…As If Your Pet’s Life Depended on It
When you look at a colorful label on a pet food, do you believe the pictures represent what’s really inside?
You may recall Dr. Randy Wysong is suing several big players in the pet food industry.
For exactly this issue of false advertising.
You know, steak and lamb chops on the outside and junk on the inside, nothing like what the pictures promised.
The companies are
- Nestle Purina Petcare
- Mars Petcare
- Hills Pet Nutrition (who trained vet students, like me, in “nutrition.” Ha!)
- BigHeart/J.M. Smucker
Not surprisingly, they have all countered with a lame motion to dismiss.
In essence, the defendants do not deny that the premium ingredient pictures do not accurately represent ingredients in their pet foods, but contend that it is implausible that any consumer would actually believe the ingredient pictures represent ingredients in their foods.
Apparently, defendants have gone to the considerable effort and expense of creating such packaging and advertising with the expectation that consumers would perceive the material as false.1
Dr. Wysong’s not buying it and neither should you.
Pet food ingredients are clearly not as manufacturers would have you believe.
Truth vs Bucks
Periodically, I pay Truth About Pet Food a visit. Susan Thixton runs this site, and she’s someone who’s really dug into the pet food industry and isn’t afraid to share the dirty truth of what’s happening there.
Susan cited a great example of what you’re up against as a pet food consumer recently.
Take a look at this image:
Nice looking cuts of meat there, right?
“Real Ingredients!” (what’s that supposed to mean?)
“High quality ingredients?”
How bad could that be, real chicken?
But Susan always looks deeper, as a champion of pet owning consumers.
And she knows a thing or two about pet food ingredients.
Here she defines for you “food grade” vs “feed grade” and how both can be called “chicken.”
First – Rachael Ray Nutrish is a feed grade pet food. It is not food – it is feed. There’s a difference.
Human grade pet food is made with ‘food’ ingredients, the very same quality of ingredients sold in grocery stores all across the US.2
Feed grade pet food – on the other hand – is NOT the same quality of ingredients sold in grocery stores. Feed grade is defined by AAFCO as: “Material that has been determined to be safe, functional, and suitable for its intended use in animal food, is handled and labeled appropriately, and conforms to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act unless otherwise expressly permitted by the appropriate state or federal agency (suitable for use in animal feed).”3
The legal definition of ‘chicken’ in pet food allows it to be sourced from USDA inspected and approved chicken (human grade) OR chicken skin and bones – little to no meat OR USDA inspected and condemned chicken. Condemned chicken is a violation of federal law. But…illegal chicken is allowed in pet food4
It turns out the FDA watchdogs often look the other way and let condemned meat into pet food as “feed grade.”
And the label can still call it “chicken” or “beef” and even out and out lie to you by calling it “human grade” when it’s anything but.
Such product quality misrepresentation isn’t tolerated in any other major industry in the world. However, pet food regulators are inexplicably turning a blind eye to this pet industry practice in spite of a variety of state and federal laws prohibiting it.5
That misrepresentation is exactly what Evangers did.
And they are still lying since the pentobarbital showed up in their supposedly “human grade” “100% Beef” canned goods, that killed at least one dog we know of.
A Grisly Reality
Stacey, a long time Pack member, wrote me shortly after I sent an issue of Vital Animal News with the Evanger’s pentobarbital story.
Her detective work gives you a deeper sense of what you are up against if you trust pet food manufacturers:
When I went to the animal crematory to pick up our 18 yo dogs ashes I saw something that was very upsetting. As I was exiting the business park here comes the San Jose Tallow truck swinging the corner….I flipped a U-turn and followed, parked across the street to watch…
He went to the crematory, backed his truck up to the back of the crematory truck (it was a Monday-they pick up from the vets offices on Mondays around our town) and they proceeded to toss the black bags to the tallow driver and emptied a couple of bins then moved 2, 55 gallon drums with a dolly onto the tallow truck as well. I was horrified.
While tallow is, strictly speaking, animal fat from rendered animals, the take away here is that pets, perhaps euthanized at the end of their lives, can and do end up as pet food ingredients.
And the crematorium is complicit in this, and lying to you in their own way.
Whose ashes were you actually given?
Why it’s Critical to Be a Critical Thinker
Perhaps now, as never before in history, it pays for you to be wise.
Especially so when you are caring for a defenseless animal, who eats what ever you offer, takes treatments or prevention that you deem as helpful, and lives a vital or devitalized life depending on the wisdom of your choices.
- Taking pet food labels (or crematorium promises) at face value is unwise.
- As is accepting the idea that annual vaccination is necessary or even good for your animal.
- As is trusting that internal pesticide feeding (for heartworm “prevention” or flea control) is the most acceptable option.
Let us know in the comments if you are warier this year than you were 3-5 years ago.
Tell us if you’re making homemade food and if so, what are your recipe origins.
And further, what are your trusted sources of information? I hope discovering Susan’s work on pet food has been a help to you.
And if you’d like help shifting to raw food that’s balanced, visit my Resources page, and find Lizzy Meyer there in the Food category.
Lizzy will help you source local, affordable options and get it in balance. Highly recommend her!