Human grade vs Pet grade meat
You’d think it would be simple to read a label and understand what it means right? Well, when deciphering between Human Grade and Pet Grade meats, it’s good to know exactly what their meanings are and what to ask your supplier.
Human-grade meats are, legally suitable for human consumption (edible). They are handled in a strictly monitored manufacturing facility with quality-control checks to ensure cleanliness and regulations are being adhered to.
Pet-grade meat, on the other hand, is far less monitored. Things have happened to this meat during production that has made it not 100% safe for human consumption (inedible). The major player in ‘pet grade products’ is rendered by-products of the meat industry. But some other examples of ‘pet grade’ products are foods that are:
- dropped on the floor
- sick, injured, dying or dead animals
- road kill (not in Australia)
- euthanized animals
Pet grade meats are then covered with preservatives including the extremely dangerous sulphur dioxide, to not only make it ‘stay fresh’ longer, but also to mask any unappealing smells to the pets.
Having said that, sometimes pet grade meats can simply be parts of the animal humans wouldn’t consume (no waste), for example beef trimmings from a ‘human grade’ cow that have too much gristle to be sold to humans.
Unfortunately, the pet food industry is not a very transparent one. Clever wording and marketing are easy ways for pet food companies to hide behind. It’s great to understand the questions that you should be asking when deciphering whether their products are right for your pet/s or not.
The best place to start is if they list their products as pet grade, ask why. What makes their meats ‘pet grade’?