FAQ: Human Grade

Goodness Gracious uses 100% human-grade ingredients in its treats

Q:  Are your treats “human-grade”?  

A:  Our treats are made with 100% USDA/FDA approved ingredients.  This means all our ingredients are the same foods that are delivered to and found in grocery stores and restaurants for people to buy and eat. 

A funny thing happens in the pet food industry that makes understanding pet food labels difficult for consumers. Today in the USA, unlike human food labels, pet food labels are not regulated by one federal, nationwide agency (like the USDA.) Pet food labels are regulated by 50 varying sets of rules belonging to each of the 50 states. In order for a pet food manufacturer to sell their products in a particular state, it must comply with the rules of that state. Just because a manufacturer’s label meets the requirements of one state (say Texas) it doesn’t mean it will comply with the rules of another (say, New Jersey). Many manufacturers only create one set of product packaging to be used regardless of where they ship across the US, so they must try to squeeze 50 set of rules into one nationwide label. And this is one of the things that makes understanding labels – specifically as it applies to things like “human grade” terminology difficult. 

AAFCO is an association that provides guidance on the definitions of pet food ingredients and labeling to the pet food industry and the regulatory bodies in each of the 50 states. AAFCO is not a regulatory agency. It is an organization that is comprised partly of representatives of the interests of big industry (like the five companies that control 85% of the global pet food market). Today, AAFCO has not established a definition for the term “human-grade.” One may argue that the reason there currently is no definition is because big industry doesn’t want to be challenged on the efficacy of their ingredients by the growing interests of consumers and small manufacturers in healthy, wholesome, fresh foods and transparency of sourcing. 

Regardless of AAFCO’s reasoning, in the absence of a definition for this term, many regulatory state agencies do not allow the use of the term “human-grade” (or anything indicative of it) on product packaging. A few pet food manufacturers have litigated to defend their use of the “human-grade” term on packaging; legal battles of this sort are extremely costly. Here at Goodness Gracious, we have no burning desire to spend money in court systems. We would rather spend money on purchasing wholesome, USA-sourced, USDA/FDA approved ingredients, and giving our profits back to animal charities. If or when, the industry establishes a definition for “human-grade” then we will proudly display it on our label. Until then, please know that all our ingredients are sourced from and delivered to us by the same USDA/FDA regulated facilities from which you get your food.

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