Brussels, Belgium (1 December 2021) – Pet owners around the world have at least one thing in common: they all want their pet’s food to be safe and provide balanced nutrition. Now, newly published science-based international recommendations will help ensure the continued availability of safe dog and cat food around the world.
With a shared commitment to animal and public health, the Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA) contributed to the standard-setting process of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in its revision of important OIE international standards. The recently adopted revisions of OIE standards included science-based recommendations which recognize the safety of certain cooking practices for extruded dry pet food and heat-treated poultry meat products (including pet food) in a hermetically sealed container, and will allow for the continued and uninterrupted international trade while supporting global public health.
The new recommendations regarding pet food, published in the Terrestrial Animal Health Code (2021 edition), results from the organization’s work in developing international standards for animal health, animal welfare and veterinary public health that were adopted by the 182 Members of the OIE. The OIE’s Terrestrial Animal Health Code Chapter 10.4., Infection with high pathogenicity avian influenza viruses, includes new recommendations that recognise that extruded dry pet food and heat-treated poultry meat products (including pet food) in a hermetically sealed container can be traded internationally irrespective of the disease status of the exporting country. This means that even in if an exporting country has cases of infection with high pathogenicity avian influenza viruses, pet food makers can still manufacture and export them between different countries. Ultimately, pet owners benefit from increased choice and safe options for complete and balanced pet nutrition in their own community.
Fausto Fiorini, who serves as the chairman of the volunteer-driven GAPFA Food Safety and Trade Facilitation Workstream, noted that “with this new revised OIE standard, countries around the world gain the guidelines and understanding of how pet food can be safely transported and traded across the globe.” Fiorini, who is also the manager of regulatory and scientific affairs for Latin America and the Caribbean region for Nestle Purina, added, “One key mission of GAPFA is to promote global standards for pet food, and we welcome this important step that can support people, pets and public health.”
GAPFA first announced a renewable memorandum of understanding with the OIE in 2017, in which the organizations agreed to partner on relevant activities related to setting international standards in pet food safety. The global association maintains strategic partnerships with multiple organizations that share the common goals of promoting pet food safety and nutrition, pet wellbeing and the human-animal bond. The international association maintains additional partnerships with the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) and the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI).