Legal compliance of pet food manufacturers producing complete vegan diets for sale in the United Kingdom

  • Jessica Ritchie (Speaker)
  • Wanda McCormick (Speaker)

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Abstract: Commercial animal feed in the UK falls under the control of the European Food Standards Agency and can only consist of approved feed materials (ingredients) and approved additives. A pet food marketed as ‘complete’ must by law contain all requirements for the animal to have a healthy life, this includes vitamin D. Vitamin D is proving to be a challenging nutrient with complete vegan dog food diets. The only approved form of vitamin D as an additive is D3 (cholecalciferol) which is derived from the lanolin of sheep fleeces, and therefore is not vegan. D2 (ergocalciferol) which is derived from plants was formerly approved but withdrawn from the register and could no longer be used after July 2019. An alternative additive form of active D3 (calcitriol) has been identified from some plant sources, and would comply with the term vegan, but is not currently approved for use in animal feeds.
This project made direct contact with companies marketing complete vegan dog (or cat) food diets to determine exactly what form of supplementation they were using and whether this complied with the relevant legislation. Following online information searches in August 2019, six companies were contacted and asked to respond by online questionnaire in September 2019. Of these, only one responded to the request so results were based upon packet labelling for the remaining. One company exhibited a good example of appropriate labelling, however there were potential issues found with the remaining five that could raise concerns for either consumer rights or, more importantly, for animal welfare. This project raises the question of how companies are responding to changes in pet feeding trends and who in the industry is acting as a watchdog for compliance.
Period13 Feb 2020
Event titleCompanion Animal Nutrition 2020
Event typeConference
LocationNorthampton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • animal nutrition
  • animal feeding
  • dog diet
  • vegan