO Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profile is an implied guarantee that the product contains the minimum concentrations for all nutrients in the profile and no more than any maximum concentration listed for a specific nutrient in the profile.

Minimum and some maximum nutrient concentrations were established in the Profiles for two categories; growth and reproduction (gestation/lactation), and adult maintenance. Maximum nutrient concentrations were established for nutrients were the potential for overuse or toxicity is of concern and likely to occur if attention is not paid to the concentrations of those nutrients.

The absence of a maximum concentration should not be interpreted to mean that nutrients without a specific maximum content are safe at any concentration. Rather, it reflects the lack of information in dogs and cats on toxic concentrations of that nutrient. Establishing a maximum concentration implies safety below that concentration for long term consumption and to set a maximum arbitrarily might prove worse than no maximum at all.

The nutrient concentrations are expressed on a dry matter (DM) basis and at a specific caloric density. Diets should be corrected for caloric density as indicated (by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles Based on Dry Matter). Reference to the concentration of nutrients on a product label in the guaranteed analysis must be expressed in the same units and order as given in the AAFCO Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profiles. For the purposes of determining metabolizable energy (ME), use the methods specified in Model Regulation PF9.

Vitamin D Regulation

Vitamin D Regulation

What do AAFCO, FDA, NRC, CDC, DOA’s, and other regulatory bodies have to say about regulation?

Mineral Regulation

Mineral Regulation

AAFCO and NRC regulatory data

Heavy Metal Regulation

Heavy Metal Regulation

What are Heavy Metals? Click here.

AAFCO – Heavy Metal regulation
AAFCO Official Publication 2019, page 298, Table 2. Official Guidelines Suggested for Contaminants in Individual Mineral Feed Ingredients
(listed in Maximum Tolerance Level in Complete Feed (a))

1. HIGHLY TOXIC – Prohibited Above 500 ppm
(Typical analysis not suggested below level – 5 ppm. Typical Analysis suggested between – 5-500ppm)
Cadmium – 0.5 ppm Maximum
Mercury – 2ppm Maximum
Selenium – 2 ppm Maximum

2. TOXIC – Prohibited Above 1,000 ppm
(Typical analysis not suggested below level – 100 ppm. Typical Analysis suggested between – 100-1,000 ppm)
Lead – 30 ppm Maximum
Cobalt – 10 ppm Maximum
Molybdenum – 10 ppm Maximum
Vanadium – 10 ppm Maximum
Barium – 20 ppm Maximum
Tungsten – 20 ppm Maximum
Copper – 25 ppm Maximum

3. MODERATELY TOXIC – Prohibited Above 2,000 ppm
(Typical analysis not suggested below level – 500 ppm. Typical Analysis suggested between – 500-2,000 ppm)
Arsenic – 50 ppm Maximum
Nickel – 50 ppm Maximum
Iodine – 50 ppm Maximum
Antimony – 70 ppm Maximum

(a) Dietary level that, for a limited period, will not impair animal performance and should not produce unsafe residues in human food derived from that animal. Values cited are those for the most sensitive animal species in “Mineral Tolerance of Domestic Animals,” National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, Washington, DC (1980).

Table 3. Approximate Dilution Factors and Typical Contaminant Levels of AAFCO-Defined Mineral Feed Ingredients (Adapted from “NFIA Mineral Ingredients Handbook,” National Feed Ingredients Association, 1979 Edition, and from “AFIA Feed Ingredient Guide,” American Feed Industry Association, Inc. –
TYPICAL CONTAMINANT LEVELS of Synthetic Mineral Ingredients –
Calcium – Arsenic, 2.5ppm; Lead, 5-30ppm; Mercury, 0.05ppm; Cadmium, 5-10ppm
Phosphorus – Arsenic, 2-5ppm; Lead, 5-30ppm; Mercury, 0.05ppm; Cadmium, 5-10ppm
Potassium – Arsenic, 1ppm; Lead, 1ppm; Mercury, 1ppm; Cadmium, —
Salt – Arsenic, —; Lead, —; Mercury, 0ppm; Cadmium, —
Sulfur – Arsenic, 1ppm; Lead, 1ppm; Mercury, 1ppm; Cadmium, —
Cobalt – Arsenic, 2-20ppm; Lead, 1-20ppm; Mercury, 1-20ppm; Cadmium, 2-200ppm
Copper – Arsenic, 3-100ppm; Lead, 9-600ppm; Mercury, 1ppm; Cadmium, 2-100ppm
Iron – Arsenic, 1-50ppm; Lead, 1-90ppm; Mercury, 1ppm; Cadmium, —
Iodine – Arsenic, 2ppm; Lead, 3ppm; Mercury, 2ppm; Cadmium, 1ppm
Manganese– Arsenic, 2-100ppm; Lead, 1-90ppm; Mercury, —; Cadmium, 1-20ppm
Magnesium – Arsenic, 1-10ppm; Lead, 1-20ppm; Mercury, 0.1-5ppm; Cadmium, 1ppm
Selenium – Arsenic, —; Lead, —; Mercury, 10-1,000ppm; Cadmium, 1-5ppm
Zinc – Arsenic, 10-800ppm; Lead, 100-2,000ppm; Mercury, 1ppm; Cadmium, 80-500ppm

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B-Vitamin Regulation

B-Vitamin Regulation

AAFCO regulatory data

Aflatoxin Regulation

Aflatoxin Regulation

What are Aflatoxins? Click here. FDA RegulationActions Levels for Aflatoxins in Animal Feed* – Compliance Policy Guide, Sec. 683.100In 1969, FDA set an action level for aflatoxins at 20 parts per billion (ppb) for all foods, including animal food, based on FDA’s analytical capability and […]

Amino Acid Regulation

Amino Acid Regulation

What are Amino Acids? Click here.

AAFCO Methods for Substantiating Nutritional Adequacy of Dog and Cat Foods – (page 4, 5 and 6)
Adult Maintenance Levels
Arginine – 0.51% or 1.28g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum- not established
Histidine – 0.19% or 0.48g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum – not established
Isoleucine – 0.38% or 0.95g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum- not established
Leucine – 0.68% or 1.70g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum- not established
Lysine – 0.63% or 1.58g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum- not established
Methionine – 0.33% or 0.83g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum – not established
Methionine-Cystine – 0.65% minimum or 1.63g/1,000kcal ME, maximum – not established
Phenylalanine – 0.45% minimum or 1.13g/1,000kcal ME, maximum – not established
Phenylalanine-Tyrosine – 0.74% or 1.85g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum – not established
Threonine – 0.48% or 1.20g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum- not established
Tryptophan – 0.16% or 0.40g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum- not established
Valine – 0.49% or 1.23g/1,000kcal ME minimum, maximum- not established

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