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What Are Animal By-Products and Rendered Meats?

This A+ FRR Pet Food Nutrition FAQ discusses animal by-products, rendered meats, slaughterhouse meats, and meat digest products, and reveals why these disgusting and unhealthy meat sources are included in some pet food brands.
Animal by-products are ground, rendered, and cleaned slaughtered meat carcass parts such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs, bones, heads, and intestines (and a small amount of feathers in the case of chicken) — yes, by-products are as gross and disgusting as they sound. The quality of animal by-products is very inconsistent between batches.

In many cases, by-product meals are derived from "4-D" meat sources — defined as food animals that have been rejected for human consumption because they were presented to the meat packing plant as "Dead, Dying, Diseased or Disabled."

AAFCO Definition for Meat By-Products
"Meat by-products is 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. It shall be suitable for use in animal food. If it bears name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto."
Animal by-products are commonly found in the majority of lower-grade pet foods and even many of the larger name brands that market themselves as "premium pet food" manufacturers, including Science Diet (even their prescription diet product line), Purina (both Purina One and Purina Pro Plan), and Iams / Eukanuba. Ingredients listed as "beef, chicken, and/or poultry byproducts" on pet food labels are not required to include actual meat, and "rendered meat" on labels can refer to ANY rendered mammal meat, including dogs and cats!

There are no bones, meat byproducts, rendered meats, or indigestible parts in the meat sources used in Flint River Ranch pet foods and treats. As an example, the chicken meal used by Flint River Ranch is strictly human-quality chicken flesh with some edible skin — the same as you would cook for your family. The chicken is cooked at the supplier to maintain freshness and to reduce the possibility of contamination in handling and shipping uncooked product. It is processed into a "Ground Meal" form with most of the water removed for ease of handling and reduced shipping costs.

The duck, lamb and fish meals in Flint River Ranch dog food recipes adhere to the same high level of standards.

FAQs: Pet Nutrition and Pet Food Ingredients

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