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AAFCO August 2015 Meeting Final Notes

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  1. Lori S.

    This is historic. Your combined presence and insightful comments at the meeting are really starting to make an impact. Thank you all for going and thank you for reporting on this. What can the rest of us do to help?

  2. Peg

    “An industry representative told the crowd it would be “unconscionable to landfill these nutrients” – insisting that expired rotting foods (including their plastic packing) is nutrition. ”

    I am extending an invitation to the sleeze who said the above statement.
    Come to my house and I will personally cook and serve the above to you on my finest china with my sterling silver flatware.
    I want you to eat the same garbage that you expect my cats to eat you low life piece of crap.

    It’s not food for anything or anyone to eat…….IT’S GARBAGE!

    1. Phyllis Klein

      How do these people look at themselves in the mirror?

    2. Jo

      LOVE IT, PEG!!!!!!!!

    3. Sabienne

      Applause! And thank you, Sue, for your tenacity.

    4. Madeleine Fisher-Kern

      I will even volunteer to wash the dishes.

  3. Tracy Dion

    Nice synopsis, Susan! Step by little step, we will be heard!

    And at some point, industry officials are going to have to recognize their free ride is over. They are now being held accountable for their actions, and will have to change their practices accordingly. And maybe even start acting with some professionalism, as well.

    Great job!!!!

  4. Deb Binder

    THANK YOU for all that you do for the animals. You are GREAT!

  5. Mirsades McIver

    Thank you so much Susan for sharing your notes with everyone, they were wonderful to read. I don’t know if this will have any bearing on the next meeting but it is something that I haven’t seen addressed by anyone concerning the ingredients listed on canned food. My cat was diagnosed at approximately 2 years old with HCM (a heart condition) and IBD (irritable bowel disease). He needs to eat food with only ONE protein source, which in his case is turkey. If the labels aren’t disclosing the true ingredients it can cause a flare-up of his IBD which sometimes can lead to cancer. This is so important for us to know, what we are really feeding our beloved pets. There is also another ingredient found in most canned pet foods that has been proven to cause cancer….carageenan. Cats don’t need seaweed in their diet and it is very difficult to find ones that don’t contain it. I have been feeding Nature’s Variety Instinct, Grain Free, Limited Ingredient Turkey (kibble and canned) for the past 1 1/2 years and he seems to be doing ok. He’s not too fond of the canned food which makes me wonder about the quality of the ingredients. Sorry for the long post, just thought it might be good to mention at the next meeting about the importance of what’s actually on the label when it says single protein. If even fish oil is added it is no longer a “single” protein food and can cause a reaction.

  6. Linda Sekula

    Thank You …. each and everyone of you that went to this meeting and were the voice for all of us that love our animals….I’m with Peg! The individual that said expired rotting food (including the plastic packing) is nutrition??? What planet are you from? And yes, I also would like to cook some up for you. Yes we have made strives…but we much forge ahead and educate these ignorant soles, we still have a long road ahead. Thank you Susan for your notes and keeping us informed as always.

  7. Cheryl Thomas

    When it comes to what is in our dogs’ food I am wondering with the bird flu recently….what has been done with all those chickens that were removed from the food chain? Did they destroy and dispose of them or were they sold to make pet food?

    1. Karen Peterson

      This is my concern as well Cheryl! I would love to hear some follow up….

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        Cheryl and Karen – the decision of what to do with all of the birds (chickens and turkeys) destroyed due to avian flu was left up to individual states the farms were in. I contacted several states – some told me that state law required the birds to be buried on the farm, some told me that birds were incinerated, and others did not respond. So we don’t know exactly if any of these birds (sick birds) were allowed to be processed into animal feed/pet feed in some states.

  8. Debra Reynolds

    Thanks to all of you
    Susan Thixton
    Dr. Karen Becker
    Rodney Habib
    Dr. Judy Morgan
    Nina Wolf
    BC Henchen
    Mollie Morrissette
    Dr. Jean Hofve
    And Dr. Cathy Alinovi

  9. Laura

    About raw pet food, were you able to bring up the information you had in that post concerning FDA’s obvious bias against raw pet food compared to kibble?

  10. Donna Chicone

    Thank you Susan for all you do to help our beloved dogs have options for healthy food. And thank you for bringing this information back to us. I applaud the entire representation of experts and advocates you recognize who were with you. I will continue to share your information with other pet parents. Woofs & Smiles!

  11. Peter

    Many thanks for challenging the offensive characterization of animal guardians who cherish their dogs and cats as “irrational,” as your group works to confront the adversarial relationship that pet food consumers have with the manufacturers that they support.

  12. Pacific Sun

    Everybody has a day, job and those of us who are fortunate also have a passion!

    I’m not sure the good ‘ole boys at AAFCO and Industry get up every morning with the intention of doing harm. But they recognize only two kinds of interested parties. The first are Owners protecting a business. And the second are Animal Rights Activists (aka hobbyists) who have a passion. The good ‘ole boys do not see the middle ground because (quite frankly) they’ve not gone through the long educational process that we have. Sure during a 3 day meeting twice a year they’re forced into the same room with advocates, when they’re reminded of studies and facts and evidence and examples and anecdotes. But if you put the electrodes to their brain they still won’t “believe” that what they’re doing is harmful in a practical sense.

    And that’s the key. Because everything in this world (except for very few truly altruistic people, like Susan) is incentive based. It’s simple for us. We don’t want our pets to suffer and we don’t want our veterinarian costs to rise. And they don’t want the cost of doing business to rise.

    We can call these folks all kind of names and attribute their rude condescending behavior to Middle School mentality. But in the end we have to come across as professionals, meaning as VERY interested parties as much as they are. As an Association of Concerned Consumers (ATPF) we want just a couple of things. We don’t expect the entire Industry to reform because we know people don’t operate on “wishful” thinking. We do want what we’re entitled to however which is full disclosure before purchasing. Therefore it is our JOB to link that entitlement (truth in advertising, accuracy in labeling, regulated operations) with our purchasing power! (For example) we were told chicken “by-products” are only the parts unfit for human consumption. Except that it can include the grinding up of LIVE chickens! This might have a nutritional purpose in PF BUT the ingredient hasn’t been fully disclosed! Do you think this is how Chicken Nuggets are made? Wouldn’t it be interesting to know the truth.

    Unfortunately this is an acceptable practice JUST because PF is equated with livestock feed. The difference is consumers aren’t buying “livestock feed.” You aren’t ranchers and farmers! You have an individual household pet which you hope has quality of life and survives to its expected maturity and for which you are financially responsible! Don’t you have the right to know what you’re buying as you do with ANY OTHER PRODUCT ON THE MARKET? And certainly to receive full disclosure upon inquiry! What are you getting for your money.

    If you’re serious about complaining then consumers have only two choices. One is to stop buying a product that isn’t transparent (especially the low budget, chain store, warehouse, dollar store, gas station stuff)! And the second is to (through legislation) make full disclosure a requirement at least upon request. Let the Industry manufacture anything they want. Keep those price points affordable for those who rely on economy. But also make quality and value just as much of an option for the rest of us. That’s what free enterprise is about. The Industry will self-regulate for the better.

    As an informed Association which Susan has worked very hard and very diligently to make thoughtful and impactful – we need to conduct ourselves as the very antithesis of Stan Cook’s comment – when he told the [AAFCO] crowd that [the] “humanization of pets results in irrational and erratic behavior.” Strangely the real irony of the comment is that most of us (those who deeply care!) are probably feeding our pets even better than we ourselves eat!

  13. Sharon Oh

    When did Stan Cook of Missouri Department of Agriculture obtain his degree in psychology?

  14. Margarat

    I’m not in favor of the upcoming requirement for calorie counts on treats and supplements. I think it puts an additional expense on small companies that is unwarranted. If a treat company wants to make calories a selling point they’ll do it anyway. If they are selling a natural product that varies how would they calculate calorie? It’s “nutritionism” when logic will do. And for supplements? That just seems ridiculous.

  15. Jerry M

    I’d like to point something out. I’m just now seriously getting into the safety issues with pet food and it seems to me that the focus should be on the safety of the ingredients going into the food and the safety measures followed by the plants that manufacture the final product. The companies involved in this process chain need to be diligent in their quality control processes and need to be transparent to the public. It should be EASY for the consumer to find out where the food is manufactured, what the recall/safety record is for the particular plant, where the ingredients came from and what the recall/safety record is for the particular supplier. The fact that it’s a struggle just to get them to correctly list the ingredients on the can shows how much of an uphill battle this is going to be. The culture in some of these companies astounds me.

    1. Pacific Sun

      Welcome from pet food (PF) consumers united in pet food safety advocacy. You have discovered an invaluable resource. TAPF followers (because of Susan’s education throughout the years) are able to share information with one another.

      The pet food industry (PFI) is very unique. For starters it is not held to Truth in Advertising standards. The Agency tasked with oversight is hampered by inadequate funding (including other excuses). The Industry is permitted FDA Compliance Policies (http://truthaboutpetfood.com/tag/fda-compliance-policies/) and other grievous privileges. Know that TAPF consumers funded ($16,000 worth) of a Pet Food Testing project (http://truthaboutpetfood.com/the-pet-food-test-results/) revealing just some negatives contained in PF in addition to other pet food testing studies. (http://truthaboutpetfood.com/?s=pet+food+testing).

      The Good News is that 2 years ago PF manufacturers were invited to submit a Pledge to Quality and Origin designating exactly what you are requesting in PF (http://truthaboutpetfood.com/31-pledges/) meaning the transparency of their sourcing. Through that link are the truly brave and courageous companies (out of 86 solicited) who signed-off on the origin and quality of their ingredients! These manufacturers can be considered consumer aware companies, and usually have the level of customer service readily available to match their Pledge.

      In summary the difficulty in establishing the quality of diet that our companion pets eat lies in the ingredient definition differences between what is manufactured as “livestock feed” and what consumers require in a “pet food.” Livestock feed was never designed for long term maintenance and quality supplementation due to the nature of Ag-Business (slaughter). Therefore Livestock feed is a catch all for “processing” (i.e., boiling and extruding) second class not-fit-for-retail sale rotting garbage and toxin ridden ingredients such as seriously dangerous mycotoxins that can be present in the cut-rate storage of cheap grain. Ingredients going into “Pet food” should be USDA Inspected/Approved protein along with other human grade ingredients. It seems like a simple enough distinction but it is a huge stumbling block for the Industry (because of cost) and because the Industry chooses to be an alternative to landfill restrictions. Know that (for example) just recently it was revealed that poultry by-products are not just the parts and pieces unfit for human consumption, but can include chickens that were ground up LIVE! This is just one shocking reveal of protein rendering.

      All consumers really want is full transparency (particularly upon inquiry) to allow every consumer to make a choice that best suits their own requirements and budget! Ooos, it sounds like we’re just looking for honesty, doesn’t it?!

  16. T Allen

    Susan- If you set up a fund raising site again for people to donate money for attending these meetings I know people would donate! If 78,000 signed the petition and you could get each one to donate even a dollar every year, you’d have money to pay for travel at least. I’m sure you could get more than that too as this is critically important work you are doing. Thank you all!

  17. Dianne

    I thought I made a post, was it removed or did it not get sent properly by my browser. Just asking before I type it all again.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Only comment I have from you today is on the newest article – Hair for the Dog

  18. B Dawson

    I was just re-reading this article looking for the next year’s meeting dates but here’s jumped out at me….

    “Stan Cook told the crowd that “humanization of pets results in irrational and erratic behavior.” ..”

    Every pet food company markets to this very quality. Millions are spent on focus groups to determine buzz words and label designs that will entice “pet parents” to buy a specific product; they tinker with colors and textures and smells that will appeal to humans.

    How very hypocritical!

    1. Pacific Sun

      If these AAFCO and PF Manufacturers get frustrated about anything, then it’s with the kind of consumers that Stan Cook describes in that quote. After all if you’re an Agri-businessman raising sheep then you probably order a couple hundred pallets of “Livestock Grade Sheep Feed” throw it into the trough and call it a day! Of course that’s just as long as your sheep survive to slaughter. Otherwise manufacturers would hear about it! Not so with those pesky “pet parents” however, who worry and fret over every nuance of PF details especially the more they read and share. It’s not enough that their pets are surviving, they want even more!! What’s next? Oh good gracious the nuisance of the Internet and Social Media! Because nothing is more aggravating than an educated PF consumer!

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