Pet Food and Animal Feed Safety

The North American Renderers’ Association (NARA) knows the safety of your animals and pets is important to you, and as the pet food industry is now the largest user of rendered fats and proteins, it’s important that renderers take the utmost care and follow many safety procedures to ensure that the rendered materials and end product are nutritious and safe for your pets and livestock.

NARA offers trusted resources for consumers and renderers alike to demonstrate the high-quality standards of rendered materials in pet food. Following federal, state, and local guidelines, renderers ensure animal co-products, also called by-products, used in pet food are safe for consumption and supply critical nutrients for your animals.

Pet food containing nutritious rendered ingredients

Standards for Animal Feed Safety

All rendering plants are in compliance with FDA’s animal food regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). In addition, renderers have quality and safety control systems in place via formal programs such as the Rendering Industry Code of Practice.


These external and internal standards establish rigorous quality requirements to ensure pet food is safe for your animals. The FSMA maintains pet food production dependability with preventive controls, and it also provides monitoring and inspection to ensure compliance with all required safety and quality requirements. This Act ensures certain contaminants cannot be present in pet and livestock feed and promotes collaboration with local and state bodies to help further food safety initiatives.

Under the FSMA, all food production facilities must provide a written plan for how they will implement safe preparation protocols. This documentation must include:

  • An evaluation of food safety hazards.
  • An outline of preventive controls to protect against hazards.
  • A description of monitoring to ensure controls are working correctly.
  • An ongoing record of monitoring activities.
  • A plan for correcting any safety issues that could arise.

Rendering Industry Code of Practice

NARA developed the Rendering Industry Code of Practice as a voluntary measure to help demonstrate and ensure the quality of animal feed production. This system helps promote FSMA compliance and provides resources for renderers to maintain premium animal food production.

Pet Food Ingredient Rendering Process

In the rendering process, raw materials that are inedible for humans but safe for animal consumption are collected from meat processing. Tallow, fatty acids, amino acids, mechanically deboned meat remnants, animals livers, and other co-products from the discarded food materials are all carefully inspected and processed to create pet feed.

When the material arrives at a rendering plant, it is heated quickly, (at an extremely high heat). This cooking destroys all bacteria and other pathogens, and resulting meals are stored, handled, and distributed under carefully controlled conditions, ensuring the best possible end product.

Rendered Pet Food Ingredients

Research demonstrates that rendered pet food is an excellent source of the key nutrients and energy pets need for healthy diets. Rendered pet food uses proteins, fats, bone meal, and other co-products of meat processing in full compliance with industry standards to deliver key nutrients for pets. These include:

  • Proteins: Proteins from animal co-products can supply critical amino acids to support pets’ health.
  • Minerals: The nutrients sourced from rendered products offer a wide range of minerals that meet pets’ day-to-day dietary needs.
  • Vitamins: Fats and other materials repurposed from meat processing can supply several vital vitamins to keep pets healthy.
  • Carbohydrates: The carbohydrates in rendered animal food can help provide the energy pets need every day to thrive.

How NARA Supports Pet Food and Animal Safety

At NARA, industry experts offer a wide range of trusted resources to ensure consumers understand the quality production of the rendering industry. Renderers follow rigorous protocols and processes to ensure pet food and animal safety, and NARA helps support this effort with policy advocacy, educational information, and industry support. NARA also offers a trusted industry magazine to be the voice of renderers and food processors and provide information on current standards and policies.

To learn more about our membership opportunities and industry resources, reach out to us today.

The North American Renderers Association (NARA) is an Equal Opportunity Employer. It does not discriminate in the terms and conditions of employment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other factor prohibited by law.

As a participant in USDA programs, we share the commitment to comply with all federal, state and local civil rights laws and those of the USDA. More about this commitment is available on the USDA website page here.