In the United States, the FDA regulates commercial pet food and treats and requires the listing of ingredients. However, in some cases, harmful ingredients are still included in pet foods. Many dry pet foods include preservatives and ingredients humans don’t normally eat, so it’s important to understand what the ingredients are. For pet food manufacturing companies, it’s important to avoid certain ingredients to appeal to educated consumers.

Additionally, there are currently projects that are leading the fight for better pet food like the Clean Label Project in the United States and the Campaign for Real Pet Food in the United Kingdom. These organizations have a mission of teaching consumers about truth and transparency in labeling and removing harmful chemicals from pet food. Vetting your company’s pet food for notorious ingredients or chemicals will help sales and improve the health of pets.

Gaining a Competitive Advantage with High-Quality Pet Food

Commercially available pet food is required by the FDA to be nutritionally complete and balanced for pets’ health. With a full range of proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, pet food formulations will meet pets’ nutritional needs.

While the FDA requires complete nutrition, it does not regulate the chemicals and preservatives in dog food as stringently. Common chemical additives include propylene glycol, ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT, which are preservatives. BHA and BHT are carcinogens that can cause kidney and liver damage in other animals, while ethoxyquin is a synthetic antioxidant that is illegal to use in human foods. Propylene glycol is a humectant found in wet food and in some treats, which can be damaging to your pets’ health. These ingredients are sometimes introduced in the pet food manufacturing process to improve the shelf life of the food.

There are also various food dyes and rendered fats commonly found in dog food, including Blue 2, Red 40, Yellow 5, and 6, that cause various health problems in humans. Rendered fats provide flavor enhancement to food, but can contain salmonella and toxins. These staples in the dog food manufacturing process are becoming more and more known to the informed consumer.

The FDA and Pet Food

While the main purpose of the FDA is to protect human health interests, the federal agency is also concerned with the well-being of American pets. The FDA requires pet food manufacturing companies to include “proper listing of all the ingredients in the product in order from most to least, based on weight” and Guaranteed Analysis, which is the percentage of crude protein, fat, fiber, and moisture. Depending on a pet’s weight, the FDA also recommends daily quantities of food. Ensuring that your pet food meets or exceeds FDA regulations will be key to getting your product to market.

Use Analytical Testing to Create Healthy, Safe Pet Food

While pet food companies are only required to follow the minimum FDA guidance on pet food, there are ways to go above and beyond.

There’s a growing movement for better, safer pet food. Analytical testing of your formulas from Avomeen can help you create the best pet food. Going above the FDA’s guidelines and removing artificial preservatives, rendered fats, and contaminants from your company’s pet food would allow you to distinguish your food and market unique facets of your product. For more information about our chemical analysis services, call us at 1-800-930-5450 or contact us.