Every pet food label must contain a statement and validation of nutritional adequacy. AAFCO regulations allow two basic methods for pet food manufacturers to substantiate claims.
The formulation method requires the manufacturer to formulate the food to meet the AAFCO nutrient profiles for dogs and cats. This method is less time consuming and less expensive because feeding trials with pets are not required. This method requires only a calculation of the nutrient levels. An example of an AAFCO statement using the formulation method would be: “Brand Cat Food is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by AAFCO Cat Food Profiles for maintenance of adult cats.”
The feeding trial method requires the manufacturer to perform an AAFCO protocol feeding trial using the food as the sole source of nutrition. This method documents the pets’ performance when fed the food. An example of an AAFCO statement using the feeding trial method would be: “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Brand Dog Food provides complete and balanced nutrition for maintenance of adult dogs.”