What is the proper definition of by-products?

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By-products are what are left of a slaughtered animal after the edible parts have been removed. They often include organ meats, such as liver and kidney, bone, blood, brains, GI tract, brains, lungs, and head. Commonly, by-products are taken from chicken and other poultry meat, turkey and beef. Although not intended for human consumption, they can legally be used in commercial dog food.

Many experts say that by-products are excellent sources of protein and essential vitamins and minerals for pets. While muscle tissue (meat) is a great source of amino acids and protein for building muscle, many experts say that, since animal byproducts includes a combination of ingredients, it provides complete essential vitamins, minerals and other nutrients— including glucosamine and chondroitin, which is found in the bone and cartilage.

An e-mail from PedigreePedigree statesd: “ By-products are the clean parts other than muscle tissue derived from beef or pork (“meat by-products”) or chicken or turkey (“poultry by-products”). It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, liver, blood, bone, and stomach. It does not include hair, feathers, horns, teeth, or hooves. By-products are the meats of choice to dogs and cats in the wild, probably because they are so rich in many valuable and essential nutrients for your pet. Properly used, they are an excellent and highly digestible source of essential nutrients.”

Many pet experts agree.

Dr. Joseph Wakslag, DVM, Assistant Professor of Clinical Nutrition at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell, used the comparison of poultry meat versus poultry by-products as an example.

“So if I put you on Survivor and asked you if you wanted poultry or poultry by-product for your tribe to survive on for the entire year, which would you choose? I would choose by-product since it has more essential nutrients and all the good protein of poultry,” said Dr. Wakshlag. “It grosses us out as humans, but in fact is ‘”the good stuff”.’ The only major problem with by-product meals is that they may be a little less digestible than the poultry meal, but that is equivocal based on sourcing of those ingredients.”

The use of by-products are is also a sustainable source of quality protein to ensure the human food chain is not negatively impacted.

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