Pet Food Standards

Cat and Dog Food Ingredients

Ingredients in pet food may be selected to perform a function within the formulation as well as for nutrition. This may be to aid in digestion, contribute to the taste or provide texture and structure to the product. Ingredient selection is based on the type of food such as dry, canned, raw or treat. Care is taken to ensure the ingredients are fit for purpose and safe to consume. Pet food ingredients may be sourced from animals and include beef, pork, lamb, chicken and fish or from plant products such as corn, wheat, soy, sorghum, peas, potatoes and barley. Vitamins, minerals and amino acids may also be added to ensure all the right nutrients are available specific to your pet’s needs.

Pet food often uses by-products of the human food chain, providing high value nutritional products that contribute to the sustainability of our food systems without compromising food availability.

PFIAA members are encouraged to take care when sourcing their raw materials to ensure they are fit for purpose, safe and nutritious. Our purchasing guidelines are available to members to help aid this process.

Meat for pet consumption is covered in the Australian Standard – AS5812 for retail sale and good manufacturing practice compliance. Additional criteria for hygienic production specific to meat is included in PISC 88 technical report, which is overseen by state food authorities. See your food authority for more information.

PISC 88 contains the minimum requirements for hygiene in harvesting, transportation, processing, identification, packaging and storage, to ensure a safe and acceptable product. Provision is also made in this Standard for the use of fallen stock.

The scope of the PISC 88 is determined by risks related to the hygienic production of pet meat. Such risks are associated with:

  • animal safety
  • human safety
  • product substitution.

Animals for pet meat must be processed in accordance with this Standard and documented work instructions or an approved Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP)-based program that consistently demonstrates equivalence with this Standard.

Standards Australia is no longer involved in the endorsement and publication process for this Standard and to reflect this change the Standard has been renamed Standard for the Hygienic Production of Pet Meat: PISC Technical Report 88 – Amended 2009. It was previously published as Australian Standard for the Hygienic Production of Pet Meat AS 4841. Those involved in the pet meat production supply chain continue to be obliged to comply with the revised and republished Standard in accordance with its endorsement by PIMC, the Pet Food Controls working group.

Ingredients – Additives, preservatives

The Australian Standard covers how additives and preservatives will be used in pet foods.

A pet food additive is defined in the standard as ‘any component of a pet food not normally consumed as a pet food ingredient’, which affects the characteristics of pet food or pets fed with it. It includes a pre-mix which consists only of pet food additive components and micro-organisms, enzymes, acidity regulators, trace elements, vitamins and preservatives, colouring agents, binders, dust suppressants, carriers, flavours and other products fall within the scope of this definition depending on the purpose of use and method of administration.

All additives used in a product must be included in the ingredient list of the product. Food additives shall be either:  proprietary; prescribed; common name; include the applicable FSANZ Food standards code number; or have the following class names:


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavours
  • Humectants
  • Preservatives
  • Vitamins
  • Colours
  • Food acids
  • Minerals
  • Stabilisers
  • Emulsifiers
  • Gelling Agents
  • Mineral Salts
  • Thickeners

AS5812-2023 Manufacturing and marketing of pet food

PISC 88 – Standard for the hygienic production of pet meat

This Standard updates and completely supersedes the previous edition (AS4841:2006). It applies to the production of fresh and frozen pet meat derived from animals slaughtered and processed at a processing establishment, as well as wild animals killed in their natural environment.

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