What Pet Parents Need to Know
WHOLE Meat vs. “Meat Meal”
Why WHOLE Makes A Whole Lot of Difference®
What is a meat, poultry, or fish “meal”?
“Meat meal” is a primary ingredient in most dry cat food and dog food, and it is made by rendering slaughterhouse and fish processing factory remnants that are not edible for humans, and grinding them, cooking them at high heat to remove the water, and dehydrating them into a dry powdery substance that goes into kibble.
When meat, poultry, or fish is rendered into a “meal,” it loses a degree of its digestibility—as much as 30%.
Rendered animal proteins contain bone, which, depending upon the quality of the meat, can result in elevated levels of ash. And because carnivorous animals have among the shortest intestinal tracts of all mammals, ease (or lack of) digestibility matters. The more digestible the protein, the more bioavailable it is to your pet. So when you select a food with high-quality protein, and, as a result, high digestibility, your pet can retain and utilize more of the nutrition you pay for.
The first ingredient isn’t the whole story
Many pet foods claim their first ingredient is meat, but look closely and most of their labels contain “chicken meal,” “fish meal,” or some other form of “meat meal” as the second, third, or fourth ingredient.
The ingredients list on pet food packaging is organized similarly to that of human food—with the ingredients listed by weight, starting with the highest. The catch is that weight is measured before it is cooked. Fresh meat contains a lot of water, while “meat meal” has been highly processed to remove water.
Chicken might be listed as the first ingredient, however, after cooking it will lose a lot of its weight from water. By the time the kibble is made, the amount of chicken in it may be less than the fourth or fifth ingredient on the list.
Instead of using any kind of “meat meal,” Halo dry (kibble) recipes always use a combination of real WHOLE meat, poultry, or fish, egg, and non-GMO vegetable protein to meet your pet’s nutritional needs.
You get what you pay for
Pet food companies use rendered powdered “meat meal” for a simple reason, it costs pennies per pound of protein, while the WHOLE meat, poultry, and fish that Halo uses can cost $4-5 per pound of usable protein. At Halo, we insist on real WHOLE meat because it’s more digestible for your cat or dog, meaning your pet can use more of the nutrients in the food.
The superior digestibility of WHOLE meat
Halo uses real WHOLE meat and says no to “meat meal” of any kind. That’s why, when compared to best-selling premium pet foods (including leading “natural” brands), Halo comes out on top in terms of digestibility.
Reference: Dog Food Logic: Making Smart Decisions for Your Dog in and Age of Too Many Choices. Linda P. Case, M.S. , ©2014, pages 186-188.