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Feed Grade means You must Trust

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  1. Chris Javier

    Great write up and very informative, thank you for sharing, keep up the great work, we all appreciate the help.

  2. Jane

    The advice to trust the label rather than the website is such useful information! I recently noticed that the “certified organic” (according to the website) cat food we were using no longer said “certified organic” on the can. When I checked the certifiers website, it said that their organic certification had been suspended last August! I probably wouldn’t have thought to check the can if you hadn’t mentioned it in an earlier post. Thanks for the heads up on this!

  3. T Allen

    Is it possible to get a list of independent retailers who do “a lot of research” into the brands they sell? People would donate to get that list! Or know what foods are on that list…

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      That would be close to impossible to put together – even for one state it would be very difficult, never the less for the whole country. Contacting each one – would take months. Sorry – can’t do it.

    2. Reader

      Well what people would really pay for, is a list showing who manufactures what. At this point, it certainly seems to be a weak link in the chain of custody.

      A very long time ago, Susan had a program where IPS retailers were invited to join TAPF to be featured for their integrity. But there either wasn’t enough time to continue the idea, or not enough interest.

  4. Laurie Raymond

    T. Allen, I’m one of those independent retailers who does tons of research. I wish I could tell you it is possible to find out everything important to safety and wholesomeness by being persistent and knowing what you are looking for, but it is not. One of the almost inadvertent revelations after the Evangers debacle was the name of the company that supplied its “beef” for the product, which was actually euthanized horse meat. That gave Susan the opportunity to research that company – Bailey Farms – and discover that on the same premises but under another business name it operated a local farm carcass pick up service. Bailey Farms represents a nearly invisible layer of pet food manufacturing. I have attempted to get the actual names of meat brokers and wholesalers of meat and by products which supply the companies whose brands I carry. It is next to impossible. Of the kibble makers, only Open Farm has opened up their entire supply chain in a way that permits research. Companies that will tell you the name of the farms where the animal ingredients were raised will NOT reveal the direct supplier. In the frozen raw realm, Vital Essentials is the one most transparent, and that is because they own the slaughter house and all the processing equipment from live animal to package. I am not convinced I will NOT be able to ultimately obtain this information, but it would sure help if manufacturers were inundated with demands for transparency here, from consumers and retailers. The invisible layer – brokers and wholesalers – are companies with reputations and are entirely investigatable, once you know who they are. Why this should be such a closely guarded secret I cannot imagine – unless there is a lot of carelessness and substitution of inferior quality product where it will not be caught. Companies say “Oh, no, that’s proprietary!” Why should it be? Or they try to dazzle you with meaningless jargon. One told me their facilities were all “category 3 – the highest category of meat processor.” Just Google that and you find NO mention of such a thing. I tell all my customers to learn to make nutritious meals for their pets from fresh, whole ingredients, and if they have to use kibble or canned, to rely on it as little as possible. I spend a lot of time teaching folks how. The industry is riddled with secrecy, deception and corruption to such an extent that I don’t believe it is possible today to get all the salient facts about any manufactured pet food, except for a few. Until that changes, we need to learn how to feed our animals as we feed ourselves.

    1. Reader

      Laurie, you’re really to be commended for doing the kind of research you do, and never giving up! I think we discussed here (a long time ago) that companies using the excuse of proprietary might not be intended to keep the consumer in the dark, as much as to guard their access to sourcing inside the industry. (Not that I’m defending them either). One thing we don’t know is the ratio of “top tier” (more trustworthy to not) of providers available. And companies wishing to protect themselves in the marketplace, may have tapped out these “best” providers. Leaving other companies in a weaker position. It could also be the preference of the providers (with solid contractual obligations) to dedicate their services for especially for the right price.

      We’ve kind of found over the years not much really happens to “intentionally” benefit the consumer in favor of the manufacturer. Otherwise companies would be very proud to boast of their competitive edge and assurances. Indeed such information could be great marketing and sales tools. But we’re never allowed to (as you point out) see behind the curtain.

      I am very glad to hear what you say about Vital Essentials. With the recent revelations about questionable product quality, I was getting a little nervous (again) about using raw. Even though I try to rotate different ways of feeding my dog. But you’ve really added to my confidence in VE. Their dedication to sourcing and manufacturing is important, because VE is one of the most bioavailable. And by the way, VE facilitates speaking engagements along with a nutritional expert in Independent Pet Supply stores (where I met the Rep.). And it was a very effective educational presentation.

      Again – thank you for all the effort you put into your work. The only thing I would suggest (with a smiley face) is to break up your text into a couple of paragraphs for easier reading! Wink!

      1. Erica Sanz-Johnson

        Its so nerve racking for me to even trust what the label says!! Didn’t the Evangers food that had euthanized horse meat in it say “Human Grade” on the lables? 🙁 Please ,Correct me if I’m wrong

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Evanger’s did not say human grade on their labels, they did on their website.

    2. Peter

      And a significant issue is that of “least cost mix” protocols, which dictate the pet food company continuously evaluating global sourcing metrics for ingredients, and then, changing suppliers and/or specific ingredients. Even if information was available, it may quickly become “obsolete” and meaningless…

  5. Erica Sanz-Johnson

    Excuse my ignorance,I hope you can help me to understand : Since, Some feed grade pet foods source 100% human edible ingredients and those ingredients are safely transported and warehoused under clean, refrigerated conditions. how would these ingredients be different then “human grade”? Thank you!!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      100% human edible ingredients transported under clean, refrigerated conditions are the same has human grade – the difference would be manufacturing. Unless a pet food is made in a human food manufacturing plant under Good Manufacturing Practices of human food, it still is feed grade. All requirements of the legal definition of human grade must be met.

      1. Erica Sanz-Johnson

        Thank you. So Human Edible and Human Grade are the same correct? Any thing that’s not manufactured under Good Manufacturing Practices of human food are still feed grade and there for we are at the mercy of the pet food manufacturer to use fresh healthy whole foods correct?

        1. Susan Thixton Author

          Yes – human grade ingredients and human edible ingredients are the same. And yes, any pet food that doesn’t meet the full legal definition of a human grade pet food (human grade/edible ingredients, warehoused/transported according to human food law, manufactured under human food law) – we are forced to trust they have used fresh healthy ingredients, warehoused/transported those ingredients under proper/safe conditions, and manufactured the pet food under proper/safe conditions.

  6. Anonymous

    Unfortunately most manufacturers do not register their food in every state. While it is required, it is often not done. So even though a “human grade” claim is subject to scrutiny, that only happens if a manufacturer submits the label.
    Worse, the states do not know how to scrutinize the “human grade” claims. Each state asks for different evidence – some care a lot and go all the way back to speaking to the actual facility where the food is made, and others just say the label looks great without asking anything about the claim (even though specific evidence should be requested.

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