We have recently responded to a question concerning the proper way to label a frozen cat food product manufactured from headed and gutted ocean fish with bone and skin removed. The manufacturer characterized the product as "minced fish" made from ground fish such as pollock, haddock, or cod.
We advised that we could not permit an ingredient to be represented as containing "pollock or haddock or cod" as the inquirer requested, since, in our opinion, this would cause the product to be misbranded as discussed in 21 CFRa and b. In order to conform with the common or usual name requirement of 21 U.S.C. 343(i)(1) and (2), the label should reference only the specific species of fish physically a part of the product contents.
We advised, however, that we would not object to the labeling of such a product being represented as containing merely "fish," or "ocean fish," or some such similar designation with no species designation.
Pet food does not qualify under 21 CFRc for the use of collective names for animal feed ingredients. Where a manufacturer may be using various species of fish in a pet food as dictated by a day-to-day supply situation, the manufacturers may not reference all of the species alternatives on the label. The fish ingredient may be designated as "fish" or "ocean fish" or some such factual statement.
a 21 CFR 501.4
b 21 CFR 501.18
c 21 CFR 501.110