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Changes in labelling on ferret bags 2015

11 SEP 2015


The Statutory Label :

This is the bit that appears in one of the gussets on the bag and it contains that information which we have to give to comply with the EC Regulation No 767/2009 on the placing on the market and use of feed. This regulation was introduced in 2009 and contained many significant changes to the previous regulation. We introduced the necessary changes in 2011 but, since then, there has been further guidance on interpretation of the regulation,resulting in the need for us to make further changes:

Composition:  This was, and still is, a list of all the raw materials we use, given in descending order of how much we include. The regulation allows the option of declaring categories of ingredients (e.g. “meat and animal derivatives”) but we choose to list all the ingredients separately.

Previously, we have followed this list with a list of minimum levels of those ingredients mentioned on the bag:

Composition: turkey meal, wheat, turkey fat,ocean white fish meal, turkey gravy, potato protein, sugar beet pulp, whole linseed,sodium chloride, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, yeast extract (MOS),yucca extract

Minimum levelsturkey (48%), wheat (26%), fish (7%), turkey gravy (5%),linseed (2%), yucca extract (0.019%), yeast extract-MOS (0.009%),

Now we are required to give the exact level of those ingredients we mention elsewhere on pack, so we have:

Composition: turkey meal (40.0%), wheat (27.5%), turkey fat (10.8%), fish meal(7.5%), turkey gravy(5.5%), potato protein, sugar beet pulp, whole linseed (2.5%), sodium chloride,calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, yeast extract (MOS) (0.1%), yucca extract (0.02%)

At first glance, it appears that we’ve reduced our turkey meal but, in fact, the whole formula has remained exactly the same (The minimum 48% turkey comprised turkey meal, turkey fat and turkey gravy).

 Additives per kg

This is the section where we tell you about some of the very small things we put in the food – they’re mostly vitamins and minerals, but just the ones for which the authorities have set a maximum limit. We also tell you how much natural antioxidant we add. We have made a couple of changes to this section:

Firstly,we have always added extra taurine to our ferret food because we consider it to be an essential nutrient for ferrets.In the past, we have called it an amino acid because that is how most of us think of it. However, the legal classification says that taurine comes under“vitamins, pro-vitamins and chemically well-defined substances having similar effect” which is shortened to ‘vitamins’. Taurine therefore now appears under ‘Vitamins’.

Secondly,we have reduced the amount of Vitamin D that we add.  We used to think that a lot of the Vitamin D was destroyed whilst we were cooking the kibble but better analysis methods nowshow us that that isn’t true and so we need to add less to provide what the ferret needs.

Thirdly, we have changed the trace element section. If we take iron as an example, we used to tell you how much iron we added to satisfy your ferret’s requirement , but now we have to tell you how much iron sulphate we add to provide the iron. So, we used to have:

Additivesper kg: antioxidants: E306/Natural antioxidant, 150mg, Vitamins:E672/Vitamin A, 30,000 iu, E671/Vitamin D3, 2,250 iu, Aminoacids: taurine, 500mg. Traceelements: E1/iron, 70mg, E2/iodine, 1mg, E4/copper, 5mg, E5/manganese,15mg, E6/zinc, 100mg, E8/selenium, 0.15mg

But now we have:

Additivesper kg: antioxidants: E306/Natural antioxidant,150mg,Vitamins: E672/Vitamin A, 30,000 iu, E671/Vitamin D3, 1400 iu,  taurine, 500mg. Traceelements: E1/iron, 233mg, E2/iodine, 1.6mg, E4/copper, 20mg, E5/manganese,24mg, E6/zinc, 385mg, E8/selenium, 0.33mg

We’re now telling you that we add 233mg of iron sulphate to each kg of food and, because iron sulphate contains 30% iron, this is equivalent to 70mg of iron – exactly what was always there!

But please note that neither of these two versions tells you how much iron is in the food; it just tells you how much we have added using a mineral salt.  Because most of the raw materials we use also contain some iron, the total iron content of the food will be around 250mg/kg.

We don’t think that telling you how much iron sulphate we add is at all useful, but we have to adhere to the regulations.

 Analytical Constituents

This is where we tell you how much oil, protein etc. is in the food.  You will find that the analysis has changed slightly on the new bags. The old version was:

Analytical Constituents: protein 36.0%, crude fibres 2.5%,fat content 19%, crude ash 10.5%, Vitamin E 200mg/kg,  omega-3 fatty acids 0.9%, omega-6 fatty acids 3.5%

The new version is:

Analytical Constituents: protein 36.0%, crude fibres 2.5%,fat content 19%, crude ash 12.0%, Vitamin E 200mg/kg,  omega-3 fatty acids 1.0%, omega-6 fatty acids 4.0%

The increases in Omega-3 & 6 fatty acids and the increase in ash (minerals) are due to small changes in the analysis of our raw materials.  It would be possible for us to change the formula so that we keep the same analysis, but we prefer to keep the same formula and accept small changes in analysis.