Regulatory action to address excess copper in dog food fails today
Top Vet Internist: "Dogs will continue to die [from copper in dog food]"

This afternoon, a panel convened via webinar to vote on a draft for proposed regulatory action that would have offered pet food companies voluntary avenues for providing labeling about the amount of copper in dog food.

Last year, The Canine Review reported that top vets were sounding the alarm on rising deaths and illnesses linked to excess copper levels in commercial dog food.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials’ (AAFCO) Pet Food Committee voted today not to move forward with regulatory action that would have offered pet food companies the option of establishing a “Controlled Copper” claim for dog food.

“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 AAFCO stated. 

In a report spearheaded by leading dog liver vet Sharon Center at Cornell, this 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.”

That recommendation failed today.

“I hear a lot about working collaboratively to get the necessary information to formulate a scientifically based decision,” Tufts’ Cynthia Leveille-Webster, a renowned veterinary internist,  wrote in the chat of today’s AAFCO’s webinar.

“We need to start putting the health of dogs first and foremost,” Dr. Leveille-Webster added, “as this is not a problem only of genetically predisposed dogs. And dogs will continue to die from copper associated hepatopathy.”


more to come.