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Do you ever read the label of your horse or pet’s food or supplements and have no idea what half of the ingredients are? On more than one occasion, I have heard people express their confusion over labels, and this also happens in the area of enzymes. Some products that you are using may contain enzymes, but you don’t even know it. Part of the difficulty comes from the fact that labeling laws vary, and that there is no true regulation of pet “supplements”, although organizations such as the National Animal Supplement Council are trying to change this. In general, animal supplements fall under the category of “feed/pet food” when it comes to regulations. Many manufacturers choose to follow the guidelines made by AAFCO- the American Association of Feed Control Officials. Others do not, and this is why it can sometimes be difficult to compare enzyme products.
Some products may list that they contain “Amylase, Cellulase, Protease, Phytase, and Xylanase.” Most people will recognize that these are enzymes, however, this would not be sufficient for the ingredient list according to AAFCO guidelines. AAFCO requires that the label list enzymes in the format of “Dried _____ Fermentation Extract”- where the blank would include the source organism for the enzyme. You may recognize this format from a bag of grain or dog food. What you are actually feeding includes enzymes! When the ingredient is listed in this format, it resulted from extracting and precipitating the water-soluble materials from a fermentation process conducted for maximum production of enzymes. For example, your ingredient list may say “Dried Aspergillus niger Fermentation Extract”, but the active enzyme may be Phytase.
I have included a link to a presentation on the AAFCO site about labeling as it relates to enzymes in feed. If you are interested in more information about how enzymes are labeled in animal products, how to identify what is in what you are using, or anything else regarding enzymes, please feel free to e-mail me! firstname.lastname@example.org
More information on AAFCO Enzyme Labeling: http://www.petfood.aafco.org/Portals/1/pdf/enzyme_labeling_for_feeds.pdf