Animal feed products – acceptable nutritional messages

Animal feed products are intended to be fed to animals for the maintenance of normal health, production and performance. These products are exempt from Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicine Authority (APVMA) registration provided they do not make any therapeutic claim or representation.

General health messages – such as those that refer to maintenance of normal healthy organs or physiological systems – are acceptable, and certain nutritional messages relating to specific nutritional ingredients may also be used.

Anything not clearly identified as an animal food product may require registration. If your product is to be used as a pet food, please read the therapeutic pet food guidelines as well as this more general veterinary product information:

Acceptable nutritional messages

The following are considered acceptable nutritional messages.

  • Any statement of what a product contains (protein source and content, mineral and caloric content), or its texture, consistency and so on, including:
    • high protein, mineral or calorie ‘puppy’ diet for young animals or those with a more active lifestyle
    • low protein or calorie ‘seniors’ diet for older animals or those with a less active lifestyle
    • low calorie ‘weight loss’ diet for overweight or obese animals or those with a less active lifestyle
    • any statement of what a product does not contain (soy, beef, artificial preservatives and so on).
  • Any representation that the product helps to maintain organ or system health, including:
    • helps maintain normal growth and development
    • helps maintain healthy bones
    • helps maintain healthy skin; shiny or glossy coat; bright eyes
    • helps maintain a healthy gut or well-formed stools
    • helps maintain healthy gums or strong teeth
    • helps maintain a healthy immune system.
  • Statements that products contain bran, fibre or psyllium husk when these are added to animal feed as food-fibre bulking agents to stimulate gastrointestinal tract activity, provided their addition is only represented as being suitable to ‘help avoid impaction with faeces or sand’, and provided no mention is made of prevention or treatment of any disease or condition, including colic.
  • Descriptions of products that work by their physical cleaning action on teeth and gums (not by any biochemical or antimicrobial effect), including only:
    • helps clean, whiten, brighten, remove stains or polish teeth
    • helps reduce or control plaque, tartar, cavities and bad breath.

Unacceptable claims or representations

Any product that mentions a specific disease or condition or refers to the prevention, reduction, treatment, alleviation or cure of any disease or condition is considered a veterinary product and requires registration. This includes wording related to diseases and conditions such as:

  • gastrointestinal disease, diarrhoea, constipation, colitis, inflammatory bowel disease or the like
  • heart or cardiac disease or conditions
  • urogenital disease or conditions including renal disease or insufficiency, feline urologic syndrome or lower urinary tract disease, or struvite uroliths
  • gum disease or conditions such as gingivitis or periodontal disease
  • immune system dysfunction
  • diabetes
  • primary behavioural disorders or aggression
  • neoplasia, cancer or tumours
  • musculoskeletal disease or conditions
  • pruritus (itchiness), allergic conditions or food allergies
  • allergy or intolerance
  • fungal disease, bacterial disease or any other infectious disease.
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