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Ever wonder what some items in a dog food ingredient list really means?

Pet food ingredients are not legally regulated like human food ingredients. Instead, a voluntary industry group known as the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) publishes standard definitions for the ingredients that most companies use.

The Association of American Feed Control Officials, established in 1909, is an organization in which officials of state, provincial, dominion and federal agencies, engaged in the regulation of production, analysis, labeling, distribution and sale of animal feeds and livestock remedies, may exchange ideas and share experience for mutual benefit and development of uniformity. The purposes of the Association are:

1. To explore and solve problems encountered in administering feed laws.

2. To develop just and equitable standards, definitions and policies to be followed in enforcing such laws.

3. To promote uniformity in laws, regulations and enforcement policies.

4. To cooperate with producers and purchasers of animal feed and livestock remedies.

5. To encourage and assist in improving the performance of the professional, technical and administrative personnel representing the various agencies involved.

Comment: Most pet food companies are owned by companies engaged in the production of human foods. This is because most common pet food ingredients are waste byproducts of human food processing. This allows the companies to inexpensively make additional money from what would otherwise be waste products.

Suggested reading for additional information and an introduction to BARF feeding ,  Go to this web site and click on the BARF button .

Following are some definitions of common dog food ingredients:

Note that many pet food ingredients can contain a number of different components. Not all pet food manufacturers include all the permissible components of an ingredient. But you can assume any or all components can be present unless the manufacturer make claims otherwise.

Also note that the terms meat or animal that does not specify the type of animal can consist of any kind of mammal from any source. Since the popularization of the Internet with it's fast wide reaching communications the practice of using dead pets from kill animal shelters or vet hospitals has become considerably less common. But dog and cat are possible components of any ingredient labeled meat or animal and does not specify animal type.

 

Animal Digest Is a material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed animal tissue. The animal tissues used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth, hooves and feathers, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice and shall be suitable for animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind or flavor(s), it must correspond thereto.

Comment: Animal Digest is usually used as a pet food flavouring. It is a cooked-down broth made from unspecified parts of unspecified animals. Any kind of animal can be included: goats, pigs, horses, rats, etc. The animals can be obtained from any source, so there is no control over quality or contamination. Also, see the comments under Meat meal.

Animal Fat Fat/Oil Is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial process of rendering or extracting.

Comment: See the comments under Meat meal.

Beef & Bone Meal Is the rendered (cooked down) product from beef tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Comment: Beef & Bone Meal is a byproduct made from beef parts which are not suitable for human consumption. It can incorporate the entire cow, including the bone The quality cuts of meat are always removed before beef & bone meal is made.

Beef Byproducts Are the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered cows. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves.

Comment: Beef Byproducts are not "meat" as people usually think of it. However it makes up the parts that wild predators often eat first after a kill.

Beef Tallow Fat/Oil Is obtained from the tissue of cattle in the commercial process of rendering.

Beet Pulp Is the residue from sugar beets which has been cleaned, freed from crowns, leaves, and sand, and extracted in the process of manufacturing sugar.

Comment: Beet pulp is added to some pet foods to act as a fibrous stool hardener.

BHA/BHT Is short for Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) and Butylated Hydroxytoluene (BHT), both of which are chemical preservatives.

Comment: BHA and BHT have been banned from human use in many countries. In the US, they are still permitted in pet foods.

Chicken Byproduct Meal Consists of the dry, ground, rendered (cooked down), clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Chicken Byproducts Consist of the rendered (cooked down), clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Chicken Digest Is a material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and undecomposed chicken tissue.

Comment: Chicken digest is a palatability enhancer made by reducing (cooking down) chicken meat and fat into a concentrated liquid or dry product. Consider it a flavouring ingredient and not a food ingredient.

Corn Gluten Meal Is the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm.

Comment: Corn gluten is an inexpensive byproduct of human food processing. It is a carbohydrate that offers very little nutritional value and serves mainly to bind pet food ingredients together.

Corn Meal Is the entire corn kernel, finely ground.

Ethoxyquin Is a chemical preservative not approved for human use.

Comment: First used as a rubber stabilizer, ethoxyquin (EQ) has also been effective as an insecticide and a pesticide. EQ, developed by Monsanto in the 1950s, was originally permitted in feeds as a stabilizer for alfalfa, clover, and grasses to be fed to livestock, at 150 PPM (150 PPM is equal to .015 percent or 4.8 oz. per ton). Pet food was never considered in the original permit, but, because pet food falls under the legal category of animal feed, the use of EQ is permissible.

Fish Meal Is the clean, rendered (cooked down), dried ground tissue of undecomposed whole fish or fish cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil.

Lamb Bone Meal Is the dried and ground sterilized product from the wet cooking of undecomposed lamb bones.

Meat Byproducts Are the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low temperature fatty tissue, and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs.

Comment: Meat byproducts are the leftovers from butchering any Mammal. They can include almost any part of the animal other than meat. Because any mammal can be used, cheaper meats like horse, pig, or goat are often included. Also, see the comments under Meat meal.

Meat Meal/Meat & Bone Meal Is the rendered (cooked down) product from mammal tissues, with or without bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Comment: Most people associate "MEAT" with beef. The truth is that it can come from any mammal: pigs, goats, horses, rabbits, animals from animal shelters, and dead animals found on roads. Basically pet foods that use Meat byproducts and meat meal are the resting place for many sick, unwanted or found dead animals in the US. Meat meal can contain condemned parts and animals that are rejected for human consumption. It can include pus, cancerous tissue, and decomposed (spoiled) tissue.

Ocean Fish Is undecomposed whole fish or cuttings, with or without part of the fish oils

Poultry Is the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of poultry or a combination of thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.

Comment: The Poultry classifications are the same as chicken classifications except that it can include any domesticated bird such as chicken, turkey, ducks and geese

Poultry Byproduct Meal Consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcasses of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, and intestines, exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices.

Poultry Byproducts Must consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice

Poultry Meal Is the dry rendered product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts of whole carcasses or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet, and entrails.

Wheat Gluten Is the tough, viscid nitrogenous substance remaining when wheat is washed to remove the starch.

Comment: Wheat Gluten is a cheap byproduct of human food processing, the result of washing wheat and letting the starchy liquid dry. It offers almost no nutritional value, and serves mostly to bind the food together.

Wheat, Ground Is the entire wheat kernel, ground or chopped.

Comment: Ground Wheat is a good quality source of carbohydrates. Because it includes the entire wheat kernel, it contributes additional protein, wheat oil, bran, and vitamins and minerals to the diet.

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