Consumer perception of a pet food product is HUGE business. If a pet food consumer ‘perceives’ a pet food to be healthy, the product sells. If a pet food consumer ‘perceives’ the FDA or AAFCO has the best interest in pets in mind, everything flows smoothly. Busting some pet food perception.
Recently there was a pet food protest in New York City.
The event was dubbed ‘dogupation’ – a spin off from the Occupied Wall Street protest last year. However, this pet food protest appears to be nothing more than pet food marketing. The protest event was organized by Merrick Pet Food which provided pet food samples at the event. The event did not bring attention to FDA Compliance polices that allow rendered diseased animals to be processed into pet foods, did not bring attention to pet food labels that don’t provide pet food consumers with the actual protein, fat or carbohydrate information of the food, or the event did not address genetically modified ingredients commonly used in pet foods. A real pet food protest…I think not.
One of the biggest perceptions used by many pet food and pet treat manufacturers is “Made in the USA” or distributed by (fill in the blank), “a USA company”. Common pet food consumer perception is Made in the USA or a USA company means all US ingredients…it’s safe…it’s not from China. Not often true. Many (ok maybe most) of Big Pet Food products contain ingredients sourced from China. Many jerky treats imported from China (linked to over 300 deaths and over 2,000 complaints to the FDA) have Made in USA blazoned on the packaging. Perception.
Another trick many pet food companies use to achieve a desired perception is actually lack of information. When asked if their canned foods contain BPA (a risky chemical linked to serious illness) in the can lining, I was promptly told by Blue Buffalo “No, the small cans do not contain a BPA lining.” The small cans. When I asked about the larger cans the Blue Buffalo representative suddenly had “no information” (most pet food companies will admit the large cans do indeed contain BPA in the lining). It was interesting that Blue Buffalo was prompt with providing BPA information on small cans (most of which don’t have a BPA lining) but had ‘no information’ for large cans (most of which do have a BPA lining). I’d have to guess, many pet food companies believes if they don’t tell us, it won’t hurt them. Lack of information helps control perception.
Many other companies do similar things….
More than 50% of the time when I ask the country of origin of ‘all’ ingredients, pet food companies neglect to share country of origin of vitamins and minerals. Almost 100% of the time this neglect of information turns out to be China; vitamins and minerals sourced from China.
More than 50% of the time when I ask if meat ingredients are USDA inspected and approved, pet food companies respond something like this…’The meats in our products are high-quality, safe raw materials that meet federal and state standards as well as our own.’ Considering that ‘federal and state standards’ allow the use of diseased animals or euthanized animals to be processed into pet food, this response doesn’t provide much comfort. But it does try to make the pet food consumer perceive the ingredients to be human grade doesn’t it?
The FDA continues to control pet food consumer perception. At tax payer expense they produce videos assuring consumers their utmost attention is given to the safety of pet foods and treats. All one has to do is read a few FDA Compliance Policies to bust this perception. But then when you think about the fact the FDA has been ‘investigating’ – for five years – the thousands of reports of sick an dying pets related to the jerky treats imported from China – with no recall – the perception the FDA is really looking out for our pets is completely shot.
Perception can be a dangerous thing in pet food. Ask questions of your pet food manufacturer. See how they respond. Pay attention to pet food advertising. Are they trying to manipulate your perception or are they being completely transparent (the first time you ask)? You want to base your pet food decisions on truth, not perception.
All pet food manufacturers have the opportunity to be transparent with consumers; sadly, few are.
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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