Calories should be listed on pet food
Future pet food labels that indicate the number of calories per serving could
help obese animals shed the extra pounds, a veterinarians' association
recommended to the Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday.
"Pet owners do not always know how much to feed. They
may not realize the high number of calories associated with some of the pet food
they are giving their pets," said John Branam, testifying on behalf of the
American Veterinary Medical Association. The FDA held the hearing as part of
legislation passed last year that requires the administration's Center for
Veterinary Medicine to establish pet food labeling standards in two years.
According to the AVMA, 54 million pets in the U.S. are obese, an
"epidemic" that the association says is growing at an alarming rate. But Nancy
Cook, vice president of the Pet Food Institute's technical and regulatory
affairs, said that calorie labels are unnecessary and won't prevent obesity in
pets. "It doesn't work for people," said Cook, a voice for the industry's
manufacturers. The labels already contain serving sizes based on a pet's size.
Calorie information can be obtained from food manufacturers, she said.
But the AVMA said that it's not consumers' and veterinarians' jobs to
track down manufacturers for that information. A standard nutritional label that
lists the number of calories per weight of food and per household items such as
a can or a cup would prevent owners from overfeeding their pets, the group said.
The information also would help consumers and veterinarians compare and choose
the best food product, Branam said.Related
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