It’s Not Nice to Fool Your Customers
One of my original veterinary heroes, Dr. Randy Wysong, is bringing suit against the major manufacturers of pet food. The claim: misleading consumers with eye catching labels that make it look like that kibble you’re buying is really healthy, expensive human grade food.
It was just transformed into a tasty pellet, aka a “food-like particle.”
Now, imagine shopping pet food, and coming upon a label touting “human grade,” “premium,” and “real meat,” with eye catching pictures of salmon fillets, steak, or chops.
You might think there’s honest to goodness super high quality food, fit for a discerning human palette in that bag, right?
Wrong. That’s what the lawsuits are all about.
Because you know, if you’ve followed the pet food industry’s shenanigans for any amount of time, that what’s really in the bag is nothing you’d eat or serve to a true friend.
- Byproducts that include the “4-D” meats (animals at slaughter either dead, diseased, dying, or disabled)
- Rancid fats
- Sweet and starchy ingredients like corn gluten meal, potatoes, and brewer’s rice (a spent byproduct of brewing)
- Preservatives to keep that “whole, natural food” from spoiling in its paper bag for months or years
- Artificial colors and flavors
The companies being sued are the big players controlling 90% of the multi-billion dollar pet food industry:
- Nestle Purina Petcare
- Mars Petcare
- Hills Pet Nutrition
- BigHeart/J.M. Smucker
As Dr. Wysong points out, the cumulative annual revenue of these giants exceeds the GNP of several nations!
The Dream vs. The Reality
Here’s a great example. Watch the wholesome food ingredients you’d be happy to eat falling from the sky in Purina’s Beneful website.
Beneful paints a glowing picture of healthy ingredients:
Real beef! “Accented with” spinach, peas, & carrots!
Damn. That’s got my mouth watering!
But, if you keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling, you find the actual ingredients:
Beef, whole grain corn, barley, rice, whole grain wheat, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, beef tallow preserved with mixed-tocopherols, soybean meal, oat meal, poultry by-product meal, glycerin, egg and chicken flavor, mono and dicalcium phosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, potassium chloride, poultry and pork digest, dried spinach, dried peas, dried carrots, MINERALS
[zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite]
[Vitamin E supplement, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, pyridoxine hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 supplement, thiamine mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin D-3 supplement, riboflavin supplement (Vitamin B-2), menadione sodium bisulfite complex (Vitamin K), folic acid, biotin]
, choline chloride, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, Red 40, Yellow 6, Yellow 5, Blue 2, garlic oil.
Manufactured by: Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, St. Louis, MO 63164 USA
Oh, wait now.
Chicken by-product, poultry by-product, poultry and pork digest? Egg and chicken flavor?
All of a sudden, I’ve lost my appetite.
But veggies are good for us, right?
Sure, but listed as ingredients #20-22, and appearing after salt in order of their weight used in the recipe?
Guessing that’s about a pinch per bag, more or less.
Not much benefit from those veggies if that’s all they’ve got in the mix. But, for marketing purposes, why those pretty pictures of fresh veggies speak loads, don’t they?
All Those Pretty Colors?
Artificial colors. Banned in several other nations.
So that’s what makes those colors in the bowl so appealing.
(But, do you suppose for even a second that your dog cares what color his nuggets are?)
Red 40 and others have been associated with ADD in children. Seen any hyper dogs lately?
I surely have in practice, especially in more recent years. Can’t sit still, let alone focus or follow a simple command.
I tend to blame the excessive use of vaccinations that sets up immune confusion and inflammation in many organs, the brain included.
To no one’s surprise, all the companies have filed motions to dismiss these lawsuits.
In essence, their reasoning goes,
We don’t deny that our pictures don’t actually represent real ingredients in our food, but c’mon, who would really believe that real steak and chicken breasts are in the bag?”
Probably plenty of people. Or, if they didn’t actually think chicken breasts were in the kibble, they have to be on their toes to notice the colorful vegetables come in lower than salt on the ingredient list.
Sorry, looks deceptive fellas.
Be Wise. Repeat: Be Wise.
Another lesson in being on top of your game when it comes to caring for your animals. You’ll recognize most of those food manufacturers named in the lawsuits. Trust them at your peril.
Now as never before in my veterinary career of 35+ years, it’s important that you think outside the box. Question authority. Be your pet’s top advocate.
If not you, who?
p.s. Here are some good foods to explore for your animals.
Let us know in the comments what you feed and the path you took to get there in the beginning.