Consumer Reports Responds to Consumer Complaints, Sort Of
Don’t expect much from their response…we do have their attention however.
Briefly, Consumer Reports magazine published an article in their August 2011 edition telling pet food consumers low cost pet foods were nutritionally the same as high priced pet foods. Needless to say, that didn’t set well with many educated pet parents. Many wrote CR with solid evidence proving there are indeed wide variations in quality of pet foods. CR fired back with a bland response defending their position. And now they respond again…
I replied to my CR bland response with the following…
“You state “our pet food buying advice is grounded in pricing and nutrition, specifically on nutrition standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials.” I have to ask, does CR even have a copy of the AAFCO Official Publication? If not, how can you advise pet parents on ‘standards’ you have not read or do not understand? Has CR even read the FDA Compliance polices related to all animal food?
I don’t mean to be harsh, yet I am very frustrated with your original advise to pet parents and your response to me. I would like a response to above questions.
Today, this is what they sent me…please notice they did not answer my questions…
“Dear Ms. Thixton:
Thank you for your reply. I am responding on Mr. Burns’ behalf.
I was sorry to read that you were unhappy with our response. Please know that we have posted an article on our website, ConsumerReports.org, addressing some of the concerns we’ve heard from our readers regarding August 2011’s Tame your pet costs. You can read it here:
I’d also like you to know that your latest e-mail has been shared with the appropriate staff members for their review and future use.
Thank you again for your feedback.
Customer Relations Coordinator”
I wrote Mr. Tully of CR back and stated…
I would still like the questions I sent you answered. Please.
We’ll see if they eventually respond to my questions.
Here’s what the CR webpage says…
“In response to our recent report “Tame your pet costs,” some readers have questioned whether low-priced pet food is really good enough–or if it’s better to buy the high-priced spread, as the manufacturers of premium pet foods might argue. There are probably many good reasons for choosing a higher-priced pet food–for example, if your dog or cat has special nutritional needs or simply won’t eat anything else. But fulfilling basic nutritional needs does not seem to be among them.
As we noted in our 2009 report on the topic, there appears to be no scientific evidence that more expensive pet foods are nutritionally superior to economically priced foods that meet standards set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).
Regarding Sarah Abood, D.V.M., who was quoted in our article, Dr. Abood was employed by Purina in the past, which is not an uncommon resume item for a veterinary nutritionist, and she voluntarily disclosed that information when our reporter interviewed her. She has been employed by Michigan State University since 1999 and consults with one pet store chain on nutrition. She is not an employee or advisory panel member of any pet food company.
Consumers who are concerned about a pet’s nutritional needs should consult a veterinarian who is familiar with that pet’s health. Even in cases where a pet might do better on a special diet, consumers are likely to find significant price differences among equally appropriate foods, as we noted in our report.
As always, we’re committed to helping consumers find the most cost-effective way to meet their needs. We hope our report’s advice to comparison shop and to question manufacturers’ claims will do just that.”
The CR webpage does accept comments should any of you like to share with them how you feel about their latest response. Here’s the link: http://news.consumerreports.org/money/2011/07/shop-around-to-get-the-right-food-for-your-pet.html
I tried three times to register to submit a Comment on the CR webpage – “An Error Occurred” each time. So here’s what I would have posted…
Consumer Reports says…”some readers have questioned whether low-priced pet food is really good enough–or if it’s better to buy the high-priced spread” No CR, readers were not questioning whether low-priced pet foods are good enough, they were questioning you suggesting that low-priced pet food is nutritionally the same as higher priced high quality pet food. We provided you with clear evidence of the quality of some pet food ingredients; please read those FDA Compliance Policies.
CR says “There are probably many good reasons for choosing a higher-priced pet food…But fulfilling basic nutritional needs does not seem to be among them.” I can’t believe you would make this statement if you did indeed understand just a tiny bit of this industry. Again, read the FDA Compliance Policies.
You are right CR, there is “no scientific evidence that more expensive pet foods are nutritionally superior to economically priced foods”, but there is FDA evidence that proves some pet food ingredients are sourced from diseased animals and euthanized animals. I’m confident scientific research is not necessary to determine that Grade A meat is far more nutritious than meat sourced from a diseased animal or meat sourced from a euthanized animal; it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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