Kitten Basics: Facts About By-products in Kitten Food
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Before you assume that by-products in kitten food are bad thing, here are some facts. In common usage, a by-product is something that is just that—a side product from the making of another product. By-products are not by definition poor quality. For instance, gingerbread cookies wouldn’t be the same without molasses, which is a by-product of sugar manufacture.
In relation to IAMS™ kitten foods, such as IAMS ProActive Health™ Kitten, by-products are generally parts of the animals that are not the muscle meat preferred by most American consumers. The term refers only to the anatomic parts included, not to the nutritional quality of the parts.
While many Americans may not be used to eating these animal parts themselves, it is important to realize that many of the items included in by-products (e.g., organ meats) may be higher in essential nutrients—amino acids, minerals, and vitamins—as well as more palatable to pets than the skeletal muscle meat.
In addition to nutritional benefits, inclusion of these ingredients in pet foods reduces waste and likely has environmental benefits as the livestock industry does not have to produce additional animals just to satisfy the needs for muscle meats to feed pets as well as people. Feeding these nutrient-rich, tasty parts to pets may prevent them from being wasted and allows the entire animal to be put to good use.
Much of the consumer confusion and discomfort surrounding by-products most likely stems from the marketing strategies of some pet food brands and perhaps from the ingredient name “by-product” itself.
It is important to keep in mind that most ingredients in pet foods can vary greatly in quality. In addition, quality cannot be assessed purely on the basis of the ingredient list. All by-products are not the same quality. Neither is all muscle meat. There are very high-quality by-products as well as poor-quality chicken and chicken meal (or beef or pork).
Purchasing food only from reputable manufacturers who are very selective about their suppliers, have full-time, qualified nutritionists, and perform analytical testing to ensure that every ingredient, as well as the finished product, meets their exact nutrient specifications, will help avoid problems due to poor-quality ingredients.
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- adp_description_block480Understanding Kitten Food Product Codes
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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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