Pet Treats: Label Requirements and Obtaining a Feed License
This page is in response to an increased volume in calls concerning licensing and labeling of pet treats. The majority of calls are from Michigan residents wanting to start their own businesses producing pet treats in their kitchens. This article has two goals -- simplification of the licensing process, and explanation of the minimum requirements for pet treat labeling. MDARD www.michigan.gov/mda-feed provides information and links that will assist you in understanding and following the procedures for obtaining a commercial feed license and developing an acceptable pet treat label. The Business of Pet Food - *NEW* is an excellent resource on how to start a pet food business. This site includes licensing, labeling, reporting, and testing information.
Before you decide to continue with your plans to get into the pet treat business, you should review the following information concerning the various federal requirements and limitations on what information may appear on a pet food label:
- Interpreting Pet Food Labels -- Part 1: General Rules
- Interpreting Pet Food Labels -- Part 2: Special Use Foods
- When Pet Foods Are Drugs
- FDA's Regulation Of Pet Food
- Information on Marketing a Pet Food Product
Application for License
In order to comply with the Michigan Commercial Feed Law the following must be submitted to our office:
- State of Michigan Commercial Feed Manufacturer's/Distributor's License Application.
Copies of labels for all products to be offered for sale or distribution in Michigan.
- All commercial feed manufacturers (other than manufacturers selling in packages of only 5 lbs. or less) are required to pay the $100.00 license fee. Please visit www.michigan.gov/mda-feed for more details. The license fee will remain $25.00 per license for packaged feed in containers of 5 lbs. or less.
Filling out the Application Form
Filling out the License application should be an easy process for pet treat manufacturers. The form contains complete instructions for its completion. Your application is not considered complete unless all sections are filled in, includes the printed name and title of the person submitting the application, and is signed and dated.
Pet Treat Labeling
The Michigan Commercial Feed Law and Commercial Feed Regulation require pet treats to be labeled with a minimum of the following information:
- Product Name, also: Brand Name (if applicable)
- Species of pet the product is intended for.
The principal display panel (front of the label) must state "Cat Treat", "Snack for Dogs", etc. Additionally, since treats of this type are not normally tested to be a complete and balanced source of nutrition for pets, some states require the label to bear the statement "This product is intended for intermittent or supplemental feeding only". (This is not currently a requirement in Michigan.)
- Guaranteed Analysis (with this heading and in the following order and format)
Crude Protein (minimum)....X%Additional guarantees, if desired or required, must follow moisture.
Crude Fat (minimum)........X%
Crude Fiber (maximum)......X%
- Ingredients: List all ingredients in descending order (by weight).
The name of each ingredient must be the name as defined in the Official Publication of AAFCO, or one approved by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
- Feeding Directions.
While not specifically required by the law or regulations, feeding directions are recommended.
- Name and Address of The Manufacturer's or Distributor's place of business:
Name of business, street address, city, state, and zip code (Street address may be omitted if it appears in the local phone directory).
- Quantity Statement:
Net weight 8 oz (226.8 g)
- The date of manufacture, processing, packing, or re-packing, or a code representing the actual date or one that makes it possible to segregate specific lots or batches of feed.
For additional information, see the brochure: "The Michigan Weights and Measures Program".
See the example "Steph's Generic Dog Treats," immediately below:
If you have any questions concerning registration and labeling please contact April Hunt, Feed Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-284-5644.