Complete, complementary and crude ash? Have you ever wondered what the ingredients list on pet food packaging actually means? Find out with our essential guide...
Posted: 07 February 2019
Wanting to know more about the food we eat is a much bigger deal today than it was in the past, with more and more of us wanting to know about food provenance – where it’s from and how it’s produced. But have you ever wondered about your pet’s food? What does the ingredients list on the packaging actually mean? And why does your dog’s or cat’s complete food contain things such as ‘crude ash’?
According to the Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA), The law requires that the labelling on pet food must contain certain key pieces of information. This includes a list of ingredients (referred to on the label as ‘composition’), additives and a nutrition analysis (referred to as ‘analytical constituents’) along with feeding guidelines.
Most pet foods are made from a recipe using several ingredients, which will be listed under ‘composition’ in descending order of weight. They can be indicated using category names, which are laid down by industry regulations, such as 'meat and animal derivatives', 'cereals', 'derivatives of vegetable origin'. Alternatively, ingredients can be listed by their own individual names. When an ingredient is used that does not fall into any of the prescribed categories, its individual name must be listed. If particular attention is drawn to a specific ingredient – for example, ‘with chicken’ – the percentage of that component must also be listed.
The percentage of the following must be listed:
DID YOU KNOW?
Additives which can be used in pet foods may include vitamins, flavours, preservatives, antioxidants and colours. All additives must go through rigorous safety and efficacy tests before they can be used in pet food, which is strictly governed by EU legislation. If preservatives, antioxidants or colourants have been added to the product, this should be declared on the label. If you, as a pet owner, have any queries regarding additives, you should contact the manufacturer responsible, quoting the batch number.
If Vitamins A and D are added to the product, their presence and level has to be declared. The added quantity should be listed under 'additives'. Manufacturers may also include the total amount guaranteed at the end of shelf life under 'analytical constituents'.
The wording of this must state:
This date indicates the minimum storage life of the product. The month and year must be shown.
A batch number or the date of manufacture must be given to ensure the product is traceable.
We hope you’ve found this useful, but if you have any questions or comments about Burgess Pet Care and any of our ranges, or would like some nutrition advice for your pets, we’re always happy to hear from you.
For more general information on pet food ingredients, visit: pfma.org.uk >>
Why your cat is a fussy eater >>
Cats can be on the picky side, but there are some very good reasons why this is the case
Dog nutrition Q&A with our vet >>
For your dog, it’s not just a case of you are what you eat, it’s more about what your human feeds you…
Is it time to rethink how you feed your cat? >>
For today’s pet cats, the most that’s required to get a meal is a bit of meowing. But experts believe that the way we feed our felines is not in their best interests…
Feeding life stage foods >>
Meeting the nutritional needs of our pets at different stages of their lives provides real benefits, as our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes explains
How to get your pet in shape >>
Over 60% of vets say obesity is the biggest health and welfare concern for UK pets. Our in-house vet Dr Suzanne Moyes is on hand with some brilliant fat-busting tips, astonishing facts and useful on-line tools