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Human grade quality vs. category 3

What does the term human grade quality mean?

The pet food industry, i.e. the manufacturers of dog and cat food are not part of the food industry. They are classed as waste disposal industry and do not process foodstuff, they process category 3 waste and disposal material.
Unlike this procedure, Terra Canis is the first producer to manufacture its menus for dogs and cats as a pure food processing company and using only real food as ingredients. The following section explains the terms involved in more detail and presents the difference more clearly. These explanations are in accordance with the legal requirements and regulations which apply in the EU.

What does the term human grade quality mean?
Human grade quality is fundamentally all products (raw materials and processed products) which are permitted for human consumption or the human sector because of their freshness, quality and purpose. When relating to meat, this includes all slaughter products which are suitable for and intended for human consumption or for further processing into products such as cold meats, sausages etc. This material may not leave the refrigeration chain at any time and is subject to very strict hygiene regulations. For example if a meat’s bacterial count should exceed the maximum value, the meat may no longer be used for or traded in the human consumption or food industries. It immediately looses its status as human grade quality and becomes waste material i.e. category 3 material. Terra Canis only uses raw material in its menus which, at the time of processing at the butcher’s, is of human grade quality.

What is a food processing company?
In a food processing company all the raw materials are processed for human consumption or for the human sector. This includes production companies which produce foods, baker’s, butcher’s etc. Our producing butcher’s company is a food processing company and as such, may only store and process goods in human grade quality.

What is an animal food plant?
Unlike a food processing company, an animal food plant works in the waste and disposal industry. This is where the category 3 waste material is processed into pet food.

What does the term category 3 material mean?
Category 3 material is the source material used in manufacturing dog and cat food. The animal food industry has been processing this material for several decades. The manufacturing of dog food falls into the category of waste and disposal industry and is therefore a sub-process of animal cadaver utilisation. According to Regulation (EC) no. 1069/2009 (animal by-products regulation) there are three categories defined according to the danger posed by the waste material: Category 1, category 2 and category 3.

Category 1
Category 1 contains meat and animal by-products with the highest level of risk, i.e. pets, wild animals or livestock which were killed or died due to diseases, in particular carcasses which are infected with TSE or animals and laboratory animals which are contaminated with chemicals or banned substances. Material which is classed as category 1 must be completely disposed of as waste. Since 1 July 2008 the material must be marked as glycerintriheptanoate (GTH) and transported in black containers when trading within Europe.

Category 2
This category contains meat and by-products with a risk of other, non-transferable diseases. It includes killed, i.e. not slaughtered animals, animal by-products (for example milk), imported and insufficiently checked material, animal products with medicinal residue.

Category 3
So-called category 3 material describes primarily waste and by-products from slaughterhouses, kitchen and food waste, foodstuff with animal source, raw milk, fresh fish or fresh fish by-products which are no longer suitable for consumption. This is also where animal parts can be found which are suitable for human consumption but for which there is little demand in a particular country, for example tripe, tongue and other innards. It may only be used for animal food. In Germany it is also forbidden to feed fish and the tissue fat of warm-blooded land animals to ruminant animals. Nor is it permitted in Germany to feed tissue fat from warm-blooded land animals to horses or other animals which are used to produce foods. Category 3 material has repeatedly been the origin of food scandals concerning rotten meat.

Category 3 material includes
• Kitchen and food waste which was not imported from abroad
• Animal parts from slaughter which are not suitable for consumption but which do not show any signs of a transmittable disease and which originate from animals which are suitable for consumption
• Raw milk
• Hair, fur, horns etc. from clinically inconspicuous animals
• Animal waste from the food industry
• Skins, hoofs and horns, pig bristles and feathers from animals which were slaughtered at a slaughterhouse after an ante-mortem inspection
• Old meat
• Rotten foodstuff
• Substandard meat
• Meat from animals under considerable stress
• Blood from animals (not ruminant animals), which were slaughtered in a slaughterhouse after an ante-mortem inspection
• Body parts and by-products from slaughtered animals which are left over from the manufacturing of products defined for human consumption, as well as greased bones and greaves
• fish waste
• Former animal foodstuff which is no longer suitable for human consumption for reasons which are not harmful for health, for example due to defective packaging

This meat, which must be immediately marked, may only be used to produce animal food in an approved pet food plant or processed into inedible products, for example lubricating grease. It may also be used for composting or for the production of biogas. However meat from the so-called trade category 3 is sometimes illegally used for human consumption.[1] Since 1 July 2008 the material must be transported in green containers when trading within Europe and can be dyed in national trade.

In addition to Terra Canis there is now a small handful of companies which also work on the basis of real food and therefore also provide dogs and cats the quality of food that these animals find in the wild.
Unfortunately there are more and more manufacturers and brands which advertise using the term human grade quality and label their products as such, however produce in animal food plants and do not use real food.
Many advertise with statements such as: ‘Meat originates from the food industry’ or ‘Meat originates from animals slaughtered for human consumption’. But be careful here. According to the respective EU laws and regulations, fundamentally only slaughter products may be processed to animal food which originate from animals which were slaughtered for human consumption. So that is nothing special. If the animals aren’t slaughtered for human consumption, they are put down or slaughtered due to germs, viruses or bacteria. This material belongs to categories 1 and 2, which isn’t allowed to be used for the production of animal food.
Therefore category 3 material ALWAYS originates from animals which were slaughtered for human consumption and thus originates from the food industry.  But that doesn’t mean that the material or meat is still human grade quality at the time of production into animal food. The quality at the moment in which it is produced into animal food is relevant, not the original quality or its quality at an earlier point in time. Many slaughter parts do not ever have human grade quality (hoofs, feathers, fur, lots of substandard organs etc.) and therefore immediately fall into category 3 material at the time of slaughter. Other parts generally have human grade quality but loose this due to a lack of freshness or hygiene or because the refrigeration chain was broken (rotten meat, exceeded germ level, expired best-before date etc.). Both become category 3 material and therefore land in the animal food industry. The same thing happens in the organic food industry. Which means most organic dog food on the market is made from the same category 3 material, with the only difference being that it originates from organic animals. However it is usually still waste material, the same as normal dog food products.

Terra Canis has been treading completely new paths for the last 10 years. Far from category 3 material and animal food manufacturers. 100% human grade quality of all ingredients – produced in a butcher’s, a real food processing company – an absolutely transparent declaration