Sydney University recently examined 20 supermarket pet foods finding almost half could cause “severe illness or injury”. The University refuses to disclose the names of the pet foods tested, however consumer outrage since the study might just change the future!
Sydney University published a peer reviewed study that has certainly gotten attention, but perhaps not the attention the university wanted.
First, the study…
The study tested 10 dry and 10 wet adult cat foods. Two different batches of each brand was purchased, the study used an average of the test results from the two products for the analysis.
The study found: “When compared with the Australian Standard, 9 of the 20 cat foods did not adhere to their ‘guaranteed analysis’ and 8 did not adhere to the standards for nutrient composition. Also, various deficiencies and excesses of crude protein, crude fat, fatty acid and amino acid were observed in the majority of the cat foods.”
Two wet cat foods and seven dry cat foods measured lower in Crude Protein that was stated on the label; 3 wet foods measured higher. Seven dry cat foods measured lower in Crude Fat, five cat foods measured higher. For Crude Fat content, results exceeded the recommended daily intake (of fat) by a range of 149% to 448%.
“The comparison between package and measured values demonstrated that two of five wet and all seven dry foods that provided a guaranteed analysis on the packaging did not comply with the Australian Standard, as these foods measured less crude protein or fat than the package value.”
Results for Protein – one wet and one dry did not supply adequate concentrations of crude protein.
There were inadequate daily amounts of crude fat for maintenance of the adult cat in two of the wet and three of the dry foods. Results of five foods – cats consuming these pet foods “may develop a deficiency in ERAs, fat-soluble vitamins or energy and a possible decrease in overall nutrient intake.”
“Furthermore, all of the commercial cat foods varied in their satisfaction of the nutritional requirements of a 4-kg adult cat in maintenance as recommended by AAFCO and NRC. The various nutrient deficiencies and excesses observed in a majority of the foods in the study highlight a serious issue in the nutrition composition of commercial cat foods in Australia. Both the nutrient composition and feeding guidelines require extensive review to ensure the adult cat’s unique dietary requirements are being met.”
Next, the outrage…
Pet owners and some veterinarians in Australia are concerned the pet food names are not being released. Several Australian veterinarians have complained the University has close ties with pet food through sponsorship. Sydney University has ‘sponsorship deals’ with Hill’s and Royal Canin pet foods, brands not sold in supermarkets. Because the university testing was stated to include only supermarket brand pet foods, suspicions arose that university aided in – though at arms length – casting a bad light on non-sponsorship brands sold in supermarkets. The University stated “its pet food sponsorships had nothing to do with the cat food study and had no bearing on it.”
But it seems the University of Sydney is rethinking the situation. ABC News in Australia received documents revealing the university is “conducting an overhaul of its corporate sponsorships following the ABC’s exposure of corporate deals between the Veterinary Faculty and large pet food companies Hills and Royal Canin.”
ABC News states “The draft document, obtained by the ABC, is titled “Faculty of Veterinary Science Local Provisions for Sponsorship” and acknowledges “gifts and sponsorship, no matter how small, have been shown to influence recipients”. The document aims to “ensure freedom from bias or inappropriate influences that might otherwise occur as a consequence of support from external entities”.
Perhaps consumer outrage plus outspoken veterinarians – screaming from the rooftops – does eventually get attention. Keep it up Australia!
The bad news…it is doubtful the names of the pet foods tested will ever be released, and pet food consumers can safely assume some of the ‘grocery store brands’ tested (found to have serious nutritional concerns) are the very same ‘grocery store brands’ sold here in the US and Canada. All going unnoticed by US and Canadian regulatory authorities.
Click Here to read more information and the full study.
Click Here to read the follow up story by ABC News Australia with the University of Sydney updated pet food sponsorship agreement.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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