Pet Food Regulations

Failed Guarantee

The State of Illinois found 16 pet foods to “fail” random testing in 2013; the pet foods did not test to match the claimed “Guaranteed Analysis” as stated on labels. No product was recalled even though each of these pet foods were mislabeled. So much for a guarantee.

Guarantee: “provide a formal assurance or promise, especially that certain conditions shall be fulfilled relating to a product, service or transaction.”

In 2013 the Illinois Department of Agriculture randomly tested pet foods and animal feeds. The report of this testing, titled “Feed Book” “Illinois Commercial Feed Laboratory Analysis 2013” was a compilation of all the testing performed during 2013.

The Feed Book report for pet foods…

Against the Grain Pulled Chicken w/Gravy Dinner Dogs
Crude Protein Guarantee 10.0 – Found 8.9

(Explanation: Pet food labels contain a section titled Guaranteed Analysis. This information is provided by each manufacturer as a requirement of law. Protein and Fat is stated in the Guaranteed Analysis as a minimum. Using the above pet food as example, the label stated Protein as a minimum of 10%. But Illinois Department of Agriculture found the pet food tested at only 8.9% Protein.)

Black Gold Pet Food Premium Dog Food 26.18 Performance Blend
Crude Fat Guarantee 18.0 – Found 14.7

Canidae Chicken Lamb and Fish in Chicken Broth Can
Crude Protein Guarantee 9.0 – Found 7.6

Cargill River Run Hi-NRG 24-20 Dog Food
Crude Fat Guarantee 20.00 – Found 17.12

Diamond Original Adult Dog
Crude Fat Guarantee 12.0 – Found 9.76

Evangers Low Grain Super Premium Dog Food Whitefish & Sweet Potato
Calcium Guarantee 1.5 – Found 1.94

Joy Pet Foods Professional High Energy Dog Food 24/20
Crude Fat Guarantee 20.0 – Found 17.4

K-Mart Corp / Simmons Pet Foods Inc
Champion Breed Chicken & Beef Dinner for Puppies
Calcium Guarantee 0.28 – Found 0.24

Nature’s Recipe Del Monte/Big Heart
Nature’s Recipe Venison & Rice Homestyle Healthy Skin
Copper Guarantee .000200 – Found .000050

Loyall Active Adult Formula 26.19 Dog Food
Crude Fat Guarantee 19.0 – Found 16.04

Loyall Cat & Kitten Formula 30/15
Magnesium Guarantee .08 – Found .05

River Run Professional Formula 30-20 Dog Food
Crude Fat Guarantee 20.0 – Found 16.94

Precise Holistic Complete Flaked Pork Formula for Cats
Crude Fat Guarantee 4.5 – Found 3.0

Solid Gold High Protein Chicken Recipe Dog Food
Crude Protein Guarantee 10.0 – Found 8.38

Target / Simmons Pet Food
Boots & Barkley Dog Food w/Beef Cuts in Gravy Dog Food
Crude Protein 8.0 – Found 6.09

Variety Pet Food Homestyle Recipes Savannah Crockpot
Crude Fat Guarantee 7.0 – Found 5.5
Crude Protein Guarantee 8.0 – Found 6.2

In my opinion, every single one of these pet foods should have been recalled. At the very least each of these products should have been pulled from store shelves and notification of product pull should have been released to pet food consumers in a press release.

But instead…

  • the products were mislabeled;
  • claims/guarantees made on the pet food label did not match the test results of products;
  • consumers were lied to; and
  • each manufacturer and the Illinois Department of Agriculture did nothing to protect the consumers who purchased these foods.

How can consumers ever trust manufacturers and regulatory authorities if ‘guarantees’ hold no meaning?


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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.




2014 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods.  Click Here



Have you read Buyer Beware?  Click Here

Cooking for pets made easy, Dinner PAWsible

Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here


August 22, 2014

About Author


25 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Failed Guarantee”

  1. Reader says:

    Just to be clear, “guaranteed analysis” refers to minimums, but no maximums correct?

    Which is important for protein standards, but could be a hindrance for declaration of fat, water, etc..

    I am shocked that more random testing hasn’t been done in the past by these agencies. What a sham (and shame).

    • Susan Thixton says:

      With Protein and Fat the Guaranteed Analysis is stated as minimum. With Fiber and Moisture it is stated as maximum.

      • Kathryn says:

        I frequently use a frozen meat product as part of my home prepared meals; I truly wish the requirements were also for a ‘maximum’ amount as well as the ‘minimum’ – the product I refer to is a ground beef w/ bone, in 5# chubs. One chub in the last case I purchased was so fatty that I chose to lightly steam it to try to release some of the fat; not as successful as I would have liked – the stated minimum fat is 6%, that particular chub had to have been at least 25% — it didn’t even LOOK like ground beef.

        if they set standards for minimum, they should set standards for maximum – or at least give the amounts for that product.

        • Susan Thixton says:

          You are so right Kathryn – the Guaranteed Analysis should be just the same it is for human foods which is actual protein, fat, and so on.

  2. Becky says:

    If there are no consequences for mislabeling, why do they even bother to check? It is just another instance of our government failing us as consumers. It seems that at every turn we are deceived and that is ok…just give us your $$.

    • Peter says:

      That’s what I immediately thought… what was the purpose of testing, if there was no expectation of follow-through? Based on percentage, some of the differences are quite significant.

  3. Gitta says:

    Add to that the many pet parents who stick with one brand for long periods of time. We also need to keep in mind, these are just guaranteed minimum levels. Nothing tells us how much above that minimum may be in that food. Consumer Lab frequently finds supplements for human and animal consumption exceeding the labels by quite a bit.

    Why even test if nothing is done about it? The taxpayer pays for the exercise but gets nothing in return?
    They might as well spend our money on fancy ashtrays for the office.

  4. Craig says:

    I’m less concerned with these results than if some listed ingredients had proven to be inaccurate. The GA numbers should not be relied on for much of anything other than to compare general ranges of numbers between foods.

    Since they represent “Crude” measurements they are not an accurate source of reliable information. They tell us nothing about how much of a “Crude” nutrient is actually digestible, or usable, in a particular food.

    Combine the “crude” measurement with the ranges allowed (not more than; not less than) and we’re left with a very general guideline which is not all that helpful.

    Even so, it’s certainly not an excuse to mislead or publish inaccurate information.

  5. Wolf says:

    surprise, surprise…

  6. Marion says:

    Biggest reason I feed a raw diet, all the CRAP (being nice) that is in pet food

  7. terri janson says:

    I’m so sick of being lied to!! I just switched to Orijen which is $75.00 for 28.8 pound bag and I also feed homemade food as well. I HOPE Orijen is what it states it is! Who can be sure????? I wish more people would believe me when I rant about the crap in kibble. They look at me like I’ve lost my cookies. 🙁

    • Leannan says:

      This is what a friend and I found out about Orijen through a Freedom of Information Act request posted online, mind you, Orijen was giving the definite impression, probably even claiming (same as now) to be sourced and made in Canada. Giving it the impression of pristine, humanely raised ingredients.
      We found a manifest from Australia in Dec 2011 (released due to Freedom of Information Act) that shows Champion Pet Foods (makers of Orijen and Acana) used chickens processed in the United States.
      Page 25 Maximize the screen to be able to read it better.
      OMG! You HAVE to READ [at least] page 25. I’d forgotten the words “inedible purposes” were in this manifest.
      Read Page 34, as well. Processed at Griffin Industries KY

    • Leannan says:

      Champion Pet Food is an investment of Bedford Capital (Bedford Fund IV) I tried to buy shares when it came out but it was closed to ‘outside’ investors.
      Stared on Bedford Capital’s website: “Ownership Interest: We prefer to be majority investors. However, we will acquire significant minority interests where we are aligned with management and other shareholders.
      Identifiable exit strategy, typically within 4 to 7 years.”

      For context: Catterton Partners investment in Wellness, and Nature’s Variety.

      I wrote this 3 years ago on a cat food review website, that has since been reformatted. At the time it correctly stated that Wellpet LLC owned Wellness brand, but tried to give it a long, venerable, folksy history by saying was Old Mother Hubbard brand, which Wellness never was.

      leannan • 3 years ago
      Under the heading WHO is WELLNESS MANUFACTURED BY? The answer WellpetLLC is correct.
      WellpetLLC(corporation) makes Wellness(brand) cat food.

      The folksy story of a dog and a biscuit, reflects a distorted focus of a business that existed, independently over 80 years ago. Old Mother Hubbard.

      The Wellness(brand) would not be developed by OMH until the 1990’s. Under direction of then CEO Jim Scott Jr. son of the nutrition professional who had purchased OMH in 1961. Wellness as a brand launched in 1999(dog food), 2000(cat food).

      This is the opening statement in the first paragraph “The company that makes Wellness cat food has a long history dating back to the early 1900″s.” WellpetLLc was established in 2008 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Berwind. In 2008 Berwind acquired OMH/Wellness and merged it with recently acquired Eagle Pack to form Wellpet LLC.

      Berwind now a private investment management company, began operations in 1886 as Berwind-White Coal Mining Company. Berwinds’ website states clearly states their business model and Acquisition Criteria: Acquisition target should be leaders in their niche market.

      Back in 2004 the Scott family had recapitalized OMH retaining partial ownership with Catterton Partners . In 2005 OMH shut its’ doors , laid off over 100 workers and outsourced operations and manufacturing to 11 different locations.

      In 2008 Catterton sold OmH to Berwind for 40 million dollars a 7x profit.

      On February 28th 2011 Wellness quietly issued a voluntary recall of cat food that lacked an essential vitamin thiamine, that cats can not live without. Thiamine(B-1) must be supplied consistently in their food source.

      Due to the voluntary nature of the recall, the FDA was not required to notify the public of the eminent threat to their cats. Consumers where not informed through local media or news outlets.
      • Reply•Share ›

    • Leannan says:

      The only kibble I trusted, and fed while transitioning to canned and then to raw, was Wysong Epigen. 60 and 90.
      As long as chicken sensitivity is not as issue.

  8. Mandy B says:

    Did they find that any pet foods met the guarantees? If so, do they tell us which brands?

  9. WAYNE says:

    What ever happened to the lawsuit against Blue Buffalo?

  10. Andi Brown says:

    Pet food makers are not held to much of any standards. They will sometimes get a “STOP SALE” in a particular area, but it’s easy to make a new small batch of food, get the numbers to read correctly and submit them to the Department of Agriculture. Business as usual. The stop sale is lifted and the pet food company gets to sell through the batch that’s on the shelves. It’s way better and safer and healthier or you to make your own food for the ones you love. Here’s a link to my favorite recipe if you want to make sure your loved ones get the best

  11. Audree says:

    Susan –
    I understand that your point is that the foods that didn’t meet the minimum stated protein when tested and those foods should have been pulled from the shelves, the products should have been recalled, and the consumers should have been notified. However, if you read the report, there are far more dog foods that tested in compliance with the stated protein minimums. The livestock feed results, however, were far less compliant. While no manufacturer should be getting a pass on this, the feed products that failed to meet the stated nutritional percentages that are listed on the report are more concerning. Those are the proteins that are destined for the food chain, both human and pet.

    • Susan Thixton says:

      I agree with you – the livestock feeds were horrible. And sad but true – there is no one advocating for safe livestock feeds. I have tried to get some of the larger human food advocacy groups to go to AAFCO meetings to advocate for safe livestock feeds…so far, no luck.

  12. Lynn Utecht says:

    How do we know the companies who have done the ‘Pledge’ are being truthful also??

    • Susan Thixton says:

      We don’t – but at present time it is the best guarantee we have (we being consumers). We are going to do more however – and soon.

  13. Melissa says:

    Hold up – what are we looking for with calcium? Above, there are two foods with the “found” amount above and below the guarantee, yet both result in Fail.

    Evangers Low Grain Super Premium Dog Food Whitefish & Sweet Potato
    Calcium Guarantee 1.5 – Found 1.94

    K-Mart Corp / Simmons Pet Foods Inc
    Champion Breed Chicken & Beef Dinner for Puppies
    Calcium Guarantee 0.28 – Found 0.24

  14. For the Pets says:

    Interesting yet sickening article. Yet again, another example of putting profit over pet(sumers). Has a complaint been filed yet, or even a notice for that matter?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

100% Supported by Consumers

This website and the advocacy work of Susan Thixton is

100% Consumer supported.

For Consumers
Susan Thixton author of this website is one of four pet food safety advocates.

Susan Thixton, Dr. Cathy Alinovi, Mollie Morrissette and Dr. Jean Hofve.

Each of the above has worked diligently to establish a working relationship with FDA and have advisory positions on AAFCO committees representing pet food consumers. We are working to give you a voice.
Support Independent Pet Food Stores
Click Here to find a store in your state.
Susan Thixton's author is a founding partner of the international pet food consumer association - Association for Truth in Pet Food. Through our consumer association, Susan has advisory position to AAFCO's Pet Food Committee and Ingredient Definitions Committee.