Pet Foods and Treats

Pet Foods and Treats

Last Updated on 02/03/2023 by K9 Oil Supplements

Are Pet Foods and Treats Feed or Human Grade ?

When we make choices on pet foods and treats, we have to also consider the marketplace, as in what’s available to purchase for our pets. There are basically two “grades” of pet foods and treats that we should all know about, however, we feel that it is most important to understand the position of the FDA when it comes to the laws that they create which allows pet food products on the market.

In April 2019, the FDA stated:

“…the use of tissues, including from animals that were diseased or died otherwise than by slaughter, for rendering and canning would not present any food safety concerns…”


We are here to inform you. We do not make recommendations or claims on any specific brand of pet foods and treats. While we feed our own pets certain pet foods and treats, we know that determining and placing your trust into a pet foods and treats brand is a personal decision that all pet parents must make for themselves. However, we offer this information because we are more concerned with pets and pet parents, rather than pet foods and treats manufacturers.

We have seen pet food recalls that alert us of Salmonella and other biological hazards for many pet foods and treats. What is interesting is that the FDA mentions Salmonella as a concern pet foods and treats manufacturers need to “consider” when using diseased animals as an ingredient.

All Pet Foods and Treats Fall Into One of Two Classifications

Feed Grade: “Material that has been determined to be safe, functional and suitable for its intended use in animal food, is handled and labeled appropriately, and conforms to the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act unless otherwise expressly permitted by the appropriate state or federal agency (Suitable for use in animal feed).”


Human Grade: “Every ingredient and the resulting product are stored, handled, processed, and transported in a manner that is consistent and compliant with regulations for current good manufacturing practices (cGMPs) for human edible foods as specified in 21 CFR Part 117.”


Note: U.S. Federal Law does not have a definition of Feed Grade. Hence the only definition is the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) definition in the Sources above.

Feed Grade Classification:

• Feed grade pet foods are not required to abide by US Federal food safety laws. In fact, the FDA allows feed grade pet foods to violate federal law. 

• Ingredients and supplements are not required to be human edible.

• Not required to be manufactured by food safety standards.

• Formulated for pet consumption only, are not held to US food safety law.

• NOT labeled with any term or disclosure to alert pet owners to feed grade quality and /or potential use of illegal inferior ingredients or inferior manufacturing conditions. 

• All styles of pet food can be feed grade: dry, canned, raw, dehydrated, etc. 

NOTE: If a pet food product is not clearly labelled with the words “Human Grade”, then it is a Feed Grade product.

Human Grade Classification: 

• Human grade pet foods are “FOOD” – required to abide by all US Federal food safety laws.

• All ingredients and supplements are human edible.

• Manufactured by the same safety standards as human food.

• Formulated for pet consumption, but are held to the exact same food safety laws as human food. 

• Labeled with the term HUMAN GRADE alerting pet owners that all food safety requirements have been met. If your pet’s food does not say this, it is feed grade. 

• Raw pet foods are not allowed to be labeled as Human Grade. Raw pet foods meet the legal requirements of the claim IF they are manufactured under USDA inspection. 

Learn more about our Human Grade pet supplement ingredients.

More about the pet food and treats industry.


AAFCO Ingredients Definition Committee

April 2019, FDA CVM director Dr. Steven Solomon response to the wonderful Susan Thixton of the Association for the Truth in Pet Food Citizen Petition

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