Registration and Licensing of Pet Food and Specialty Pet Food
Most states require animal feed to be regulated by the State Departments of Agriculture. The state will either require registration of labels of products or will require a feed license for the firm that makes the pet food products.
In Texas, for example, small package pet food is registered, and the facility is licensed. In California, a license fee per location and a license fee for each pet food manufacturing facility are required. In Iowa, the label guarantor is licensed and each small pet food package is licensed.
Some states have a two-year license or registration cycle, and some have a one-year license or registration cycle.
Tonnage fees are also assessed for commercial feed and pet food. Each state has their own requirements for tonnage.
A chart of each state’s requirements can be found HERE.
What is involved in registering or licensing in the states I will be distributing in?
Click HERE to go to the state page which contains links to the various states and their pet food registration information (if available).
Typically, it involves paying a license fee or a registration application fee. Usually, under the licensing scheme, you may distribute as many products under the same brand as you want to for the fee.
The registration scheme involves a fee for each product, either annually or bi-annually, filling out an application with the company contact information, sending in a list of products to be registered and their labels. After review of the labels for format and content, they will either be approved or not. If you make the requested changes to the non-approved label, usually it will then be accepted. The label submitted to the regulator must be the same label that will be used in the marketplace.
Your company may be sent a Tonnage Report form from the state(s) you are registered or licensed in. Follow the instructions carefully. You may only have to submit a report and may not owe any fees.
What part does FDA, USDA and CVM play in the regulation of pet food?
The FDA has a series of publications that can be accessed at their website:
- FDA Veterinarian Newsletter – Ask CVM
- Information for Consumers – Marketing a Pet Food Product
- Information for Consumers – FDA’s Regulation of Pet Food
- Canned Pet Food Using Low Acid Canned Food Regulations
(CPG Sec. 690.300 Canned Pet Food)
- FDA Talk Paper – Safety Guidance on the Use of Raw Meat for Pet Diets
(CPG Sec. 690.500 Uncooked Meat for Animal Food)
- Information for Consumers – Safe Handling Tips for Pet Foods and Treats
- Resources for You (1997) – Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods
- Fact Sheet on FDA’s New Food Bioterrorism Regulation – Registration of Food Facilities
- FDA – Emergency Preparedness & Response
- For Consumers – Purchasing Pet Drugs Online – Be A.W.A.R.E.
- CVM is part of FDA – About the Center for Veterinary Medicine
- USDA Regulates the Movement of Product Interstate and Import/Export Inspections