What’s AAFCO Human Grade Pet Food?

As pet parents, finding the perfect meal plan for your furry companion is one of the most important things

We all want to provide our pets with the most nutritious food selections. Did you know that AFFCO human-grade pet food is one of those options?

In this article, let’s take a look at how the AAFCO guidelines apply to human grade pet food and how it will aid your pet’s health and livelihood.

human grade pet food

What does human-grade mean in pet food?

Human-grade is just a broad phrase used to refer to food that may be consumed by humans. As hypothetically, you can consume the food, it's simple to conclude that it's healthy for your pet.

The grade and kind of protein used in pet food vary by brand, but the thought that the contents in your pet's food are excellent enough for you to eat them may provide some comfort.

These feeds are usually holistically developed, use organic or locally sourced ingredients, and have a significantly deeper nutritional profile that is better suited to a pet's nutritional needs.

As human-grade food employs more expensive ingredients and production procedures, these meals are a little more expensive than conventional pet food.

Human grade pet food is a terrific type of meal to consider for your pet because it is nutritious and its ingredient quality is much more reliable.

It's simple to find pet meals that satisfy the complete standard of human grade since they usually openly proclaim themselves as ‘Human Grade’ on the label.

However, there are certain pet meals that are human-grade but cannot be labelled as such. These are pet meals that are continually inspected by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

What are the benefits of human-grade pet food?

Here are some of the advantages of human-grade pet food:

1. Safer for consumption

If your pet's health and safety are vital to you, the differences between human-grade and feed-grade pet diets are easy to spot.

The word "feed grade" refers to goods that are intended to contain food for animals, such as pets, farm animals, and even zoo animals.

The safety of feed grade materials for human consumption has not been established. Because of the ingredients, it contains or the way it has been produced, it can only be lawfully given to animals.

By-products, chemicals, fillers, and parts from dead, dying, crippled, or sick animals may be found in some of those feed-grade pet food.

We wouldn't put those items in our own stomachs, so why would we offer them to our pets?

2. Improved immune system

Human-grade food made with high-quality ingredients help build strong immunity and increased vitality.

The protein and natural antioxidants found in high-quality, fresh food also help fight ailments and illnesses.

This is a better option than feeding commercial dry pet food as it has been cooked at high temperatures. Being cooked at high temperatures causes the natural nutrients in any individual ingredients to be destroyed.

3. Better digestive system

With human-grade pet food, you're providing your pet companion with nutritious, easy-to-digest food.

Pet food that is simpler to digest results in fewer and less stinky faeces, as well as a happy and healthier pet.

A human-grade pet food diet is more easily digestible for animals since it is more bioavailable. This is due to the fact that it has less resistant fibre and more fluid and accessible nutrients.

Higher digestibility means more nutrients are available and a faster rate of absorption in the gastrointestinal tract.

4. Better skin health

Some pets are more susceptible to skin problems such as itching, rashes, and dry fur.

While many pet parents attribute these symptoms to allergies, the excessive quantities of fillers in processed, dry pet food may possibly be triggers and can create a variety of skin disorders.

A diet that is rich in minerals, such as essential fatty acids, will aid in enhancing skin health and moisturise your pets’ coats, especially when the meat has not been processed.

5. Less stool

Research comparing human-grade dog meals with feed-grade kibble found that dogs on the kibble diet needed to consume more calories than dogs on the human-grade diet.

And, because what goes in must come out, kibble-eating dogs produced far more faeces. In fact, dogs fed human-grade food generated half the quantity of excrement as dogs that were fed kibble.

6. Reduced amount of additives

Unfortunately, some pet food businesses alter their recipes to incorporate unhealthy ingredients in order to boost their profits.

It is not a good idea to feed dogs by substituting substances like maize meal for genuine protein.

Protein should always be the first element on the list, and this is always the case with human-grade food.

There are no extra fillers, food colouring, artificial flavours, or other additives in this diet.

Does human-grade pet food follow AAFCO guidelines?

The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) is a non-profit organisation that brings together feed regulators to discuss issues they face when enforcing feed laws, create fair and equal equitable standards, definitions, and policies, and endorse uniformity in laws, regulations, and enforcement policies.

This organization's members aren't veterinarians or veterinary nutritionists, but they do contribute to the development of standards and definitions for words used in pet food and pet food labelling.

When it comes to human-grade pet food, they claim that only a small percentage of pet food items are certified human edible or human-grade.

It would be costly to produce pet food that satisfied these criteria. While pet owners are free to purchase whatever they believe is best for their pet, they should be aware of the definitions and probabilities.

Requirements for human-grade pet food

Individual ingredients in a completed product that do not completely correspond to the manufacturing and ingredient requirements listed above may not be labelled as "human grade."

To prove that a "human grade" claim is accurate and not deceptive, a company making one or more "human grade" claims must have proof that:

  • Each of the individual ingredient suppliers has confirmed that the ingredients sent to the producer are safe to eat.
  • Every component, as well as the finished product, is kept, handled, processed, and transported in accordance with guidelines set for human edible foods.
  • The authorised authorities have granted the manufacturing plant a licence to make human food.

    Human-grade pet food labelling

    Pet food or specialty pet food products that claim to be "human grade" must be clearly labelled for their intended purpose as animal food, such as "dog food" or "cat treats," and must comply with all other pet food and specialty pet food labelling standards.

    The following applies to labelling as well:

    • The ingredient declaration may or may not include quality or grade statements.
    • On the label, all instances of the font size of the phrase "human grade" must be no bigger than the statement of intended use mandated by the guidelines.
    • A claim of "human grade ingredients" is only valid if the product meets all of the requirements of this guideline.
    • The declaration of intended use must be included in labelling in order to utilise the phrase "human grade." On labelling, all instances of the phrase "human grade" must be no bigger than the declaration of intended use.

      What to keep a lookout for when buying human-grade pet food?

      The phrase "human-grade" has one major flaw: it says nothing about whether the pet food in question is nutritionally adequate and balanced.

      For example, you might feed your pet a meal consisting of human-grade potatoes, chicken, and vitamins, but you have no way of knowing if it would cover all of your pet's nutritional needs without further information.

      At the very least, be sure that any food you feed your pet — human-grade or not — has a statement on the label that states something along the lines of either of these AAFCO statements indicating that it is complete and balanced.

      How to determine if the pet food is human-grade?

      By glancing at the claims on the box, you may quickly determine which pet meals are human grade. It's not human-grade food if it doesn't say "human-grade food" on the label.

      If the claim appears exclusively on the brand's website rather than on the container, be sceptical.

      Do your homework and look into claims with a critical eye. Choose a meal that says it's completely human-grade pet food, not just human-grade ingredients. Merely having human-grade components doesn't make it human-grade food.

      When identifying what grade of meat is in the pet food, look for the species of meat and the cuts that were used to make it.

      You don't want to see beef meals or by-products; you want to see precise cuts. Examine the list of ingredients for any splitting techniques, fillers, or by-products.

      Can you eat human-grade pet food?

      The phrase "human grade" is only used in the context of pet food. The USDA classifies the foods we (humans) consume as edible.

      These goods must remain in the human supply chain and meet all Food and Drug Administration criteria for handling, storage, and labelling, among other things.

      So, even if you could, would you want to eat your pet’s food? Pet food isn't designed with human nutritional needs or even the human palate in mind. So, while it won't make you ill, it's not going to taste very good.

      If you want to give your pet a reward, there are other methods to do it safely. You can share some lean grilled or roasted foods like chicken, turkey, salmon, or beef, as well as some roasted vegetables (without spices or heavy sauces).

      Nevertheless, do consult with your local veterinarian before feeding your pet anything new.

      Final remarks

      You should keep in mind that whatever meal you choose, the nutrition and food should be customised to the demands of each individual pet.

      Human-grade pet food has several advantages, whether utilised as a whole meal or as a garnish. You can be certain that your pet is eating high-quality food that will give them the nourishment they require to live their best lives.

      Petcubes' human grade pet food

      If you're buying a diet for your pet, try out Petcubes human-grade fresh pet foodwhich is carefully made by professionals with the aim of providing the best nutritional pet meal.

      Reviewed by: 

      Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.

      Reviewed by: 

      Dr Francis is one of the top wildlife nutritionists in Asia. Originating from Montreal, Canada, he left at 21 to pursue his Masters and subsequently a PhD in wildlife nutrition at Oxford Brookes University. Instead of taking the path of common animal science to learn about farm animals, or through the veterinarian space and taking a certificate in nutrition, he took the road less travelled to dive deep into the world of animal ecology, metabolism and nutrition.