Inspections, Compliance, Enforcement, and Criminal Investigations

CPG Sec. 690.300 Canned Pet Food


Animal origin ingredients, including various poultry, meat and marine products, are widely used in canned pet food as a source of protein. These ingredients should conform to the definitions promulgated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials, Inc. (AAFCO), as published in their "Official Publication," for feed control purposes.

The pet food canning industry utilizes undecomposed animal and marine tissues from various sources. These include products of the rendering industry such as various meat, poultry, and bone meals; meat scraps and offal from packing house waste, freshly boned-out animals; and occasionally meat from animals that may have died otherwise than by slaughter. Before processing, many of these commodities may be considered in violation of *402(a)(5)*, however, the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) is aware of no instances of disease or other hazard occurring from canned packing house offal or the tissues of animals that may have died otherwise than by slaughter.

The low acid canned food regulations (LACFRs) found in *21 CFR 113* are applicable to canned pet foods, *as referenced by 21 CFR 500.23.* When properly processed in accordance with these regulations, CVM considers canned pet foods, otherwise not in violation of the statute or regulations, to be safe and suitable for consumption by pets regardless of the origin of animal tissues used. CVM considers the retorting temperatures involved in the canning process adequate to destroy pathogenic organisms.

CVM relies on the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for technical expertise on the LACFRs. CFSAN routinely reviews the scheduled thermal processes for canned foods including those processes used by pet food manufacturers, and notifies CVM when irregularities are found. CVM notifies the firm of the irregularities found in the canning process and requests that they submit the required information to CFSAN's Low Acid and Acidified Foods Team (HFS-617).


Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.

The Center will consider regulatory action based on low acid canned food violations alone where the report indicates a probable hazard to pets. CVM will also consider regulatory action against canned pet food on the basis of use of decomposed animal tissues or use of tissues containing violative drug residues.

*Material between asterisks is new or revised*

Issued: 10/1/80
Revised: 3/95
Revised: 06/10/2004

Page Last Updated: 03/20/2015
Note: If you need help accessing information in different file formats, see Instructions for Downloading Viewers and Players.
Language Assistance Available: Español | 繁體中文 | Tiếng Việt | 한국어 | Tagalog | Русский | العربية | Kreyòl Ayisyen | Français | Polski | Português | Italiano | Deutsch | 日本語 | فارسی | English