Pet meat

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 Food Regulations 2009 (external site) 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.

Notification of a pet meat business

Pet meat businesses (animal food processing premises and retail pet meat shops) are only required to notify their relevant local government under regulation 40 of the Food Regulations 2009.

Information to be notified is as follows:

(a) the contact details for the premises or shop, including the name of the business conducted at the premises or shop, the address of the premises or shop and the name and address of the proprietor; and 

(b) a description of the business that is conducted at the premises or shop.

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

Last reviewed: 10-03-2021
Produced by

Environmental Health Directorate