Here are the rules surrounding the naming conventions of your pets food, I think it might surprise you!
– The 95 Percent Rule: At least 95% of the product must be the names ingredient. Examples would be if a food were advertised as “Chicken Dog Food” or “Tuna Cat Food” it must include 95% chicken or tuna to carry those labels. Also, the named “MAIN” product must be at least 70% of the total volume when you count added water. You may ask, what about the other 5%? Well the AAFCO requires that it be mainly vitamins and minerals with trace amounts of other ingredients. Obviously, anything in the 95% Rule is going to be high quality.
– The 25 Percent Rule: When you see clever names like “Salmon Dinner for Cats” or “Lamb and Noodles Entree”, this is an example of marketing around the 25% Rule. If the named ingredients comprise at least 25 percent of the product (not counting the water for processing), but less than 95 percent, the product name must include a qualifying term, such as dinner, entrée, or platter. Counting the added water, the named ingredients still must comprise 10 percent of the product. If more than one ingredient is included in a “dinner,” the combination of the named ingredients must total 25 percent of the product and be listed in the same order as found on the ingredient list.
Confusing? Not really… its lesser quality. Anywhere from 25 but less than 95% of the product is the ingredient they are highlighting in the name. When they fancy it up with “Dinner” or “Entree” they have added more filler ingredients and less of the main product.
– The “WITH” Rule: If the label reads “Dinner with Chicken”, then it only needs to have 3% of the “WITH” ingredient in the product, total. Adding one word – WITH – changes the entire game and takes the quality tumbling down dramatically. This is why its critical to pay keen attention to the labels before you buy. One “WITH” can mean you’re feeding your favorite fur kid a bag of junk.
– The FLAVOR Rule: This is NOT a trip to FlavorTown. The FDA states that if the label reads “Beef Flavor” food, then a specific percentage of the named ingredient (beef in this case) is not required BUT a the product must contain an amount sufficient to be able to be detected. Again… who is tasting this to assure that you can detect the beef and who is asking your pets if they can taste it? In this example the word “FLAVOR” and the word “BEEF” must appear in the same size, style, font and color on the label. I guess that is so you know what your pets will be tasting when you ask them???
Lesson learned in section one… read the package and be sure you know if its 95%, 25%, WITH or FLAVOR Rule food. Choose wisely… your pet is counting on it.