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NC State Extension

Starting a Pet Food Business

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Interested in starting a pet food or treat business? It’s not as simple as baking the treats and selling them. There are a number of required steps you need to take before you can legally sell animal food for consumption in North Carolina.

Note: requirements vary by state. Visit the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) pet food website for more information on state-by-state requirements.

Who regulates pet food?

AAFCO does not regulate pet food or other feeds. Food produced for consumption by animals is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and state regulatory agencies, such as the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS).

Getting started

According to AAFCO, pet food is defined as any commercial (i.e. you offer for sale, sell, exchange or barter) feed prepared and distributed for consumption by dogs or cats.

Pet food can include:

  • Complete and balanced foods,
  • Treats/snacks,
  • Nutrient supplements,
  • Nutrient-added water, and
  • Edible chews (rawhide, hooves, pizzles).

Commercial feed or pet food includes food sold:

  • at the local farmer’s market,
  • over the internet,
  • at a veterinarian’s office, or
  • in a local store.

Visit the AAFCO website to learn more about the first steps to take when starting your new pet food business.

Registering with NCDA&CS

Before selling your new products, you must first register them through the NCDA&CS. To find state-specific registration or contact information, visit the AAFCO Find Your State Feed Control Official page.

Location and contact information

NCDA&CS, Food and Drug Protection Division
NC Animal Feed Program
Phone: (919) 733-7366
Fax: (919) 733-6801

1070 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, NC 27699-1070

Registration information
Registration and Labeling Compliance
(919) 733-7366

Type of product Annual fee (Jan 1)
> 5 lbs. packages $5
canned pet food $12
5 lbs. packages or less $40
> 5 lbs. and 5 lbs. and less $45

Complaints may be submitted to

For more information about registering products or associated fees, contact

Additional information

AAFCO has a number of pages that are helpful to review when starting a new pet food business: