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NASDA Adopts Policy in Support of Federal Pet Food Label and Opposes PURR Act

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s Board of Directors adopted new policy supporting the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to establish a national rule for pet food and specialty pet food labeling. The policy advocates for consistency and transparency on pet food and pet food labels to enable pet owners to make confident, informed decisions about what they feed their animals.

NASDA CEO Ted McKinney expounded on the organization’s choice to support the development of a federal pet food label and oppose the Pet Food Uniform Regulatory Reform Act.

“As it is currently written, the PURR Act establishes federal preemption of state regulations under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which NASDA has long opposed. While the FDA has federal authority in the food safety network, states also oversee a complementary system of state laws and regulations to protect the food supply, including pet food. This integrated system is an effective and efficient regulatory process that safeguards pets and pet owners with state agriculture departments and feed programs serving as the first line of defense against pet food-borne illnesses.”

McKinney also said the PURR Act leaves additional concerns about the animal health implications specific to the bill’s labeling and marketing claims.

“The bill would allow pet food companies to make human food claims, including “ingredient sometimes present” language for certain ingredients on pet food labels,” McKinney said. “This could enable companies to either intentionally or unintentionally swap out certain ingredients, including potential pet allergens, that would not be found on the label.”

State feed programs are a resource for pet owners and small pet food companies, including those who only sell within their state and are navigating the complexities of labeling and marketing pet food.

“NASDA aims to maintain this critical resource for small pet food companies and pet owners seeking clarity and transparency in the regulatory process. To do this, state agriculture departments and state feed programs must retain the authority to investigate consumer complaints about products, and test and verify products to ensure that what is on the label matches package contents,” McKinney said.

NASDA supports modernizing and harmonizing pet food regulation that promotes uniformity from state to state, upholds critical protections for pet health and safety and maintains the critical role that state departments of agriculture and state feed programs play on the front lines in the oversight and regulation of pet products.

NASDA will continue to work with the Association of American Feed Control Officials, the pet food and animal feed industry, other trade associations, Congress, and the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine to bring greater uniformity and efficiency to state feed control programs across the country while keeping feed and food safety, animal health and the role of state programs at the forefront.

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