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What do we mean when we say our treats are ‘human grade’?

human grade what does it mean

‘Human grade’ is the latest buzzword in the pet industry. Everyone will claim that their homemade pet food or homemade pet treats are ‘human grade’. But do you really know what it means?

What does ‘human grade’ mean?

‘Human grade’ technically means meat (and other ingredients) that are legally certified fit for human consumption. This means that they are meats and ingredients that humans can eat, and that it has passed the necessary quality checks and processing that allows it to be sold as human food. These would be food sold in most supermarkets or food markets.

The opposite would be ‘pet grade’ which has a lower threshold of quality, and is not commonly sold as human food. This could be because it consists of trimmings, lower quality parts and cuts, or parts that will not otherwise be sold for human consumption – this sometimes includes offals (organs). If you have ever come across ‘meat dust’ or ‘meat meal’ this is a byproduct of meat processing that is not sold for human consumption, but is commonly sold as ‘pet food’. You may unwittingly purchase it thinking it is mince/ground meat, when it isn’t. It is the dust from cutting the meat and bones, or extraction from meat by products, scraped together, and packed to be sold for pets, and is nutritionally inferior.

It is worth noting however, that here in Asia where animal by products and offals (organs) are commonly consumed by humans, we have a much wider range of human grade meat parts and ingredients to draw from. It is not uncommon to have by-products like chicken or duck feet and necks, liver, tongue or ears or spleen and penis found in human dishes. Often, it is quite a delicacy! For us in Asia therefore, we are competing with human consumption for most of the animal parts that we source, and some are pretty scarce (like necks, tongue, penis and ears!).

Bearing this in mind, it is worth noting that here in Asia, we are able to claim that our more unusual cuts and parts are from human grade sources, while these same parts in the West may be considered by-products unfit for human consumption.

Are all meats ‘human grade’?

Generally they are, if they are sourced from suppliers that supply to the human food market. This is why we place emphasis on the source and supply of our meats, as our focus is on meat that is fit for human consumption.

However, while most meats are ‘human grade’, not all human grade meat is fit for human consumption. We only select and process meats and parts that we will eat ourselves. If it looks dodgy, it goes in the bin – not even to our dogs!

Where possible, we go directly to the source e.g. the farm, the butchers, the fishermen or fishmongers. We have rejected meats that do not look fresh or have been improperly stored before delivery to us. We have thrown out batches of treats that do not turn out properly due to the condition of the meats that are supplied to us.

We constantly evaluate and reevaluate the raw material received from our suppliers to ensure their quality, and we are always looking for new or better suppliers to ensure a more consistent supply of quality products. Our dogs eat raw & home cooked meals from the same source, so sourcing is very important to us.

Pet treats made from ‘human grade’ sources

So, what do we mean when we say that our pet treats are from ‘human grade’ sources?

This means that we source our meats, seafood and other ingredients from suppliers that sell food fit for human consumption. Their meats, seafood and other ingredients come from abbatoirs and poultry processing plants that are properly certified as fit to be sold as human food. We source our meats directly from butchers, farms and importers who supply directly to restaurants and consumers. When we use a ground meat or bone, we grind it ourselves so we control the cleanliness of our meat grinders and the meats that go into it.

Our fish come from fresh from the market, where we collect it ready to be processed by us each time. We do not use frozen fish, so we can gauge the freshness of each fish before cutting and going into the ovens.

These are the same meats, fish and ingredients that end up on our dinner table and in our dogs’ dinner bowls.

What about the finished treats – are they human grade?

Yes and no. The finished products are not certified as fit for human consumption, but they are edible, if you wish to try them. We currently process, handle and store finished products in as best compliance with human food handling, as possible.

Why do we use ‘human grade’ meats?

The simple reason is because these ingredients are higher in nutrition value, and processed in conditions fit for human consumption. They do not usually include sick or dying animals, as the animals processed for human food must be inspected and certified before slaughter. Abbatoirs and slaughter houses for human food are also inspected and certified.

We feel more comfortable buying raw materials from suppliers who also supply to restaurants and consumers, because human food is generally held to a higher standard than pet food. This means that the food we feed our pets is the same food that ends up on our tables.

We want the best for our dogs, and by extension, yours.

So, wonder no more about what ‘human grade’ treats mean.

You can view our selection of human grade dog treats at our online store below.