Saturday, September 4, 2010

Understanding Dog Food Labels

The AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) guidelines and definitions for animal feed, including pet foods.
  • Alfalfa Meal - the aerial portion of the alfalfa plant, reasonably free from other crop plants, weeds and mold, which has been sun cured and finely ground.
  • Animal Digest - material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis  of clean and un-decomposed 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.
  • Animal Fat - is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the  commercial processes of rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride  esters of fatty acids and contains no additions of free fatty acids. If an antioxidant is  used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed by the words "used as a  preservative".
  • Barley - consists of at least 80 percent sound barley and must not contain more  than 3 percent heat-damaged kernels, 6 percent foreign material, 20 percent other grains  or 10 percent wild oats.
  • Barley Flour - soft, finely ground and bolted barley meal obtained from the  milling of barley. It consists essentially of the starch and gluten of the endosperm.
  • Beef (meat) - is the clean flesh derived from slaughtered cattle, and is limited  to that part of the striate muscle which is skeletal or that which is found in the tongue,  in the diaphragm, in the heart, or in the esophagus; with or without the accompanying and  overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels which normally  accompany the flesh.
  • Beet Pulp ("beet pulp, dried molasses" and "beet pulp, dried, plain") - the dried residue from sugar beets.
  • Brewer's Rice - the dried extracted residue of rice resulting from the  manufacture of wort (liquid portion of malted grain) or beer and may contain pulverized  dried spent hops in an amount not to exceed 3 percent.
  • Brown Rice - unpolished rice after the kernels have been removed. Not a complete  AAFCO definition.
  • Carrots - presumably carrots. No AAFCO definition.
  • Chicken - the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying  bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken or a combination thereof,  exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.
  • Chicken By-Product Meal - consists of the ground, rendered, 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 unavoidable in good  processing practice.
  • Chicken Liver Meal - chicken livers which have been ground or otherwise reduced  in particle size.
  • Chicken Meal - chicken which has been ground or otherwise reduced in particle  size.
  • Corn - unspecified corn product. Not a complete AAFCO definition.
  • Corn Bran - the outer coating of the corn kernel, with little or none of the  starchy part of the germ.
  • Corn Germ Meal (Dry Milled) - ground corn germ which consists of corn germ with  other parts of the corn kernel from which part of the oil has been removed and is the  product obtained in the dry milling process of manufacture of corn meal, corn grits,  hominy feed and other corn products.
  • Corn Gluten - that part of the commercial shelled corn that remains after the  extraction of the larger portion of the starch, gluten, and term by the processes employed  in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup.
  • Corn Gluten Meal - 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.
  • Corn Syrup - concentrated juice derived from corn.
  • Cracked Pearl Barley - cracked pearl barley resulting from the manufacture of  pearl barley from clean barley.
  • Dehydrated Eggs - dried whole poultry eggs freed of moisture by thermal means.
  • Digest of Beef - material from beef which results from chemical and/or enzymatic  hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed tissue. The tissues used shall be exclusive of hair,  horns, teeth and hooves, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good  factory practice.
  • Digest of Beef By-Products - material from beef which results from chemical  and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed tissue from non-rendered clean  parts, other than meat, from cattle which 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.
  • Digest of Poultry By-Products - material which results from chemical and/or  enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed tissue from 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.
  • Dried Animal Digest - dried material resulting from chemical and/or enzymatic  hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed animal tissue. The animal tissue 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.
  • Dried Kelp - dried seaweed of the families Laminaricae and Fu-caeae. If the  product is prepared by artificial drying, it may be called "dehydrated kelp".
  • Dried Milk Protein - obtained by drying the coagulated protein residue resulting  from the controlled co-precipitation of casein, lactalbumin and minor mild proteins from  defatted milk.
  • Dried Reduced Lactose Whey - no AAFCO definition available.
  • Dried Whey - the product obtained by removing water from the whey. It contains  not less than 11 percent protein nor less than 61 percent lactose.
  • Feeding Oatmeal - obtained in the manufacture of rolled oat groats or rolled oats  and consists of broken oat groats, oat groat chips, and floury portions of the oat groats,  with only such quantity of finely ground oat hulls as is unavoidable in the usual process  of commercial milling. It must not contain more than 4 percent crude fiber.
  • Fish Meal - the clean, dried, ground tissue of un-decomposed whole fish or fish  cuttings, either or both, with or without the extraction of part of the oil.
  • Ground Corn (ground ear corn) - the entire ear of corn ground, without husks,  with no greater portion of cob than occurs in the ear corn in its natural state.
  • Ground De-hulled Oats - presumably ground cleaned oats with hulls removed (ground  oat groats). Not an AAFCO definition.
  • Ground Wheat - presumably a coarser grind of wheat flour. Not an AAFCO definition.
  • Ground Whole Brown Rice (Ground Brown Rice) - the entire product obtained by  grinding the rice kernels after the hulls have been removed.
  • Ground Whole Wheat - ground whole kernel, presumably equivalent to AAFCO's Wheat Mill Run, Wheat Middlings, Wheat Shorts or Wheat Red Dog, whose principal differences are  in the percentage of crude fiber.
  • Ground Yellow Corn - same as ground corn, except that the corn used is yellow in  color.
  • Kibbled Corn - obtained by cooking cracked corn under steam pressure and extruding from an expeller or other mechanical pressure device.
  • Lamb Bone Meal - (steamed) dried & ground product sterilized by cooking un-decomposed bones with steam under pressure. Grease, gelatin and meat fiber may or may  not be removed.
  • Lamb Digest - material resulting from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis of clean and un-decomposed lamb. The tissue used shall be exclusive of hair, horns, teeth and  hooves, except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice  and shall be suitable for animal feed.
  • Lamb Fat - obtained from the tissues of lamb in the commercial processes of  rendering or extracting. It consists predominantly of glyceride esters of fatty acids and  contains no additions of free fatty acids. If an antioxidant is used, the common name or  names must be indicated, followed by the words "used as a preservative".
  • Lamb Meal - the rendered product from lamb tissues, exclusive of blood, hair,  hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as  may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
  • Linseed Meal - the product obtained by grinding the cake or chips which remain  after removal of most of the oil from flaxseed by a mechanical extraction process. It must  contain no more than 10 percent fiber. The words "mechanical extracted" are not  required when listing as an ingredient in the manufactured food.
  • Liver - the hepatic gland (of whatever species is listed).
  • Meat and Bone Meal - the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone,  exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
  • Meat By-Products - 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 hooves.
  • Meat Meal - the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of blood, hair,  hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as  may occur unavoidably in good processing practices.
  • Peas - peas.
  • Potatoes - potatoes.
  • Poultry By-Product Meal - consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the  carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, intestines,  exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good  processing practices.
  • Poultry Digest - material which results from chemical and/or enzymatic hydrolysis  of clean and un-decomposed poultry tissue.
  • Poultry Fat (feed grade) - primarily obtained from the tissue of poultry in the  commercial process of rendering or extracting. It shall contain only the fatty matter  natural to the product produced under good manufacturing practices and shall contain no  added free fatty acids or other materials obtained from fat. It must contain not less than  90 percent total fatty acids and not more than 3 percent of un-saponifiables and  impurities. It shall have a minimum titer of 33 degrees Celsius. If an antioxidant is  used, the common name or names must be indicated, followed by the word  "preservative(s)".
  • Powdered Cellulose - purified, mechanically disintegrated cellulose prepared by  processing alpha cellulose obtained as a pulp from fibrous plant materials.
  • Rice Bran - the pericarp or bran layer and germ of the rice, with only such  quantity of hull fragments, chipped, broken, or brewer's rice, and calcium carbonate as is  unavoidable in the regular milling of edible rice.
  • Rice Flour
  • Soy Flour
  • Soybean Hulls - consist primarily of the outer covering of the soybean.
  • Soybean Meal (De-hulled, solvent Extracted) - obtained by grinding the flakes  remaining after removal of most of the oil from de-hulled soybeans by a solvent extraction  process.
  • Soybean Meal (Mechanical Extracted) - obtained by grinding the cake or chips  which remain after removal of most of the oil from the soybeans by a mechanical extraction  process.
  • Soybean Mill Run - composed of soybean hulls and such bean meats that adhere to  the hulls and such bean meats that adhere to the hulls which results from normal milling  operations in the production of de-hulled soybean meal.
  • Tallow - animal fats with titer above 40 degrees Celsius.
  • Turkey - unspecified turkey. Not a complete AAFCO description.
  • Turkey Meal - the ground clean combination of flesh and skin with or without  accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey or a combination  thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.
  • Wheat Bran - the coarse outer covering of the wheat kernel as separated from  cleaned and scoured wheat in the usual process of commercial milling.
  • Wheat Flour - wheat flour together with fine particles of wheat bran, wheat germ  and the offal from the "tail of the mill". This product must be obtained in the  usual process of commercial milling and must not contain more than 1.5 percent crude  fiber.
  • Wheat Germ Meal - consists chiefly of wheat germ together with some bran and  middlings or short. It must contain not less than 25 percent crude protein and 7 percent  crude fat.
  • Wheat Mill Run - coarse wheat bran, fine particles of wheat bran, wheat shorts,  wheat germ, wheat flour and the offal from the "tail of the mill". This product  must be obtained in the usual process of commercial milling and must contain not more than  9.5 percent crude fiber.
  • Whey - the product obtained as a fluid by separating the coagulum from milk,  cream or skimmed milk and from which a portion of the milk fat may have been removed.

7 comments

  1. Thanks for this. I'll be showing it to my husband. We've been on an educational binge, if you will, about what the heck to feed our dogs. We keep coming back to the same conclusion: food from the Honest Kitchen - human grade. Even as a vegetarian, I'd go straight for feeding raw meaty bones from humane, local farms, but he's a bit squeamish (also a vegetarian). THK seems to be our best option - as close to raw as we can get with our own food idiosyncrasies.

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  2. Dear Kim. Yeah, what to feed our dogs that is one of the big Qs! I think there are more than one right answer and I agree that food from Honest Kitchen is one of them.

    Kudos to you that vegetarians yourself you understand the dogs' need for animal protein. I myself would go with Honest Kitchen, but my additional problem are Jasmines' allergies. Every good sounding food I find always have one ingredient or another she cannot have. So she is on custom home-cooked diet and J.D. is on oven baked fish formula as that was the best one we could find with safe ingredients because Jasmine likes to nibble on some 'cereal' from time to time.

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  3. Blech! Thanks for grossing me out :( That's why I make my own food for Jersey. i know exactly what's in it!!

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  4. Hi Karen. LOL Some of those things are not as bad as they sound. Some of them however are worse than they sound because they leave quite a wiggle room.

    Jasmine is also on home-cooked :-)

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  5. This is why I started reading the ingredients of my dog food - I buy blue buffalo whenever possible because they use real deboned chicken, whole vegetables and other good ingredients.. You can see a comparison of their food to other brands on their website... But don't let this bother you too much - I try to get the best food available because that's really all you can do - my dog gets a nice amount if real meat during our mealtimes but even our own food is loaded with unhealthy stuff! Sometimes being too pessimistic about food is the real danger...

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  6. Reading labels surely is very important! There are some good foods out there and enough bad ones. Jasmine is on home-cooked. When we can we get the meat from a local farmer. So it is as good as it gets these days. But yes, our entire environment is pretty unhealthy ... what do you do.

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