The word ‘meat’ also means that other species are not in the food. Buffalo or venison are two examples of animals not covered by the word meat. ‘Meat’ doesn’t include poultry or fish. The inclusion of the word meat, rather than a specific animal, on a pet food label raises questions about the overall quality of a food because it obfuscates.
If a product contains poultry, it has to say ‘poultry’, not ‘meat.’
Pet food manufacturers often designate the animal the meat or protein comes from, which is more helpful for consumers. For example, a food may say it contains pork, turkey, or beef. Nice and clear and easy to understand.
To be labeled and considered meat, the ingredients in your pet food have to be primarily muscle tissue. However, fat, gristle, and other tissues are included under ‘meat,’ as is the more icky part of the animal, at least by human standards: the heart. Bone is never considered meat.
Poultry is in a similar boat but is allowed to include bone. A ‘poultry’ ingredient means it’s a combination of flesh and skin without or without bone. No feathers, feet, heads, or entrails.