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pet food labels
feed control officials
food labels
chicken flavor
descriptive term
dog food
aafco
Reading Pet Food Labels
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Dog food labels can be a bit tricky for those of you that haven't been educated on the subject. I bet that you would never think that you would need to be schooled on reading the back of a can or bag. Unfortunately, that's is the case, you need to know marketing speak.

Pet food is regulated by the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) They over see all aspects of pet or dog food labeling, like the foods name. The guaranteed analysis, and the nutritional statement which says this food meets the specific criteria, (for the food to be called whatever it's name is) it must also include the feeding directions, and a calorie statement.

The product name is the tip off to to whats in the blend of ingredients. And one of the biggest reasons people decide to buy a particular food. So, this is why pet foods are named in a very particular way. "Chicken and Rice" "Chicken Dinner" or "With Chicken" and "Chicken Flavor" all mean very different things.

The AAFCO has four main rules in deciding whether or not a pet food can be called by a certain name this is dependent on the percentage of ingredients. 95% rule says the the product must contain at least 95% of the named ingredient or 70% including water.

Also the named ingredient is listed on the package or label in order of predominance or weight. For example if a food is called Chicken and Lamb then it must be 70% in total weight, Chicken and Lamb including water for processing.

Now if the bag or label says DINNER, which applies to canned and bagged foods. Then a different rule applies that says these pet foods *(DINNERS) must consist of at least 25% of the named ingredients including water for processing but not more than 95%, Then,these foods must contain a descriptive name on the bag or label.

What's a qualifying descriptive name Dinner, Platter, Nuggets, Stew, Formula when these terms are used you will find the descriptive term of meat such as Beef, Chicken, or Lamb, on the third or fourth line on the ingredients on the label or bag. What this allows the pet food manufacturer's to do is hide the main ingredients (Corn, Soy, Wheat, By Products,) of the food because they only need to prove there is 25% less water in the contents of the bag or can.

This is why you should check the label prior to purchasing. Because the first four ingredients may not be something you want your dog to eat. (Corn, Soy, Wheat, By Products,)This is why so many dogs are going to the vets office with allergy problems. Wheat, Corn, Soy, and Hulls and other fillers are hurting your dog.

But, wait it gets better, should the packaging say the words WITH on it your down to the 3% rule!You guessed it it only has to have 3% of the descriptive term listed in the label less water for processing. In other words Chicken Dog Food is a whole lot different than With Chicken or Chicken Flavored!

Here's another GEM, There's something called the FLAVOR RULE. The flavor rule says the the bag or label can say Beef Flavor and it only needs to have enough of the descriptive term Beef Flavor in it to be detectable. let's just say the amount of flavor can be so small, your dog could barely smell it.

Guaranteed analysis means that the product must contain a minimum of protein, fat, fiber, and moisture.

This goes by weight so if you buying a 6 oz. can go figure, you dog isn't getting much nutrition. As you can see reading pet food label is not all that meets the eye.


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