Latest Recipe Specification USA Regulations: What You Need to Know
If you are connected to the US animal feed and pet food business, you know how important it is to stay current on (and compliant with) regulations regarding recipes and recipe specification. But the exact expectations can be a bit murky. The FDA’s guidelines are somewhat ambiguous, and yet a failure to comply can have serious negative effects on your business.
If you are looking to stay up to date on the latest developments in recipe specification regulations, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few things you need to know.
A few quick disclaimers
Before we proceed, a few quick disclaimers: state regulations vary widely, and it would go far beyond the scope of this post to cover every state. Take what you read here as good, but not legal, advice. Always be sure to check with your state’s agricultural office for state-specific guidelines.
Also, the recipe specification regulations for animal feed are not the same as those for pet food. We are talking about the former, not the latter. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) notes that regulations for medicated feed and pet food include extra requirements beyond those for animal feed. We are focusing here on animal feed only.
AAFCO labeling guidelines gaining wider acceptance
The FDA stated in a 2019 release that the AAFCO labeling guidelines satisfy the federal guidelines for recipe labeling. Of course, federal guidelines aren’t the only ones to consider: state guidelines are just as important.
While state regulations do vary, a number of states are accepting the AAFCO Model Bill and Regulations. This set of standards has been put together by AAFCO. While not perfect for every state, this October 2019 labeling guide serves as a great place to start for any industry newcomers.
Following the AAFCO labeling guidelines, means your feed label must contain the following elements:
- Product and brand name
- Purpose statement (which animals the feed is suitable for)
- Guaranteed analysis of ingredient groups
- Ingredient list
- “Directions for safe and effective use” (these are often labeled “Feeding Directions” or “Mixing Directions)
- Precautionary statements necessary for someone with no prior knowledge of the product to use the product safely
- Name and address of manufacturer and/or distributor
- Quantity or weight (in standard and metric)
As you might expect, each of these points comes with numerous subpoints of clarifications and requirements. All these are accessible in the guide linked above.
Guaranteed analysis requirements vary by animal and by state
While a guaranteed analysis is almost always required, the specific elements that must be analyzed vary depending on the animal the feed is formulated for. In AAFCO’s example chart, ADF max percentage must be disclosed for dairy cow feeds but not for beef feeds.
Here again requirements will vary from state to state. Feeds destined for multiple states must meet the requirements of each. This is one reason you will find non-required guaranteed analyses on packaging: that nutrient may be required in the next state over, and by including it manufacturers avoid the need to create separate labels.
Feed formulation software keeps you sane - and compliant
Given all the complexity surrounding recipe specification regulations, it can be a serious challenge for feed producers to keep track of every recipe specification in a way that is accurate and fully compliant. Businesses that are attempting to do this process manually often feel like they are playing whack-a-mole or constantly putting out fires.
We are here to tell you there’s a better way.
Recipe management software like what we offer at Adifo is the solution you are looking for to keep you both sane and compliant. Our BESTMIX Feed Formulation product allows you to manage ingredients, recipes and product specifications efficiently. Our secure software keeps your information centralized, eliminating duplicate and even contradictory recipe specifications.