Dog and cat foods labeled as “complete and balanced” should meet requirements established by the AAFCO either by meeting a nutrient profile or by passing a feeding trial. Cat and dog food nutrient profiles were established by the AAFCO’s Feline Nutrition Expert Subcommittee (1991–1992) and the Canine Nutrition Expert Subcommittee (1990–1991), respectively. In the United States and its associated territories, all pet food is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration , the United States Department of Agriculture , and the Federal Trade Commission .

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The dietary adequacy statement would come with data on the life stage for which the product is suitable. A product labeled as “for all life stages” should meet the extra stringent nutrient profile for “development and replica”. Products labeled as “intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding” do not want to meet either profile.

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Although most levels of consumption of some vitamins have been established because of concerns with overnutrition, many nonetheless lack a most allowed degree and a few accommodates giant disparity between maximum and minimum values. The NRC accepts that despite ongoing analysis, massive gaps nonetheless exist in the information of quantitative nutritional information for specific nutrients.

Some professionals acknowledge the possibilities of phytochemicals and other very important nutrients which have but to be acknowledged as essential by dietary science. With such broad tips and free feeding trial requirements, critics argue that the term “complete and balanced” is inaccurate and even misleading. An AAFCO panel expert has stated that “although the AAFCO profiles are better than nothing, they provide false securities.” The “Family Rule” permits a manufacturer to have a product that is “nutritionally comparable” to a different product in the identical “family” to undertake the latter’s “full and balanced” assertion without itself undergoing any feeding checks. The label assertion on the same food may be the identical as the lead product if the ME is substantiated by the 10-day ME feeding research.