EU’s Organic Food Labeling Laws Now Apply to Pet Food
We all want the best for our pets, which is why many people have taken to investing in higher-quality animal food. Much of this food contains organic ingredients. Organic food is 100% natural and grown without synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. To certify food as organic, manufacturers must put their ingredient lists and facilities through stringent inspections which largely don’t exist for pet food. New regulations in the EU are setting out to change that.
Organic Food Labeling Laws in Europe
In January 2022, the European Union passed a law that allowed pet food manufacturers to label their products as organic if all their agricultural ingredients meet organic standards. These requirements were even stricter than those that regulate human food. Recently, the EU Commission amended this law to bring it more in line with the guidelines for other organic products.
The EU organic regulation states that food products may only bear the organic logo if they contain at least 95% certified organic ingredients. Only registered third-party certification bodies such as Ecocert can certify a product as organic in the EU. European producers must now meet the same requirements for organic pet food.
Is Organic Pet Food a Better Choice?
Despite its growing popularity, no reliable studies show that eating organic food is any better than eating non-organic food1. However, the same is not necessarily true for pet food. Unfortunately, the food that we give to animals is far less regulated than the food we buy for ourselves. Sometimes, it may even contain harmful ingredients.
Choosing an organic dog or cat food brand gives consumers peace of mind that all the ingredients in the product come from nature and will not harm their pet. For this reason, organic pet food is generally a safe choice.
Comparing European and American Organic Pet Food Regulations
Like the EU Commission, the USDA requires that organic pet food meets the same requirements as organic human food in the States. However, the law is much blurrier than its European counterpart. The FDA has no official labeling guidelines for organic pet food and has yet to develop a list of permissible additives. For now, pet food brands may follow the same labeling laws that apply to human food.
Consumers can also look to the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) for guidance on pet food quality. AAFCO is a non-profit that develops guidelines for feed testing and ingredient requirements in the US. Checking for AAFCO approval on the label and whether they use the term “complete and balanced” to describe the food is a helpful indicator of quality.
Using Palatants to Enhance Pet Food Flavor
In the US and EU, pet food may be labeled as organic if it contains at least 95% organic ingredients. The remaining 5% often comprises additives that make the food taste, smell, and look better to cats and dogs. These ingredients are called palatants.
Pets prefer food that resembles their natural food source, which is typically meat of some kind. Palatants add meaty aroma, flavor, and sometimes texture to pet foods to make them more enticing to your pet. Although they are not always organic, palatants are usually natural, meaning they come from plant or animal proteins.
Find Certified Organic Flavorings for Pet Food
Meeting the 95% organic ingredient requirement can be a challenge with multi-ingredient products like pet food. That’s why producers need as many certified organic flavorings and additives as possible. Advanced Biotech supplies a premium range of USDA-certified organic ingredients that also meet EU standards. Please contact us for more information.