Pet Food Institute
The Pet Food Institute (PFI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping dogs and cats live long and healthy lives by advocating on the importance of pet food safety. Its members make up 98% of all U.S. pet food and treat products manufacturers. As the voice of manufacturers for nearly 60 years, PFI is the source for pet lovers on factual information about pet food safety, nutrition and health. The PFI promotes a transparent, science-based regulatory environment ensuring that they comply with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. The most comprehensive update to U.S. food safety regulation in more than 70 years is passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2011.
Food Safety Modernization Act
FSMA is an amendment to the FDA’s original food safety law, the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (FD&CA) of 1938. This law required both human and animal food manufacturer’s to produce safe products. It’s comforting to know that PFI members adopted good manufacturing products long ago, but, it wasn’t enough to protect our pet’s food in today’s world with overseas manufacturers, boutique food and treat companies, and home-made pet food.
The PFI ensures that it’s members, all pet food and treat makers across the country, commit to and understand meeting their obligations under FSMA. Currently, every pet food maker should be aware of and preparing to meet their obligations under the FSMA animal food rule. But, smaller pet food makers, the 2% that aren’t PFI members, are a year or two away from complying. Which means it’s imperative that pet parents are sure that their pet food brand is in compliance with FMSA.
FSMA requires pet food makers to implement:
- Good Manufacturing Practices: this includes requirements for employees, facility design, equipment upkeep and maintenance
- Preventive Controls: identify and evaluate hazards associated with the foods they make and take steps to prevent those hazards
- Food Safety Plan: a written plan of the steps they are taking to ensure product safety, from sourcing ingredients to carrying out a product recall
Pet Food Safety and You
What does FMSA mean to you, the pet parent, and what you feed your dog? Pet parents are passionate about what they feed their dog, it’s a personal choice, as you know your pet better than any one. By understanding the pet food manufacturing process you’ll feel more confident in what you choose to feed your pet.
PFI members drive continuous improvement in the safety of ingredients and finished product:
- Reliable and Trusted Ingredient Suppliers: U.S. pet food and treat makers work closely with their ingredient suppliers ensuring safe ingredients.
- Hygienic and Secure Design of Pet Food Manufacturing Facilities: smart facilities produce safe food and treats.
- Inspecting and Testing Ingredients During Arrival and Unloading: procedures in place during unloading help to ensure that material meets the company’s quality and safety specifications.
- Continuous Monitoring During Manufacturing: Reviewing the steps of the food making process proactively prevents any contamination.
- Safety Traceability Assurances and During Packaging: Monitoring the packaging and distribution of the final product is another way to keeping your pet food safe.
- Regulatory Oversight: Pet food is one of the most highly regulated food products in the U.S.
Our pet food is safer than what we put on our own plates as a result of food safety regulations.
Pet Food Safety — Nutrition and Ingredients:
As the sole source of nutrition of our pets, pet food manufacturers understand the immense responsibility to provide our pets with safe, high quality ingredients and complete nutrition.
Other areas of pet food safety to understand include:
- Complete and Balanced: each serving of pet food is a complete meal and provides total nutrition, pet food is carefully prepared with recipes crafted by experts in companion animal nutrition and veterinary scientists
- Function: Pet food recipes are complex, each ingredient defined and accepted by the FDA and listed in descending order based on weight and using the required technical definition.
- Nutrient rich ingredients: Veterinary researchers have identified between 42 and 48 essential nutrients for cats and dogs, including protein, fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins, minerals and individual amino acids.
- By-products: Ingredients produced during the processing of food for human consumption, not preferred by U.S. consumers in their pet food, can help support sustainability by preventing waste.
- “Natural” and “Organic”: Nothing more than marketing terms and do not represent safety or nutritional information.
- Limited ingredients: There is no regulatory definition for “limited ingredient” pet food and its application in pet food can vary.
- Raw pet food: PFI recommends that consumers review the available data on raw diet safety and nutrition before deciding on a raw diet for their pets.
- PFI members donate tens of millions of pounds of pet food per year
- PFI members work to promote access to pets through programs for veterans, women’s shelters, schools and parks
- PFI members companies employ thousands of people in 29 states
- PFI members support businesses across the supply change
- Vast majority of ingredients used by PFI members are U.S.-sourced
It’s safe to say why we know it’s best to purchase pet food products that are only manufactured in the U.S. from U.S.-sourced ingredients. By purchasing products produced by PFI members you can feed your pet with confidence. For the small percentage that aren’t members, do the research to ensure that they are aware of, and preparing to meet their obligations under the FSMA animal food rule
You can see the complete list of PFI members here.