If you think it’s tough sorting through slick marketing to find a nutritious dog food or cat food, it’s even worse with dog and cat treats. The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) and the FDA considers a pet treat as ‘supplemental’ to the pet’s diet so even fewer regulations apply. This is not good news for pet lovers.
So, let me ask you, do you think this is fair? A popular pet food line sells a cat treat with ‘Shrimp & Tuna Treats’ in the name. The kicker is that there is absolutely not one drop of shrimp or tuna in the cat treat. Zippo. Nadda. Blazoned across the packaging of this treat – in the actual name of the treat – is ‘Shrimp & Tuna’…but there is no shrimp or tuna in the ingredients. Is that fair? Seriously, who wouldn’t assume – by the name – that this cat treat contains shrimp and tuna? Everyone would assume this, and rightfully so. But, thanks to our friends (or enemies depending on how you look at it) at AAFCO and the FDA, this is perfectly legal; yet another one of those ridiculous things that are allowed in the pet food/treat industry.
Here is the list of ingredients of the ‘Shrimp & Tuna Cat Treats’: liver, chicken by-products, chicken by-product meal, corn, sardine meal, animal fat, glycerin, high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, phosphoric acid, salt, potassium sorbate and citric acid and calcium propionate and BHA (preservatives), natural and artificial shrimp and tuna flavor.
Is it me or do you see any shrimp or tuna listed in the ingredients? Oh, there’s “natural and artificial shrimp and tuna flavor” – but there is no shrimp and/or tuna in this cat treat – even though the treat name implies there is.
With pet foods, the regulations require a certain percentage of the food to be ‘shrimp’ or ‘tuna’ when the name of the food would state ‘Shrimp & Tuna Cat Food’ (at least 25% of the food excluding moisture with this example). But with treats, you know, because they are only supplemental to the pet’s diet, that’s not required.
If a dog food or cat food contains no shrimp or tuna and is just ‘flavored’ with a meat or fish, the name of the food will say: Cat Food with Shrimp & Tuna Flavor. ‘Flavor’ is the key word in the pet food name.
I don’t have a problem with a pet food/treat company using artificial flavors or by-products or even imported ingredients. Every company has the right to use whatever quality of ingredients they choose. I don’t agree with any company that would use inferior ingredients in a pet food, and I wouldn’t purchase their products; but if that’s how they choose to do business, then that’s how they choose to do business. What I do have a problem with is AAFCO and FDA regulations that allow a pet treat or pet food label to lie to pet owners. There is simply no excuse. Honesty in pet food and pet treat labeling (quality or grade of ingredients, honest ingredient names, country of origin of ingredients, and so on) should be mandatory yesterday. A cat treat named “No Shrimp or Tuna in this Cat Treat but we’re calling them Shrimp & Tuna Cat Treats Anyway” probably wouldn’t be very popular, but at least it would be honest labeling. C’mon AAFCO and FDA, step up and stop this nonsense.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients? Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
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