The pet food i use, recommend and sell is APHIS certified Learn more here
What does this tell you about a pet food. Read this blog by Susan Thixton
Animal Plant Health Inspection Services (APHIS) European Union (EU) Certification; this is what a pet food manufacturer must have before a pet food can be shipped to Europe. This certification could provide the answer to quality of ingredients many pet parents have.
A pet food manufactured in the US and sold in the US, thanks to FDA Compliance Policies, can include rendered ingredients sourced from 4D (diseased, dying, disabled, and dead) animals. However, a pet food manufactured in the US and exported to Europe must be made from ingredients "fit for human consumption".
The European regulations state "The legislation prohibits the use of any rendered protein which was obtained from animal carcasses that were unfit for human consumption as an animal feed ingredient or for pet food."
As well, APHIS EU certified pet foods would be GM free. From the EU regulations "All food products containing or consisting of GMOs, produced from GMOs or containing ingredients produced from GMOs must be labeled even if they no longer contain detectable traces of GMOs."
eHow journalist Michele Moore, explains that besides meat ingredients fit for human consumption and non GM ingredients, each shipment of pet food (to obtain APHIS EU certification) "Pet food manufacturers must obtain a health certificate that is signed by APHIS after pet food manufacturing facilities have been inspected and officially approved by APHIS veterinary services. A health certificate must accompany each individual pet food shipment."
And "Suppliers of cereals, meat or fish must be approved by APHIS. Approval is based upon freshness, nutritional quality and digestibility. Quality control at the manufacturing site measure levels of protein and the percentage of fat. Additional quality controls cover hygiene, packaging and storage."
So what does this mean to petsumers?
Regardless if you live in the US or in Europe, a pet food that has APHIS EU certification provides you with several guarantees.
1. meat ingredients are sourced from animals fit for human consumption (human grade).
2. knowledge of GM ingredients (manufacturer would be required to know and provide this information to US or Canadian pet parents, would be listed on the label for EU pet parents).
3. Suppliers of ingredients are inspected and approved by USDA.
4. Additional quality control.
And yes, pet foods can have APHIS EU certification and be sold in the US (and anywhere else in the world).
Call your pet food manufacturer and ask if the food has APHIS EU certification. Warning: I've had some pet foods over the years try to tell me they are inspected by APHIS; this is not a complete or correct answer. You need to know if the pet food manufacturing plant specifically has APHIS EU certification. Yes, you can ask for a copy of that certification for proof.
And by the way, don't assume that because a pet food is sold in Europe but known to be a US pet food has APHIS EU certification. Many brands that are sold internationally have manufacturing plants in various countries around the world; this is a way to avoid stricter import/export laws.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author, Buyer Beware