Pet Food Labels - Nutrition

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Pet Food Labels
This section is part of Pet Food

A pet food label fulfils two main roles:

  1. It is a document that delivers legally required information, which is important for control authorities and
  2. It provides information to the purchaser about the product and the producing company.

Pet food differs from human food products in that the final consumer is not the purchaser. The information on the label is provided for pet owners, caretakers or veterinarians who may choose or recommend what the cat or dog is fed. The primary purpose of a label is to provide clear, accurate and honest information on the composition, characteristics and use of the pet food product. In many countries the information included on a pet food label and the way it appears are largely defined by legislation.
The following sections describe the way pet food is labelled in the European Union and in the United States. Specific pet food labelling legislation and guidelines also exist in many other countries around the world.

Section Content:


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Educational Brief
One of the biggest challenges facing pet owners and veterinary professionals in regards to pet food is the sheer amount of information available, much of it being prone to misinterpretation and confusion. The advent of the internet has both improved access to information, however, it has also added to the problem because of propagation of misinformation. It is important to recognise that as a legal document, much of what can be found in a pet food label is strictly required declarations. These declarations are not written for the benefit of pet owners, but rather to regulatory agencies. Nevertheless, pet food labels do provide important information, such as feeding instructions, and this section explains each component of pet food labels, what they mean in terms of the food provided, and most importantly, it clarifies terms that are often misinterpreted and misused on the internet. Aspects of pet food composition that often concerns pet owners such as preservatives and certain ingredients are clarified and demystified. Veterinary professionals will find this section extremely helpful when discussing pet food labels with pet owners.
By Professor Dan Chan

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