Human Grade vs. Feed Grade
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Human Grade vs. Feed Grade

Human Grade vs. Feed Grade Ingredients

You love your dog and want to provide them the very best. That should include meeting their food needs with healthy options. The most beneficial food for your dog is a healthy dog food that is crafted from fresh, whole food. If it is human grade dog food, all the better.

The differences between human grade and feed grade are staggering if the health and safety of your pet are important to you. Not only can feed grade contain ingredients that humans wouldn’t eat, it often includes ingredients that are unsafe to be consumed by humans due to their known side effects.

Human Grade 

Ingredients must be suitable and safe for human consumption. To be considered human grade, food must be manufactured in a USDA inspected facility that produces only human grade food. According to The Pet Food Industry, “The use of the term “human grade” is only acceptable to the product as a whole. Every ingredient and finished food must be stored, handled, processed and transported in a manner that is consistent with current good manufacturing processes (cGMPs).”

Feed Grade Ingredients

Feed grade, on the other hand, cannot legally be sold as human food as it can/could contain ingredients proven harmful to humans, such as:


One way that pet food companies cut corners and cost is including by-products in their food. Doing so reduces the cost of production while maintaining high protein quantities in the food. By-products are the castoffs other than meat that make their way into commercial dog food. The spleen, kidneys, fatty tissue, the brain, blood, bone, undeveloped eggs, stomach, and intestines are all items that could be included in feed grade dog food. By-products can also include road kill, expired meat, and diseased animals.

Rendered Meat

The process that animal by-products go through in order to be used in feed grade food is called meat rendering, which reduces by-products into a gray, fatty meat mass. The by-products are placed in a huge grinder that thrashes the meat and blends it all together. It is then heated for hours until the grease and fat float along the top of this concoction. The finished product is considered meat and by meal---and placed into feed grade pet food.


One more way to cut cost and increase profit margins is the addition of fillers to your pet food. These feature very little nutritional value but are relied upon to make the expensive components of the product stretch further. Fillers can include corn, wheat and rice bran, oat and soybean hulls. Healthy, fresh dog food should never include unnecessary fillers.


This is a deception crafted to make you believe you are getting more out of your pet food than you are. According to Pet MD, an example of this is, “a cat food may have fish broth as the first ingredient, corn gluten meal as the second, fish as the third, and animal fat preserved with ground yellow corn as the fourth. It looks as if fish is a big part of the food, but this is a corn-based product.” Here the food producer has split corn into two ingredients so it’s listed further down the ingredient list.