On a dog food label, what’s the proper definition of poultry?FamilyPet
In dog food processing, “poultry” is (or should be) more specific, saying “chicken” or “turkey.” Here are the AAFCO definitions for fresh chicken and fresh turkey:
Chicken: The clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.
Turkey : Unspecified turkey. Not a complete AAFCO description.
The AAFCO defines “chicken meal” as follows: Chicken which has been ground or otherwise reduced in particle size. AAFCO also has a definition for “chicken liver” meal: – chicken livers which have been ground or otherwise reduced in particle size and “chicken by products” meal: Consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, and exclusive of feathers (except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.)
The AAFCO definition of “turkey meal” is as follows: The ground clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of turkey or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails.
There’s a lot of confusion among pet owners as to whether fresh meat or meal is better. Ideally, a dog food label will contain both in the list of ingredients.
Here’s how they differ:
Fresh meat, surprisingly, can have lower protein content than what actually appears on the label. That’s because it’s wet before processing. Therefore, it can weigh in at 70 percent protein before processing, but after cooking, when the water and fat is drained, the protein count can drop to as low as 15 percent.
Since it’s dry from start to finish, the protein count in meal never changes—it always weighs in at about 65 percent from start to finish.
One caveat: Just be sure the meal is very species specific, such as “poultry meal,” rather than “meat meal.” “Meat meal” can be anything, from roadkill to dead zoo animals.