Pet meat

Food Act 2008 fact sheet 13

Version 1 January 2012


The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide general information and guidance to animal food processing businesses and enforcement agencies on the regulation of pet meat under the Food Act 2008 (the Act) (external site) and Division 4 – pet meat, of the Food Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) (external site).


Pet meat is produced and processed under much lower standards than food produced for human consumption and therefore not safe for consumers to eat. 

Pet meat must be clearly labelled ‘Pet Meat – Not for Human Consumption’.

Division 4 of the Regulations controls the processing, identification and sale of pet meat to prevent it from being used for human consumption. Food businesses need to be aware of their obligations under the Act and the Regulations.

Pet meat must not be sold as food

The sale of pet meat as food for human consumption is prohibited under regulation 39 of the Regulations and pet meat operators have a responsibility to ensure pet meat is not promoted or sold as such.

The preparation of meat into products such as cutlets, chops, steaks, legs or forequarters should be avoided because this could be considered as promoting the sale of pet meat as food.

In extreme cases, action may also be taken under section 15 of the Act concerning the sale of unsafe food which carries a penalty of up to $500,000.

Care must be also be exercised when supplying pet meat to people of ethnic origins from overseas. It is not necessarily a defence to assume people from overseas understand the labelling and therefore know they are buying pet meat.  

Identification of pet meat

Food businesses should be aware of their obligations under the Regulations to identify pet meat to prevent it from being sold for human consumption.

The Regulations require visible staining of pet meat with a blue dye to prevent it from being, either intentionally or accidentally, mistaken for meat that is for human consumption.

The Regulations also prescribe the packaging, storage and labelling requirements of pet meat.

More information

For more information phone the Food Unit on 9222 2000.

Alternatively you can fill out a Food Unit query form (PDF 207KB) or Word 254KB and return it to

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Public Health