How do you know if the food you are buying is really any good? And can it be fed appropriately to your pet? To address these issues, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) was founded in 1909. This is the group that defines ingredients and official nutritional terms, and determines the protocols by which pet foods are tested.
The AAFCO allows for an alternative certification: a biochemical analysis. In this way the biochemical composition of the diet is compared to known optimal quantities. This enables a diet to become certified as complete without actually being tested on living animals. Since nutrients in the food aren’t always digestible, a chemical analysis may not really tell the nutritional story of the food. In general, it is better to feed a diet that has been objectively studied and proven itself in real animals. If words such as “feeding trials” or “feeding tests” aren’t used, it wasn’t tested on real animals. Words to the effect of “meets the standards of the AAFCO” mean only that it achieves the biochemical analysis certification, and not that it was actually tested by feeding it to live animals.
YES! The wording of the label the manufacturer is allowed to use on the food depends on HOW MUCH chicken or fish (or other ingredients) is actually inside the can or bag of food! Knowing what the wording of the labels mean can help you make sure you are feeding your pet what you think you are feeding them.