Based on what I understand by-product and "meal" to mean, I think Purina is probably exaggerating the situation.
FYI: According to Dog Food advisor: Basically, animal by-products are what’s left of a slaughtered animal after the edible parts have been removed. They include the waste2of meat processing not intended for human consumption. For example…
- Undeveloped eggs
But there are exceptions…
Giblets (livers, hearts, gizzards and necks) as well as other organs can be sold as edible meats or used generically to make hot dogs, bologna and sausage.
They further go on to say that what makes it controversial, is how the product is handled after slaughter. Meaning, let's say that liver should be refrigerated after slaughter to preserve its freshness. If it's left out, it's no longer
fit for human consumption. BUT, that same liver that was left out is still allowed to be used in your pets food.
So there's really nothing wrong if Blue Buffalo contains many of the above ingredients. I mean a lot of them are fed as part of a healthy raw diet to many bullies.
As far as "meal" goes- all that means is ground up and dried, as opposed to fresh. You actually want an animal "meal" in your dog food because it's dried (packed) and contains a higher protein count than regular meat since the water is removed. So ounce for ounce, you get more protein.
So is a by-product meal bad? No, not necessarily.
BUT, there are two grade of by-product meal: 1. Feed by-product meal 2. Pet by-product meal. I think as long as the food names the animal protein by-product meal, it should be fine.
It's really confusing and there's a ton involved. If unsure, just contact blue buffalo, ask what offals they use for their by-product (and from what animals), and if their by-product meal is feed grade or pet grade.
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