• Animal foods include meat, eggs and milk.
  • Cheese and yoghurt are made from milk, which is an animal food.
  • Plant foods include vegetables, fruit, wheat and rice.
Some of the foods we eat come from animals, including beef, veal, lamb, pork, fish and chicken. Other foods come from plants, including rice, wheat, fruit, beans and vegetables.

We also eat food that animals make. For example, chickens produce eggs and cows give milk. Plants produce food too, such as edible fruits. Plant and animal foods are used to make other foods, such as bread and cheese.

Many processed foods use a combination of foods from animal and plant sources. Biscuits are made from flour (food from a plant) while also containing butter and milk (food sourced from an animal).

How we get food from animals

Some foods are produced from the flesh or internal organs of animals, such as:
  • beef, lamb, kangaroo, pork and mutton (red meats)
  • chicken and fish (white meats)
  • heart, liver, kidneys and brains (organ meats).
Most of these foods come from farmed animals. They are raised until they reach a target weight, then are slaughtered (killed) and butchered (cut up) for us to buy, cook and eat. Some animals, like kangaroos and most fish, are killed or caught in their natural environments.

Other animal foods, such as eggs, milk and honey, are produced by animals over their lifetimes.

Foods from animal source are high in protein, they usually are also high in fat. Vitamin B12 and vitamin D are also present in many animal foods, these vitamins are not found in plant foods.

Cheese is an animal food

Cheese is made from milk, so it is also an animal food. Other foods made from milk are butter, cream and yoghurt.

How we get food from plants

Fruit is one of the many foods we get from plants. Other parts of plants we use for food include:
  • leaves and stems – celery, lettuce, silver beet
  • roots – potatoes, carrots, beetroot, cassava, radish, parsnip
  • seeds – wheat, rice, legumes, ground nuts (peanuts), tree nuts (walnuts, almonds).
Most plant foods eaten in Australia are produced on farms and orchards, but some are grown in greenhouses.

Foods from plants are packed with many nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Dietary fibre is found only in plants.

Cakes are made mainly from plant food

Most cakes are made from flour. Flour is made from wheat, which is a seed made by plants. Other foods made from wheat include:
  • bread
  • pastry
  • biscuits
  • pasta
  • noodles
Cakes, biscuits and bread can also contain animal fat, eggs and milk.

Where to get help

  • local food suppliers
  • food retailers

Things to remember

  • Animal foods include meat, eggs and milk.
  • Cheese and yoghurt are made from milk, which is an animal food.
  • Plant foods include vegetables, fruit, wheat and rice.

More information

Healthy eating

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Health conditions and food

Food science and technology

Planning shopping and cooking

Food safety and storage

Nutritional needs throughout life

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This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: Deakin University - School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences

Last updated: September 2012

Page content currently being reviewed.

Content on this website is provided for education and information purposes only. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your doctor or other registered health professional. Content has been prepared for Victorian residents and wider Australian audiences, and was accurate at the time of publication. Readers should note that, over time, currency and completeness of the information may change. All users are urged to always seek advice from a registered health care professional for diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.