Defining pet food, animal feed, and supplements

Pet food, animal feed, and supplements are agricultural compounds classified as oral nutritional compounds (ONCs).

What oral nutritional compounds are

Oral nutritional compounds (ONCs) are divided into 3 groups:

  • Pet foods – foods for dogs and cats made from animal material
  • Animal feeds  foods for other kinds of animals
  • Supplements  mixes of specific nutrients to supplement nutrient levels in animal food.

ONCs may contain feed additives. These are non-nutrient ingredients added to animal feed to improve its preservation, digestion, colour, palatability, texture, or nutritive value. If a feed additive has directions to be fed directly to animals for a nutritional benefit, then it becomes an ONC.

If you're not sure if you have an ONC

A class determination will tell you what your product is classed as.

ONCs are agricultural compounds

ONCs are a type of agricultural compound. You can read the legal definition of an agricultural compound in the Agricultural Compounds and Veterinary Medicines (ACVM) Act 1997. 

Pet food is only for dogs and cats – in this case

While pet food is generally food for any pet, it has a narrower definition in these web pages. Under the Animal Products Act 1999, pet food is an animal product intended for consumption by cats or dogs. This narrower definition applies to MPI's information about pet food.

Other products

If you manufacture feed for animals other than cats and dogs, or feed that doesn't contain any animal product, it is still classified as an agricultural compound.

If you have an animal product that is not for animals to eat, it will have different requirements. Find out about rendered or inedible animal products:

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