News | February 8, 2024

AAFCO Seeks Public Comments

Organization accepting feedback regarding potential voluntary “Controlled Copper” claim for dog food.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee (PFC) Copper Claim Workgroup is seeking public comments about establishing a “Controlled Copper” claim for dog food. Comments will be accepted through March 1, 2024.

The proposed “Controlled Copper” claim would indicate that the dog food is nutritionally adequate for one or more life stages in accordance with AAFCO’s Model Regulations for Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food; contain a maximum of no more than 15 mg copper/kg DM and no more than 3.75 mg copper/1000 kcal of metabolizable energy; and bear a Guaranteed Analysis on its label in accordance with the model regulation guarantee for the maximum amount of copper in the dog food.
The Workgroup’s final report states, “By a slim majority, the Workgroup recommends PFC establish the regulation for a “controlled copper” claim on dog foods…It is within AAFCO’s mission to provide clarity to consumers, promote consistency in the marketplace, and support animal health, all of which is accomplished with this regulation.”
Research and discussion for a potential claim has been ongoing since February 2021 after an article was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA) concerning the current AAFCO nutritional guidelines for copper (Cu) in foods for normal dogs. AAFCO convened an expert panel to review the relevant veterinary literature, which determined that data for establishing a safe upper limit, or maximum tolerance, for Cu in dog foods was insufficient. The Copper Claim Workgroup was created to evaluate additional guidelines for copper in dog food in recognition of concerns from pet owners and veterinarians.
“There are very strong opinions on both sides of this issue,” wrote Dr. Karen L. Donnelly, chair of the Copper Claim Workgroup, in the final report. “All Workgroup members agree that more research about the effects of dietary copper on dogs’ health is needed, but in the meantime, PFC needs to decide if the proposed regulation is an appropriate and acceptable step towards addressing the issue.”
AAFCO encourages stakeholders such as veterinarians, animal nutritionists, consumer groups and the general public to review the Copper Claim Workgroup’s final report here. Comments should be emailed to with the subject line “Copper Claim Workgroup Comment” by March 1, 2024.
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has been guiding state, federal and international feed regulators with ingredient definitions, label standards and laboratory standards for more than 110 years, while supporting the health and safety of people and animals. Its members are charged by their state or federal laws to regulate the manufacture, sale and distribution of animal feeds and feed ingredients.