Definition of Meat by-Products in Pet Foods

Written by Jennifer Pitts

Have you ever wondered what’s in your pets food? Chances are your cat or dog may-be consuming meat by-products without you even realizing!

When buying pet food, do you really know what you’re buying? I know I didn’t a few years ago and when I found out, I was horrified. Many cans and bags of pet food and indeed human foods have fancy labels, which seem to promise only the best quality. However, if you dig deeper you will see that a lot of it is very misleading.

The food industry is a multi-billion-dollar company which mostly only cares about one thing: Money! The cheaper they can provide food and the more expensive they can sell it – the better. This type of thinking leads to a lot of shortcuts, some of which may be, quite literally, hard to digest.

The profit and rendering industry

The first thing to know about how the food industry squeezes out more profit for less is to understand how they go about doing that. The main way is through a process called rendering. Any part of an animal which isn’t placed on the shelves for human consumption will be rendered. So this includes bones, organs and blood, as well as diseased and disabled animals and out-of-date supermarket meat.

Through the process of rendering these parts, they are placed into huge vats, ground up and cooked at intense temperatures for long periods of time. This process is meant to kill bacteria, viruses and parasites as well as remove the water content and separate the fat, but in reality, it destroys what good was ever in these leftover parts anyway.

Understanding meat by-products

What remains once this rendering process has been completed is a ‘meat by-product’. These are the dried protein remains which make up the majority of the meat content in your pet food. In actuality, there is no meat in the food at all and no-good nutrients. In order to make it a taste nice it has additives like chicken fat sprayed on the so-called meat so that your pet will actually like eat it.meat by-products

Meat by-products will usually include the parts of animals such as lung, spleen, kidney, stomach, intestine, brain, blood, bone and fatty tissue. When you see a can of pet food, which says, “chicken by-product” then you know that it has no genuine chicken meat in it at all and is made of their rendered animal remains instead.

Know what you are buying

Other varieties of meat by-product include meat meal and meat by-product meal; these are all processed and rendered in the same way but are packaged differently in order to confuse you into buying something of lesser quality. Unless the packaging specifically says, “chicken cat food” or “lamb dog food” then didn’t buy it, otherwise you could be harming your pet with bad quality food and chemicals.

One particular type of meat by-product is called meat digest. This may contain real meat, but is only added as a flavoring in order to trick your pet into thinking he’s eating the real deal. Stay away from this especially as it is likely this pet food has almost no protein content in it at all and is made up mostly of grains.

Other harmful ingredients

Many pet foods, in fact, don’t contain much meat in them at all and will instead be full of corn, meat by-products and rice fillers due to their low production cost and high-calorie content. The problem with this is that these calories are mostly empty and don’t contain the nutrition your pet needs to stay healthy.

Other ingredients that could be added to your pet food include corn syrup, propylene glycol, and monosodium glutamate or MSG. These are more harmful added flavorings and are often put in semi-moist pet food to give dampness and flexibility.

And to finish, some important additives to avoid include preservatives such as sodium nitrite, nitrate, butylated hydroxyanisole or BHA, and butylated hydroxytoluene or BHT. These are harmful enough for humans, but with manufacturers adding the same amount into the foods of smaller animals these become even more harmful and dangerous to your pet’s health.

About the author

Jennifer Pitts

I love pets and I love animals. I have 2 dogs and 3 cats and it's not enough for me.

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