Pet Food Registration

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has nationwide authority over all foods including pet food registration. Each state also has its own laws that mirror the FDA’s law – often simply incorporating FDA regulations as their own.

Additionally, when it comes to animal feed and pet food, individual states have numerous requirements and enforcement power that the FDA does not have.

All U.S. states, except for Alaska and Hawaii, have product and company registration for all animal feeds.

Most states have adopted the Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) model labeling rules – creating labeling requirements above and beyond those imposed by the FDA.

State regulators tend to have and use stronger enforcement powers than the FDA, and often have product pulled off retailer’s shelves when they determine that it is not compliant.

Navigating each state’s regulatory peculiarities while still complying with the FDA’s regulations requires knowledge of all the regulatory entities. An FDA attorney has the experience to guide you through the process and help you correctly label your feed and pet food products.

Pet Food Registration & Tonnage

For any product intended for nationwide distribution, the state product registration and tonnage reporting requirement can be shockingly cumbersome. Each state has unique laws governing product registration and tonnage reporting, forms and applications, renewal dates, and fee schedules.

That means dozens of applications and applicable renewal dates. It also means keeping up with new documentation requirements and fee calculations for each state – and these change every year.

We can review your product lines and supply chain, estimate your fees, file your applications, and protect your interests with the regulators in each state.

AAFCO Labeling

State regulators will often review your animal feed and pet food labels when they receive your product registration applications. If they find problems with the labels, they will withhold registration until the issues are resolved.

To prevent this from happening, a pre-application label review by an FDA attorney can help you get your registration issued quickly and efficiently.

FDA labeling for animal food is slightly less complex than for human food. For the most part, you need to have non-misleading claims and the following basic requirements: Statement of identity, net quantity statement, ingredients list, and the name and address of the manufacturer, packer, or distributor.

State Rules

The state rules – adopted from AAFCO model rules – add nutritional information, such as guaranteed analysis. In effect, the guaranteed analysis is a species and food-specific analog to the nutrition facts panel required for human foods, stating minimum and maximum guaranteed amounts of various nutrients (e.g., crude fiber, protein, and fat).

We have experience with both FDA and AAFCO model rules and can help bring your labels into compliance before you file your registration.

Terms to Familiarize Yourself With
Learning these terms will help you understand feed and pet food labels and registration.

AAFCO – The Association of American Feed Control Officials that consists of local, state, and federal regulators. They establish standards for animal feed and pet food.

Guaranteed Analysis – A nutritional chart required on animal food labels that sets forth nutritional minimum and maximum guarantees of certain nutrients. The number and type of nutrients listed in the guaranteed analysis depend, in part, on the species for which the product is sold.

Tonnage – A state-level means to track and tax your products based on the tons of product you sell in the state. Only about 1/3 of the states require tonnage reporting and fees.

How an FDA Attorney Can Help
Hiring an experienced FDA attorney can help by providing you legal advice on how to comply with all U.S. states and the FDA. We can help you specifically with the following:
  • Pre-Application Label Reviews: Bringing your product labels into compliance before submitting them to the government.
  • Product and Company Registration: We can file these applications and interact with the regulators in the various offices. If you entrust us with your applications, we will ensure you meet all deadlines and annual (or biannual) renewals and handle the interactions with the government. Alternatively, we are glad to help you file on your own.
  • Tonnage Reporting: We can take your raw data and then file the state tonnage reports for you in a timely fashion.

Animal feed and pet food registration are an unfortunate cost of doing business in the U.S. We can help simplify this process and let you get back to the business of building your business. If you need assistance with your animal product, please contact us.

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