Informal Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations meets in Vancouver for exchange of views

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Vancouver (Canada), Fall 2012,

Pet food associations representing the industry from 32 countries met in Vancouver end 2012 for an exchange of views on issues of mutual interest related to fulfilling the industry’s role of producing nutritious food products to support long, healthy lives for pet animals. The organizations met as the Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA), an informal umbrella that was established following the first international meeting of pet food associations in September, 2010. Nutrition, product safety and international trade were identified as subjects of common interest.

The mission of this Alliance is to support the health and wellbeing of pets and to promote the benefits of living with them, through the development of consensus based guidance for the global pet food industry, thereby enhancing its sustainability and credibility.
Providing safe, nutritious and palatable products to pets is the industry’s paramount responsibility irrespective of the geographical region.
A best practice safety guidance is under development on a global basis by the participants. Without being aimed at replacing existing national or regional requirements, such guidance should identify common principles and practices used in the safe manufacture of food products for pets. Though this is established practice in developed pet food markets, such guidance should help emerging markets to produce responsibly.
Nutrition, be it for humans or cats & dogs, is effected by a constant flow of new science.  Nutritional requirements are fulfilled by pet food products to support long and healthy lives for pets. Two major guidance documents were identified at the meeting as being of equivalent practical use for manufacturers in the development of wholesome pet food products: the Official Publication of the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the Nutritional Guidelines Cats & Dogs by the European Pet Food Industry Association.   Using either of these documents when developing and formulating pet food will ensure the provision of all essential nutrients for the pet. The Alliance is developing a set of over-arching guidelines which are aimed at providing a useful base for markets which currently do not have established nutritional criteria.
International trade is a reality in the pet food industry, as many companies sell their products across national and regional borders. The meeting discussed the main issues which may hamper international trade. Regional variations in safety parameters, outbreaks of animal diseases or different views on functional pet food/claims can create trade barriers. Work on these issues will continue toward a common approach.
Pet nutritionists, international organizations, regulators or consumer organizations are increasingly meeting and becoming organized internationally in an ever “shrinking” world. News and trends travel instantly over the globe. This is no different for the pet food industry, and the informal GAPFA network is a reflection of this trend.
GAPFA cannot and will not establish obligations by its guidance, but should be a knowledge exchange platform for the benefit of pets, their owners and other industry stakeholders.   
Organizations that participated in the Vancouver meeting:
Australia: Pet Food Industry Association of Australia (PFIAA)
Brazil: Associao Nacional dos Fabricantes de Alimentos para Animais de Estimao (ABINPET)
Canada: Pet Food Association of Canada (PFAC)
Europe: European Pet Food Industry Federation (FEDIAF)
Japan: Japan Pet Food Manufacturers Association (JPFMA)
South Africa: Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFIASA)
United States: Pet Food Institute (PFI) 
Additional organizations being part of the network, which is open to other regions:
Mexico: Asociación de productores de alimentos (Amascota)
New Zealand: New Zealand Pet Food Manufacturers Association (NZPFMA)
For more information please contact the relevant national/regional association, for Europe please contact:
Thomas Meyer
Secretary General
Tel + 32 2 536 05 21
Mobile + 32 479 330 621