The words “meal” and “byproduct” don’t mean fake food

Some consumers are afraid of reading words like “meal” and “byproduct” on their pet food package because they believe these are catchall terms for something that isn’t considered real food. But this belief is both incorrect and misleading.

Dr. Heinze told INSIDER, “Meals are usually dehydrated proteins, typically rendered – cooked to separate out some of the fat from the protein. For plants, it means a dry, processed grain product – e.g. corn meal”

It does not mean faux meats, nor does it indicate the food has been made with hooves or horns, as outlined by The Clinical Nutrition Team at Cummings Veterinary Medicine Center at Tufts University.

The same holds true for the word “byproduct,” which gets a pretty bad rep from consumers, despite their components – usually organs like livers and hearts – containing a high level of beneficial nutrients for animals.

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