What does the word Natural mean on your pet food label? Well, it doesn’t mean that much. I recently wrote about Organic labeling and standards which are monitored by the USDA. Whereas Organic standards are fairly rigorous, the standards for Natural labels are minimal. It’s important to remember that Natural and Organic labels are not the same!
“Natural. As required by USDA, meat, poultry, and egg products labeled as “natural” must be minimally processed and contain no artificial ingredients. However, the natural label does not include any standards regarding farm practices and only applies to processing of meat and egg products. There are no standards or regulations for the labeling of natural food products if they do not contain meat or eggs.” Source: USDA National Organic Program http://www.ams.usda.gov
Clearly there is a lot of grey area regarding the definition of Natural. “Minimally processed” could mean practically anything and companies are very talented at marketing to make it seem that their food products are healthy. Essentially, any food label that says Natural could mean almost anything. Without clearly defined standards on which to base the Natural label, consumers can’t depend on it.
Of course, many foods that are labeled Natural are quality, healthy pet foods.
It’s the sneaky companies that try to falsely market their products using the word Natural that you have to watch out for!
With so many types of pet foods to choose from you can’t base your decision on one aspect of the label. Take the whole product into consideration, including the ingredients, labeling, and pricing.