Although the State Department of Agriculture wants to follow the law, another part of their mission is to promote agriculture within the state. They want to do everything they can to make sure that local agriculture thrives.
So if there is something they can do that will promote both agriculture and manufacturers, but is against federal regulation, they may decide to compromise pet safety and regulation in order to benefit the state economy.
The Alarming AAFCO
But still, they can’t legally go around federal law. So what do they do? They hire someone else to do it for them; The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
The AAFCO is in charge of making “regulation” laws, and create legal definitions for pet food ingredients. This association, being a private organization, is not bound by the FDA so they can ignore any regulations and work solely to promote agriculture and manufacturing companies in each state.
The State Department of Agriculture then takes these laws and legal definitions and, basically with a closed eye, turns around and enforces them on manufacturers. But since the laws and definitions were created to benefit the manufactures in the first place, no one gets hurt.
No one that is, except for consumers and our poor pets.
The Treacherous Industry Trade Associations
There is yet another player in the cycle, and this one is really going to throw you for a loop.
Manufacturers are members of different trade associations, such as the Pet Food Institute, the American Feed Industry Association, the National Grain and Feed Association, and others. Now, the AAFCA actually looks to these trade associations when considering different laws and label definitions to create.