天然糧 / 有機糧
所謂天然糧，其實每個國家定義都不同。以美國 AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) 標準，如果要標籤一隻食品為天然，食物內的成分都要來自植物、動物和天然礦物。這些成分可以完全不經處理，或者經過物理，提煉，加熱，水解，酶解，發酵處理。但不能經人工化學方法合成，除非是良好生產過程中不能避免所產生的微量成分。但 AAFCO 容許食品中含有人造維他命和礦物質。由於一般寵物糧需經過加熱高壓處理，會損失一些維他命或礦物質，糧食生產商都會加入維他命和礦物質添加劑來補充。但在天然食物提取維他命和礦物質所費不菲，所以市面上的維他命和礦物質補充劑都是人工合成為主。
什麼是有機食物呢？就是不使用農藥、化肥種植農作物，而農地亦要保證之前幾年（一般是三年或以上）沒有使用化肥農藥。不使用抗生素、生長激素飼養牲畜，有一定的動物權益要求。動植物不是來自基因改造。而且在種植過程中，不能用污水灌溉，不能造成環境污染。食物不能經過輻射處理，而且由農場到產品生產需要審查追蹤。有機食物需要認證機構發出證書，才可以在產品上貼上有機標籤。國際上有不同的有機認證機構，例如美國的有機認證是被美國農業部監管，USDA Organic 標籤證明食品含有超過95%有機成分。
坊間很多自稱有機糧，有些是取巧在品牌名稱加上有機 “organic” 字眼，但沒有有機標籤。有些自稱有機糧，但可能只有部份成分是有機的，例如主要肉類成分並不是有機，比較平價的穀物或植物成分是有機。消費者在選擇時就要多加小心，先看看有沒有有機標籤（最好是來自 USDA, EU 的證明）。再看一看成分列表，頭幾個成分是不是有機的（因為頭幾個成分佔食物中最大比例，最為重要）。
Natural Pet Food vs Organic Pet Food?
Many people have heard of natural pet food, organic pet food, and even actively seek out these foods, but what is natural and organic? Is natural pet food the same as organic pet food?
The definition of natural pet food is actually different in different countries. According to the American AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standard, if a food is to be labeled as natural, the ingredients in the food must come from plants, animals and natural minerals. These ingredients may be completely untreated or subjected to physical, refining, heating, hydrolysis, enzymatic hydrolysis, and fermentation treatment. However, it cannot be synthesized by artificial chemistry unless the trace components produced cannot be avoided in a good production process. But AAFCO allows foods to contain artificial vitamins and minerals. Since pet foods are usually cooked under high temperature and high pressure, some vitamins or minerals are lost, and food manufacturers add vitamins and minerals to supplement the loss of nutrients. However, the extraction of vitamins and minerals from natural foods is expensive, so the vitamin and mineral supplements on the market are mainly synthetic.
However, some countries have stricter definition of natural pet food. If the ingredients are chemically treated, they cannot be called natural.
Simply put, the ingredients of natural pet food (except vitamins and minerals) should come from natural sources, such as plants, animals and minerals, without artificial colors, artificial flavors, synthetic preservatives, or other chemically synthesized ingredients. Natural pet food is a healthier choice for our dogs and cats.
But natural is not the same as organic, some pet owners with strict requirements may want to go further and search for natural organic food. So what is organic food?
In organic farming, pesticides and fertilizers should not used to grow crops, and the land should be free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides for at least several years (usually three years or more). There is certain requirement for raising livestock as well such as not using antibiotics or growth hormone. The animals and plants used in organic farming cannot be genetic modified. Sewage is not allowed for irrigation, and environmental pollution has to be tightly controlled. Food cannot be irradiated, and the whole production process needs to be reviewed and tracked. Organic food requires a certification body to issue a certificate before an organic seal can be placed on the product. There are different organic certification bodies in the world. For example, the organic certification in the United States is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture. The USDA Organic label indicates that the foods contain more than 95% organic ingredients.
Many of the pet food claim to be organic foods on the market. Some are quite tricky as they put “organic” in the brand name, however, it does not mean that they are organic. Organic food should have organic seal on the product and the organic seal should come from reputable certification bodies. Some pet food claim to be organic foods, but only some of the ingredients are organic. For example, some pet foods may contain organic grains and organic vegetables which are more affordable, but the main ingredients (meat) are not organic. Consumers should be more careful when choosing organic pet products. First of all, check to see if there is an organic seal (preferably from USDA, EU). Then, take a look at the list of ingredients and see if the first few ingredients are organic (because the first few ingredients account for the largest proportion of food, they are the most important).
Therefore, natural pet food does not necessarily mean organic pet food. Organic certification has strict requirement, just having “organic” in the brand name and/or product name does not mean they are truly organic. Consumers should be careful when choosing natural pet food and organic pet food.