May issue

May issue
May issue

Monday, 4 March 2013

Horses for courses

Might my dog have eaten horse? He is fed meat from tins from a popular, well-known brand.

What does ‘animal derivatives’ mean? How do I know when the tin says the meat is beef or lamb that it is not horse?

John, by email

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association (PFMA), says…
There is strict legislation governing pet food production and this includes what ingredients can be used. The legislation applies to both UK produced products and all imports. Furthermore, the PFMA Raw Materials policy requests that members only use meat from animals generally accepted in the human food chain in the UK.
Local authorities enforce the legislation and include checks on feed safety management systems at pet food manufacturers during their inspections and undertake sampling and analysis of pet food to verify the accuracy of its labelling. All plants producing pet food comprising animal by-products are subject to approval and regular inspection by the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency under Regulation (EC) 1069/2009 on animal by-products to ensure that the material used is suitable for pet food is handled safely and, where appropriate, is processed to the standards required by the regulation.
When sourcing all ingredients individual member companies operate their own stringent in-house quality assurance policies. These include strict specifications for material supplies, routine testing of all incoming materials and the use of vendor assurance schemes to monitor supply sources.
PFMA and its members are aware of current investigations into the presence of dog meat in pet food in Spain, the relevant authorities have been informed of the situation and all the necessary safeguards have been put in place. PFMA has advised its members to be extra vigilant about the raw materials they receive ensuring with their suppliers that these ingredients meet the requirements of the PFMA Raw Materials Policy.

The labelling requirements for pet food are less onerous than those for feed for farmed livestock. For livestock, the ingredients must be declared individually in descending order by weight, but pet food manufacturers have the option to declare them by category -- e.g. 'meat and animal derivatives', 'oils and fats', 'cereals', 'vegetable protein extracts'. Declaration by categories allows for fluctuations in the supply of the raw materials used and provides flexibility for labelling ingredients without incurring unreasonable cost.
The material of animal origin used by the pet food industry comprises those parts of animals which are either deemed surplus to human consumption or are not normally consumed by people in the UK, and derived from animals inspected and passed as fit for human consumption prior to slaughter. Animal material of this nature, which is not intended for human consumption, is classified as 'animal by-products' under the EC Regulation on Animal By-Products for which Defra is responsible, and assigned the lowest risk rating. This rating requires that the material be free of any transmissible disease, which therefore excludes material from dying, diseased or disabled animals.

1 comment:

  1. That depends on the ethics & honesty of the company producing the food!

    If your dog food is "beef and vegetables" with a "minimum 4% real beef", then I wouldn't be surprised if you were feeding old leather shoes to your dog!

    An 'animal derivative' is something, anything, that comes from an animal. Hide, feathers, beaks, trotters, tails, brains, stomach contents...