I thought I would add some common label terms and how AAFCO defines them as well as this goes hand in hand with the ingredients - this is from the Feb 09 issue of Pet Age:
Natrual: Products with no synthetic ingredients per AAFCO. Many pet foods that contain mostly all-natural ingredients also include synthetic vitamins and minerals to meet AAFCO requirements; these include the disclaimer "natural ingredients with added vitamins and minerals".
Organic: Products that contain 95% or more organic ingredients can be labeled "USDA Organic." Such claims, which are regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, pertain to processes, not to safety or nutrients. An approved organization must certify pet foods before an company can make the "organic" claim. The USDA is working on regulations for organic pet foods, which AAFCO will recognize. They will have to comply with National Organic Program regulations. **my own comment here - a food can say made WITH organic ingredients as long as a minimum of only 3% of the entire recipe contains organic ingredients - BUYER BEWARE!!! **
Human Grade: Debate swirls around how to define this term and whether or not it misleads people into thinking the food is suitable for human consumption. The AAFCO has released NO OFFICIAL DEFINITION.
The following comes from the APIssues (Animal Protection Institute) Pet Food Fact Sheet:
The 95% Rule: If the product says “Salmon Cat Food” or “Beef Dog Food,” 95% of the product must be the named ingredients. A product with a combination label, such as “Beef and Liver for Dogs,” must contain 95% beef and liver, and there must be more beef than liver, since beef is named first.
• The 25% or “Dinner” Rule: Ingredients named on the label must comprise at
least 25% of the product but less than 95%, when there is a qualifying
“descriptor” term like “dinner,” “entree,” “formula,” “platter,” “nuggets,” etc. In “Beef Dinner for Dogs,” beef may or may not be the primary ingredient. If two ingredients are named (“Beef and Turkey Dinner for Dogs”), the two ingredients must total 25%, there must be more of the first ingredient
(beef) than the second (turkey), and there must be at least 3% of the lesser
• The 3% or “With” Rule: A product may be labeled “Cat Food with Salmon” if
it contains at least 3% of the named ingredient.
• The “Flavor” Rule: A food may be labeled “Turkey Flavor Cat Food” even if
the food does not contain such ingredients, as long as there is a “sufficiently
detectable” amount of flavor. This may be derived from meals, byproducts,
or “digests” of various parts from the animal species indicated on the label.