NCWM's pet treat labeling proposal causes concern

New regulation proposal may create confusion among industry, state law and federal law.

May 13, 2019

2 Min Read
NCWM's pet treat labeling proposal causes concern

The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee has sent notice to manufacturers of pet treats about a new regulation proposal that may create confusion among industry, state law and federal law.

At issue is NIST Definition 2.37 Pet Treats or Chews – Digestible chews, rawhides, bones, biscuits, antlers or similar type products shall be sold by weight.

According to the National Conference on Weights & Measures' (NCWM) new approach to regulating the quantity statement of pet treats or chews listed, AAFCO said the definition may cause issues between feed regulatory programs and their weights and measures colleagues.

Most states adopt a form of the AAFCO Model Bill & Regulations from the AAFCO Official Publication. In this, both the Model Regulation (Regulation 3(a) (8)) and Pet Food Regulations (PF2 (3)) require a “quantity statement” on the label. The term “quantity statement” is defined as “the net weight (mass), liquid measure or count.” Additionally, in 21 CFR 501.8 (A), the requirement for the “statement of net quantity” allows count, which coincides with the AAFCO Model Regulation. Furthermore, NCWM’s proposed definition does not define what is considered a “pet” and, therefore, could include something other than a dog, a cat or a specialty pet, AAFCO stated.

At the state level, with the changes proposed by NCWM, there may also be a conflict for those states that may adopt similar language from Model Bill, Model Regulation, Code of Federal Regulations and laws or rules referencing weights and measures programs, unless the state chooses not to adopt the new language proposed by NCWM.

When NIST Definition 2.37 is enforced, a precarious dichotomy will arise, AAFCO said. While there isn’t an issue to meet commercial feed labeling requirements for those companies that only use “net weight” on labeling, it will be an issue for those companies that meet the same commercial feed labeling requirements when stating only by count on labeling. Companies that are compliant with commercial feed labeling requirements could be deemed non-compliant under the new weights and measures regulations and would be assessed penalties. This situation demonstrates a need for harmonization of regulatory language between AAFCO and NCWM, AAFCO said.

For this reason, AAFCO is asking industry professionals to contact NCWM in writing and state why this new definition and requirement is not consistent with current labeling practices by states or the Food & Drug Administration and how it will affect business if these changes are made.

NCWM will hold a meeting July 14, 2019, in Milwaukee, Wis., where the committee plans to vote on the definition.

Contact information for is:
1135 M St., Suite 110
Lincoln, NE 68508
Phone: (402) 434-4880
Email: [email protected]

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