If you are considering an all-natural, holistic, or organic kitten food, here are some facts you may not be aware of. Currently the pet food market is experiencing a push toward “all-natural,” “holistic,” and “organic,” the significance of which is still to be determined. The question becomes, is there an actual benefit to an “all-natural,” “holistic,” or “organic” diet?
What Could “All-Natural” Kitten Food Mean?
AAFCO defines “natural” as “…derived solely from plant, animal, or mined sources… not containing any additives or processing aids that are chemically synthetic except in amounts as might occur unavoidably in good manufacturing practices.”
Loosely interpreted, this definition could include a range of “natural” products, including tobacco or any other naturally grown drug or substance.
None of these “all-natural” products are considered healthy additives for your kitten. So it is apparent that regulatory work is needed to define the true beneficial use of all-natural. Also noteworthy is the fact that nowhere within the definition are plant and animal by-products excluded. Not only are they “natural,” but they contribute valuable nutrients as ingredients in human and animal foods.
“Holistic” Kitten Food
The term “holistic” kitten food is not distinctly defined by any of the regulatory agencies as a classification for food. This is particularly noteworthy in kitten food, because all diets sold commercially must be “Complete and Balanced” for a designated age or activity level. Or in other words, be a “holistic” dietary approach.
Organic Kitten Food
Organic kitten food is labeled “organic” by a government-approved certifier who inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Whether organic kitten food provides any additional safety or nutritional value is still being debated by experts. Even the USDA refuses to take a position. It is also important to note that there are no strict requirements for organic kitten food right now.
There is tremendous confusion surrounding the significance of all-natural, holistic, and organic kitten food terms. Widespread use without substantiation has forced several government and “watch-dog” consumer groups to become involved; this will result in more education and clarification as to what these terms really mean to consumers. But, for now usage of these terms requires your consideration.
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Understanding and learning how to decipher kitten food product codes will help you choose the right kitten food. While selecting the right ingredients is important, making sure those ingredients are fresh is just as vital to your young cat. Learn how to read the product codes of kitten food packages and cans with our handy guide.
What Is a Product Code?
A product code is a series of numbers and letters printed on the outer package of each product a manufacturer produces. This code provides information about when and where the kitten food was made.
As part of the product code, IAMS™ products include a “Best Used By” date, or the date at which the product is no longer considered fresh and should no longer be sold. This date is expressed in “ddmmyy” and “ddmmmyy” formats.
The second line of the product code represents company internal information for use in traceability and inventory control.
Line 1: (ddmmyy) (ddmmmyy)
Example: 040220 04FEB20
Line 2: 60351111## QQQQQQQ
This product should be used before February 4, 2020.
Depending on the production line, pouch products* may have code date information in a single or double line. By recognizing and understanding these codes, customers can make sure they are receiving a fresh product.
What Is Shelf Life?
Shelf life is the duration, measured in months, during which a properly stored kitten food product maintains its freshness. This means if a product has a 16-month shelf life, it is fresh for up to 16 months from the date of manufacture.
The shelf life for IAMS dry kitten foods is 16 months. All canned formulas have a shelf life of 24 months.
How to Properly Store Dry and Wet Kitten Food
Unopened dry kitten food products are best stored off the floor in a cool, dry place. Open bags of kitten food should be stored in a clean, dry container with a tight seal. Dry kitten food products may also be frozen without loss of nutrients.
Opened wet kitten food products are best kept refrigerated in tightly sealed containers for no more than three days after the container has been opened. Wet products should not be frozen in unopened cans. However, wet kitten foods can be frozen if removed from the container, packed in freezer containers and frozen immediately.
*IAMS has no kitten pouch products at this time.
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