Posted by: UrbanGreenGirl | September 21, 2008

The truth about the pet food industry

What's in pet food

What's really in pet food?

What most consumers don’t know is that the pet food industry is an extension of the human food and agriculture industries. Pet food provides a market for slaughterhouse offal, grains considered “unfit for human consumption,” and similar waste products to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, esophagi, and possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.

Three of the five major pet food companies in the United States are subsidiaries of major multinational companies: Nestlé (Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Mighty Dog, and Ralston Purina products such as Dog Chow, ProPlan, and Purina One), Heinz (9 Lives, Amore, Gravy Train, Kibbles-n-Bits, Nature’s Recipe), Colgate-Palmolive (Hill’s Science Diet Pet Food). Other leading companies include Procter & Gamble (Eukanuba and Iams), Mars(Kal Kan, Mealtime, Pedigree, Sheba, Waltham’s), and Nutro. From a business standpoint, multinational companies owning pet food manufacturing companies is an ideal relationship. The multinationals have increased bulk-purchasing power; those that make human food products have a captive market in which to capitalize on their waste products, pet food divisions have a more reliable capital base and, in many cases, a convenient source of ingredients.

BUYER BEWARE!
WHY FEED “HUMAN-GRADE” MEATS TO PETS

1) If the meat contained in pet food is not “human-grade” a company could use “meat meal” or “meat by-product” which could include euthanized dogs & cats (including their collars and the sodium pentobarbital used to euthanize them), road kill, rejected or expired meats from grocery stores (including the styrofoam), zoo carcases or any animal taken to slaughter which was deemed dead, dying, disabled or diseased at the time of slaughter, otherwise, deteriorated so much as to be unfit for human consumption.

2) All meats that are not to be used for “human consumption” but are to be sold after slaughter are to be denatured as per government regulations to prevent them from being rerouted and used for human consumption. The denatured carcasses and other waste can then be transported to the rendering facility. This is done by adding sufficient quantities of dye, charcoal, malodorous fish oil, acid, sodium pentobarbital (poison used to euthanize pets) fuel oil, kerosene, crude carbolic acid (phenol, a potentially corrosive disinfectant), creosote (used to preserve wood or as a disinfectant) and citronella (an insect repellent made from lemon grass) are the approved denaturing materials approved in both Canada and United States. 

Can you imagine the cumulative effects of these poisons building up in your pets’ bodies? In order to give you a brief understanding of the 4 categories of pet food, i have taken one brand from each category and broken it down ingredient by ingredient so you too, can learn why holistic pet food is the only pet food you should feed your pets.

PET FOOD COMPARISONS
1) Grocery brand: Pedigree Healthy Vitality
2) Premium food brand:Royal Canin “Active Special 25™” Formula
3) Veterinarian brand: Science Diet Adult original
4) Holistic brand: Holistic Blend “All life stages Canine Formula”

1) Grocery Store brand: Grocery store qualityPedigree (Mars) Healthy Vitality Adult Dog food

Partial ingredient list: (Notice meat not among top 7)

Ground yellow corn, meat and bone meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat (preserved with BHA/BHT), wheat mill run, wheat, natural poultry flavour, wheat flavour…

1) Ground Yellow Corn: One of the worst ingredients that could be given to pets. Causes obesity, allergies, skin problems, rashes and itchy skin. Used because it is a cheap filler. No benefit to animals. Very difficult to digest which causes digestion problems, diarrhoea or constipation.
2) Meat and Bone meal:the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. Since the exact meat type has not been specified, it could (and I’m not joking) include euthanised cat, dogs, expired grocery store meat, zoo carcasses, road kill or a mixture of slaughterhouse remains.
3) Corn Gluten meal: the dried residue from corn after the removal of the larger part of the starch and germ, and the separation of the bran by the process employed in the wet milling manufacture of corn starch or syrup, or by enzymatic treatment of the endosperm. Used for its protein content yet  is generally a poor source of protein vs. meat and is a by-product of the human food industries. Highly allergenic for dogs. 
4) Animal fat:Which animal did this come from? Because there is no mention as to which “kind” of animal this came from and because this brand is not human grade, it is most likely a combination of different fats from a meat rendering plant which could include euthanized dogs & cats (still wearing their collars and with sodium pentobarbital poison to euthanized them), road kill, rejected or expired meats from grocery stores (including the styrofoam) , zoo carcases, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans etc.
5) BHA & BHT preservatives: Synthetic chemical preservatives that prevent the fatty contents of the pet food from going rancid. They provide endless shelf life. Both have been suspected of being carcinogenic. BHA and BHT inhibit the immune system.
6) Wheat mill run: An allergen to pets, it consists of the fine particles of wheat bran, wheat shorts, wheat germ, wheat flour and the offal from the “tail of the mill”. No beneficial value to pets, but used as a cheap filler and a by-product of the human food industry.
7) Wheat: Can cause severe skin problems, allergies and obesity. Used as a cheap filler.

Conclusion: As cute as their ads are, Pedigree dog food is one of the lowest quality dog foods on the market. Ingredients are clearly by-product, leftovers from its human food division. The absolute worst ingredient is meat meal which could include euthanised dog & cats who are sent to meat rendering facilities from vet clinics.  Pedigree dog food is low quality, highly allergenic, obesity causing, difficult to digest and there is nothing redeeming about it.  Please note: Pedigree is one of the pet food companies that has had many food recalls lately after pets died eating their food. 

2) Premium quality dog food:
Royal Canin “Active Special 25™ Formula” for medium dogs

Partial Ingredient List:
Chicken meal…rice…chicken fat, corn gluten meal…dried beet pulp

1) Chicken Meal: Not human grade thus there is no guarantee to its quality. Also, contains hormones which lead to physiological problems in future.
2) Rice: Lack of specificity as to what kind of rice leaves a big grey area open as to what they would accept. Secondly, unless it is brown rice, white rice is a known allergen to dogs and cats.
3) Corn Gluten Meal: Cheap energy source. Highly allergenic to dogs and cats.
4) Dried Beet Pulp: This is the dried residue from sugar beet, added for fiber, but primarily sugar.  In their case, sugar was removed. It is known to be an artificial stool hardener. This is dangerous because when the stool remains in the colon too long, it exudes toxins into the blood stream, which could lead to a variety of short term (E.Coli) or long term health problems.

Conclusion: Although not as bad as Pedigree, there is no guarantee that it is human grade and there is nothing redeeming about their ingredients. For the amount of money you spend  you are better off buying holistic.

3) Veterinarian Brand:
Science Diet Adult Original

Partial ingredient list:
Chicken, Ground Whole Grain Corn, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Ground Whole Grain Wheat, Chicken By-Product Meal, Soybean Meal, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat, Brewers Rice…

1) Chicken: No assurance of it being human grade, hormone or  antibiotic free.
2) Ground Whole Grain Corn: One of the worst ingredients that could be given to pets. Causes obesity, allergies, skin problems, rashes and itchy skin. Used because it is a cheap filler. No benefit to animals. Very difficult to digest which causes digestion problems, diarrhoea or constipation.
3) Ground Wheat: Hard to digest, causes obesity, allergies and skin problems, rashes and itchy skin. Used because it is a cheap filler. No benefit to animals.
4) Chicken By-Product Meal: Could consist of organs and parts either not desired, or condemned, for human consumption. This can include bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, heads, feet, and feathers.
5)  Soybean Meal: Although soy is good for humans, it is not required for animal nutrition but used because it is a cheap filler. Side effects are the same as corn and wheat.
6) Corn gluten meal: One of the worst ingredients that could be given to pets. Causes obesity, allergies, skin problems, rashes and itchy skin. Used because it is a cheap filler. No benefit to animals. Very difficult to digest which causes digestion problems, diarrhoea or constipation.
7) Animal Fat:Which animal did this come from? Because there is no mention as to which “kind” of animal this came from and because this brand is not human grade, it is most likely a combination of different fats from a meat rendering plant which could include euthanized dogs & cats (still wearing their collars and with sodium pentobarbital poison to euthanized them), road kill, rejected or expired meats from grocery stores (including the styrofoam) , zoo carcases, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans etc.

Conclusion: This is one of the most expensive brands on the market. Next time, read the label of a bag you are about to buy and ask yourself, is this human grade? If not, there is no guarantee as to what you are getting….even if you are buying this from a vet clinic.  Remember, very few vets out there know about the problems with pet food simply because pet nutrition courses aren’t given in vet school, and if they are, they are paid for by Hills (Science Diet) or Purina who make poor quality, non-human grade food to begin with. Even more, some vets carry these brands simply because they get tuition reimbursement from them.

4) Holistic Brand Comparison (Canadian)
Holistic Blends’ All life Stages Canine Formula

Low ash chicken, whole ground brown rice, hulless barley, whole oats, chicken fat (preserved with rosemary), rosemary extract, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), natural chicken flavour, tomato pomace, wild salmon, dried whole eggs, nutritional yeast, kelp, sunflower oil, garlic oil, whole dried carrots, whole dried potatoes, beta carotene

1) Low Ash Chicken: Free range, hormone & antibiotic free and human grade chicken. Low in ash to prevent urinary tract infections
2) Whole Grain Brown Rice: Provides higher quantities of fiber and lower quantities of fat and protein than corn, wheat or soybean.
3) Hulless barley: A carbohydrate, which provides the body with energy. Considered to be a non-allergenic grain.
4) Whole Oats:High in trace minerals
5) Rosemary Extract: All natural, free flowing antioxidant for use in the preservation of fats, oils, fat soluble vitamins and other oxygen sensitive ingredients.  A detoxifying herb that works wonders for the liver, gall bladder, stomach, and intestines.
6) Asorbic Acid: Essential amino anti-oxidant nutrient.  Acts in the formation of collagen and in growth and repair of soft tissue, bones and teeth. Helps with iron absorption.
7) Tomato Pomace: Helps prevent hairballs by eliminating them in the waste instead of being vomited up.
8 ) Wild salmon: Omega 6 & 3 fatty acids for a healthy skin and coat.

You get the picture! Ingredients are chosen strictly for their health benefits to maintain health and prevent future health problems. This food also contain chelated minerals for easier absorption, is hypo-allergenic, loaded with antioxidants, human-grade vegetables and is naturally preserved. There are no rendered meats, animal by-products, BHA/BHT (carcinogenic preservative), corn, wheat, antibiotics, hormones, salt, sugar or beet pulp. Because high quality ingredients are used, the serving sizes are smaller saving you money. They also don’t test on animals. In terms of price, it is no more expensive then premium or vet quality brands. Since you are not paying for their exorbitant marketing and advertising campaigns, the money goes directly into buying higher quality ingredients.

Please note: Avoid pet foods tested on animals:

Believe it or not, pet foods are tested on cats and dogs. Once the experiment is over, these animals risk being sold to other labs for experiments on cosmetics, household cleaners, pharmaceutical or military experiments. In general, holistic pet foods DO NOT test on animals.

For more info on pet food animal testing, check out IamsCruelty, IamsKills, or StopAnimalTests.

For more information on pet nutrition, contact Animal Protection Institute, CommonDreams, WorldWise, ThePetCenter, and Holistic Blend or read “Food pets die for” written by Ann Martin.

 

Boycott Iams pet food

Boycott Iams pet food

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Responses

  1. Thank you for saying it well. I meet so many people who think pet food was “fixed” after the crisis of 2007 or they are new pet owners who missed the recall stories entirely!

  2. Hi Karen, thanks for your comment. Great site you have and good luck to you. Yes, holistic pet food is something I am definitely passionate about, especially spreading info about…to me it’s a no brainer, you see the results when you switch!

  3. Very informative post! although I’ve been giving my cats holistic wet food, I was also buying Nutro’s Natural Choice dry food, thinking it was a good brand and not realizing that it contains some of the bad ingredients listed.

    I’m now looking at alternatives for dry food, but it may be tricky. Even the Wellness brand, looking at their website is hard to tell whether the meat is human grade or not. I’ll have to see if my pet store carries Holistic Blend.

  4. Hi Bernice. No, unfortunately Nutro is not a good brand. It’s hard to decifer because of their pretty packaging with fresh ingredients but their holistic brand is just a step up from their regular brand, trying to complete against the holistic brands out there. Wellness is a good brand. They changed their formula about 2 yrs ago and a few dogs got diarrhea but everything is good with them now. You can trust them. This weekend I am coming out with a new posting on brands I approve, and those I don’t. Stay posted! Also, visit http://www.holisticblend.com I think they have an address locator to find a store that sells them near you. Good luck and thanks for caring about your pets!

  5. My boys (dogs) get homemade vegan meals, they love it! Most packaged pet food is absolutely repulsive, thanks for making more people aware.

  6. After reading that article I was shocked! I started searching for options, and was happily surprised to find Holistic Blend food at my local Loblaw(organic products section). And the vets keep telling people that grocery store food is bad for pets! My dog has been eating Eukanuba forever, because that’s what Safari and the vet recommends. The Eukanuba 35lbs bag is about 55$, and guess what? Holistic Blend 35lbs Lamb & Rice is exactly the same price! It’s true that the recommended serving is a bit less than for Eukanuba, so in the long run, it’s even cheaper to feed my dog better food.

    I’m definitely switching, UrbanGreenGirl also recommended Holistic Blend’s SeaGrass powder, which I also found at my local Loblaw, next step will be to ditch the rawhide bones, I know it’s bad!

    As for treats, there are many options, or you can make your own using organic ingredients, it’s very simple and yummy.

    Thanks UrbanGreenGirl, I’d like to read more posts like that!

  7. […] Officials (AAFCO), the organisation responsible for monitoring pet food.  In 2005, I wrote  The Truth about the Pet Food industry  (which has since been updated) which gives full descriptions of why certain ingredients are bad […]

  8. If you live in Virginia a great pet food store that sells some of the best brands is Whole Pet Central in Ashburn, VA. The owners are very knowledgable and kind and can get you on the right food asap.

  9. Solid Gold, Innova (including EVO), Wellness (including CORE), NOW!, Merrick (including Before Grain). and LIFE4K9 are great brands that are corn, wheat, and soy free. Azmira is ok, excluding their cat food, which contains corn.

  10. […] Officials (AAFCO), the organisation responsible for monitoring pet food.  In 2005, I wrote  The Truth about the Pet Food industry (which has since been updated) which gives full descriptions of why certain ingredients are bad […]

  11. wellness is the best

  12. It’s very exiting to find this urbangreengirl.wordpress.com blog. Thank you for sharing your talent and helpful information with us. You are a bright light!

  13. Great information–exactly what I was looking for as my friend feeds her dog Pedigree and I wanted to give her some clear information on how bad it really is!! I have a blog concerning all kinds of issues regarding pets and it is nice to find other like minded people out there. Thanks…my blog is http://livingforpets.com/ if you care to have a look. Dana

  14. Nutri Source and Pure Vita are by far the best dog foods i have come across, everything about them are fantastic and im a sales rep for these products and they have changed dogs lives trust me. high quality for good prices. If your wanting an Amazing Dog food i Highly Recommand Nutri Source and Pure Vita. email orderdesk@petfoodsource.ca if you want more information.


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