Meat, fish, or bone meals are ‘convenient,’ easy-to-process ingredients that are often included in pet foods or pet supplements. But how good is the quality of such meals?
According to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), chicken meal “…is the dry rendered product from a combination of clean flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from whole carcasses of chicken thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.” [Wikipedia]
To produce commercial meals, animals are slaughtered, and desirable parts are rendered and ground into a meal that is subsequently dried. ‘Wet rendering’ is a less frequently used process employed in the manufacture of feed meals.
A passionate opponent of meals—particularly chicken meal—makes the following claim:
“Chicken meal is never suitable for human consumption as it is rendered. Rendering facilities always process chicken meal using unrefrigerated carcass up to but not limited to 7 days old and may contain maggots.”
More thought-provoking—and stomach-turning—is a Virginia Tech study Virginia Tech study that offered that “dry rendering has been identified to be the most appropriate technology for disposing of animal waste.”
An FDA compliance guidance manual provides a very comprehensive overview about the manufacturing and safety standards applied in the production of meat meals (e.g., fish and chicken meals) for animal feed. Here are some choice excerpts of this guidance manual:
“Rendered animal feed ingredients include the various poultry, meat and marine products which result from the rendering of these animal tissues. Rendering of poultry and other animal tissues has been practiced for over a hundred years as a means of salvaging valuable protein and fat content from otherwise waste material. For many years end products from rendering have been used to feed animals. The rendering industry utilizes packinghouse offal, meat processing waste, restaurant waste and animal tissues from other sources including animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter.”
“…the Center [for Veterinary Medicine] has permitted other aesthetic variables in dealing with animal feed, as for instance the use of properly treated insect or rodent contaminated food for animal feed.”
We at Onesta Organics agree that animals that are raised and killed for meat should be used in the least wasteful manner possible. Unfortunately, although both the taste and nutritional value of organ meats is appreciated in some countries, the same organs are less valued by other cultures, particularly those in the modern West. We at Onesta Organics think that it’s a great idea to use animal parts that would otherwise go to waste during the manufacture of pet foods. But we prefer to use fresh organ meats instead of any rendered, heavily processed meals the quality of which we absolutely couldn’t vouch for. Whenever possible, fresh, minimally processed ingredients—including meat—are always best!