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Another AAFCO Meeting Soon

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  1. Fiona

    Thank you for all you do Susan!

  2. Alida

    Thanks for going through this, Susan, on behalf of all our beloved dogs!

    1. Lisa Marie

      And beloved cats as well.

  3. Dick

    The lack of transparency of these groups is most telling. The notion that you are held to a “non disclosure” standard is outrageous. They cannot by any means let any of this “highly classified” discussion get out to the public. This is a perfect example of everything that is wrong with these quasi regulatory agencies.

    On the recall “disaster recovery” walk through, Is lab testing part of this? My question would be “who does the testing”? I suspect it is all internal and I would be very skeptical of that. I’m sorry, I just do not trust the FDA, CDC, the Dept of Agriculture. Their integrity has been shown to be less than honest. An independent lab should be involved in testing of product recall material.

    OK, rant mode off. Keep up the good fight Susan.

    1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      You are absolutely correct! Dick. The testing should be independent, even then I would be skeptical knowing how bought off so many people/Companies are!

      Good luck Susan. I hope you have several pet food advocates there by your side as support & to also not feel as such an outsider, as “they” are so good at making you feel.

  4. Linda Saslow

    Many thanks from us and our furry friends!

  5. T Allen

    Thank you Susan, in advance! There is no way we can ever repay you for the torture you go through to bring us these reports. Think of us when you enter those meetings and the knowledge that you are on the right side and we are behind you will shield you from the negative vibes! Remember no one can harm you unless you agree to it just like you can’t fight with someone who won’t fight back. In this season of “fake news” you don’t have to “prove” anything to these knuckleheads because we all know who is going to win this one!

  6. Cannoliamo

    A few suggestions for AAFCO that would help me select food for my cats:

    1. One of my cats is allergic to pork. Purina Fancy Feast Elegant Medleys contains “liver” (unidentified source). I had to call Purina and talk to their nutritionist in order to find out that all of the generic “liver” Purina uses is PORK liver. Animal source for specific ingredients should be included on the label. I would also like to see the food manufacturing companies sponsor additional research into the most common / likely causes of breed-specific food allergies before placing such emphasis on terms like “soy free,” “grain-free,” “gluten-free,” “wheat-free,” and “corn-free,” as if these modifications were somehow a magical cure for cats with allergies, IBS and/or IBD.

    2. Certain companies (e.g. Wysong and Natural Balance) sell non-prescription foods that are labelled as “hypoallergenic.” Other companies (i.e. Blue Buffalo) sell non-prescription foods that are “Limited-Ingredient” or for “Sensitive Stomachs.” None of the proteins in these foods have been hydrolyzed and the science behind the labelled benefit claims is vague at best (insufficient clinical trials). I would like to be able to purchase cat foods that are truly (scientifically formulated) to be hypoallergenic, or for cats with sensitive stomachs and know that they are the right foods for my cats’ digestive disorders.

    3. Foods that have supplemental probiotics vary greatly in the amount and composition of probiotic bacteria. Some have lactobacillus acidophilus (questionable benefit for cats) and others have L. Brevis, L. Plantarum and/or L. Spirogenes, that have been shown to be beneficial in the cat’s GI tract. It would be helpful to know if the probiotic additives can be expected to be beneficial to my IBS and IBD cats. I think the manufacturers should sponsor additional research on the beneficial effects of specific biota in order to make beneficial labelling claims for probiotics.

    4. I would like to see AAFCO develop some kind of rating system for foods as to whether or not a specific food was digestible and nutritious for all cats, cats with known digestive disorders including dysbiosis and/or IBD, cats with sensitive stomachs or IBS, cats with skin allergies or other food allergies, obese cats, cats with lower urinary tract disorders, etc. Currently, far too many nutrition claims are based on insufficient clinical dietary research to support these claims.

    5. While maximum fiber is an enforceable AAFCO standard, minimum fiber content appears to be absent from the labelling on many cat foods that claim benefit for sensitive stomachs and digestive disorders where fiber supplements have been shown to be beneficial to their digestive process.

    6. I hope AAFCO will eventually prohibit the use of generic components or supplements such as “animal byproducts” and will require manufacturers to identify the country-of-origin for each organic constituent in the cat food as well as the applicable standard for that country. Multiple cat households like mine should not have to spend thousands of dollars trying to find healthy and nutritious cat food blends with known ingredients and known origins. I would also like to see AAFCO support the use of FDA standards for human-grade food where applicable to cat foods.

    7. It would be helpful to me if AAFCO developed some type of bioavailability index similar to that used in pharmacology for me to use in comparing the nutrient values of different cat foods.

    1. Anthony Hepton.

      Don’t expect AFCCO to do anything that will help you, they work exclusively for the pet food manufacturing industry.

    2. Pacific Sun

      1. It is interesting to me that many Owners vehemently criticize Hills Prescription Pet Foods and their “science” as a vehicle for pushing (so-called) “therapeutic nutrition.” And yet Hills is one of the few manufacturers in a position to do the kind of detailed and specialized research, testing and development that you are requesting.

      2. To expect non-scientifically based (mainstream) PF manufacturers (like Blue Buffalo) to go into the same kind details that you’re suggesting, would not only duplicate some of the effort already available through Hills, but would significantly increase production costs to every regular customer. I say they should drop inappropriate claims and all misleading descriptions that suggest a specialized diet being targeted to special and irregular conditions.

      3. My dog had a severe reaction to any chicken product whatsoever. But I didn’t find it inconvenient (or expensive) to avoid such products. Simply asking what kind of liver, is a fair enough question. Although Pork (perhaps) is not optimal or a natural feed for cats or dogs. And so AAFCO should require specification of generalized ingredients. As with “animal by-products.” We all agree on this point.

      4. Dogs and cats (just as do people) who have an exceptional “damaging immune response” (or so-called “allergy”) are exceptions to the norm. I am gluten-sensitive, and only truly trust products that say “gluten-free” or I must test, or call the manufacturer. But I can hardly expect a grocery food store (or general manufacturer) to cater to my individual limitations. It would be prohibitively expensive for all consumers. Nor would I expect “Campbells’ Soup” (for example) to complete full testing that optimizes their product for my condition. I can’t trust ANY soup, unless it actually says “Gluten-Fee” and that’s fair enough. I am grateful for that concession as it is, which was not at all the case a decade ago!

      5. Cats (with sensitive stomachs) are more often affected by inferior ingredients and an inappropriate species diet (excessive carbs, mixed ingredients, etc.,) and over time, their digestive systems have become compromised. Yet we read a lot about raw and mainly protein rich diets for cats, as being very helpful. Should we not learn to augment our pet’s regular diets with enhanced (or whole) ingredients?

      6. The issue of probiotics (that I’ve reading about) is already controversial. While they can be helpful (if dairy is not an issue) why can’t owners supply the specific kind which most benefits their particular pet? I use Kefir for mine, but would seek more/better probiotics from a knowledgeable Health Food Store if required.

      7. Fiber (as with every component) needs to be identified both by quantity (min. vs. max) and source. But requiring every manufacturer to LIST every ingredient by country of origin is both impractical and unreasonable (to the point of cost, and shifting providers). More to the point, manufacturers should be required, to provide but on-demand more information ABOUT their providers (on an individual basis). And remember, some are proprietary sources (not in defense of it, just being a fact).

      8. It would be useful, but I think at an unexpected level of higher detail and responsibility, to require manufacturers to declare a Bioavailability Index. IF they are going to be prepared to do so, would mean that they must also be conscientious about their ingredient sources! What’s the point of using “chicken meal” (in part a combination of ground feathers) if the bioavailability is compromised to begin with? One is simply in conflict with the other. But perhaps a generalized guide could be developed, such as the relative values between meat, meal, by-products, etc.

      9. With all the requirements (above) suggested in your Post, would cause such a rise in PF cost, that people might as well switch to serving “Dinty Moore Stew” (to dogs at least) for example. And thus, by using “human grade quality” food would certainly solve many other PF issues in the process!

      10. I must prefer Antony Hepton’s purely simplified response (below) …. don’t expect AAFCO to do anything on behalf of PF consumers. There allegiance is to manufacturers only!

      1. Cannoliamo

        All good points for discussion. I love Number 9 – I wish my cats liked Dinty Moore Stew, it’s a lot cheaper than the cat food I buy for them. 🙂

        I’ve spoken with many PF manufacturers (have respect for Hills and Wysong), but, in general find THEIR concern about THEIR food being nutritionally adequate for MY cats is not one of THEIR priorities. I’m sure THEY could find a little room in THEIR profit margins to sponsor more research at UC Davis, Cornell, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Colorado State and a few other veterinary school nutrition programs and research institutes if it is shown to them that I’m at least hopeful that my 6 cats being fed two 3-ounce cans each per day at a cost of $1.50 a can (yes, 3 cases per week – thank God for CHEWY) with dry food supplement will provide a safe and nutritionally complete diet that THEY can be rightfully proud of selling. I’ve spoken with many PF companies and find my conversations (with few exceptions) add little comfort to my dietary health concerns and pretty much fall on deaf ears. Their attitude (as emphasized in Antony Hepton’s comments) is most commonly that “as long as WE meet the minimum AAFCO standards, the health of YOUR cats is not OUR concern.”

  7. Batzion

    Thank you, Susan. You should run for Congress because you have more brains and common sense than the whole lot of them.

  8. Anthony Hepton.

    Susan, Here is my constant request. USDA (APHIS) has reported that ingredients from rendering, e.g. meat and bone meal, chicken meal, animal digest, and animal or chicken fat will be contaminated with endotoxins. FDA has set no tolerances for these contaminants. The pet food manufacturers do not test for endotoxins. There is a requirement that in any use of an ingredient that has potential safety issues, the proponent of that use must have scientific published data that has been peer reviewed that shows that the product is safe. The pet food industry has not developed such data, they issue no warning on their packaging and are consequentially in violation of the law. Such violations can result in the closure of manufacturing facilities. FDA contends, as you know, that such restrictions would limit the disposal of many tons of waste animal products and they continue to not enforce their own regulations in this regard, but if we cannot depend on government agencies to regulate an industry, who shall we turn to in the enforcement of product safety. Not FDA, not manufacturers, only the customers who pay good money for products with questionable safety history.

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