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How did this product ever get onto the market?


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  1. Mirsades McIver

    Was this a specific product or was he talking about all semi-moist items?? Didn’t see a name for the pet food(s) he was talking about.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The questions were regarding a specific product (Alpo Meal Helper) but my point was that it applies to so many pet foods.

  2. Pat Scott

    It’s simple, it’s on the market because the FDA is bought and paid for by the pet food industry and an assortment of other lobbyists!

  3. Reader

    H_S !!!

    Some poor animal is being fed 18% of its protein requirement with a by-product, 2 x soy, 2 x corn syrup, wheat, fat, 2 x flavoring, 2 x dye, AND ethoxyquin (a carcinogen). This should be a classroom lesson illustrating the exact opposite of what a pet should eat.

    Guaranteed Analysis
    Crude Protein (Min) 18.0%, Crude Fat (Min) 5.0%, Crude Fiber (Max) 4.0%, Moisture (Max) 33.0%

    Meat by-products, soy flour, soy grits, high fructose corn syrup, wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols, corn syrup, water, beef, calcium carbonate, phosphoric acid, salt, sorbic acid (a preservative), natural porterhouse steak flavor, natural prime rib steak flavor, calcium propionate (a preservative), soybean oil, DL-Methionine, zinc sulfate, Red 40, ferrous sulfate, ethoxyquin (a preservative), Vitamin E supplement, manganese sulfate, niacin, Yellow 5, Blue 2, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. A-5048

    Manufactured by: Nestlé Purina PetCare Company, St. Louis, MO 63164 USA
    Purina ALPO Meal Helpers Porterhouse & Prime Rib Flavors is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the AAFCO Dog Food Nutrient Profiles for maintenance of adult dogs.

    “Alpo Meat Helper” – there are rules about how a PF can be identified, and I don’t remember the hierarchy here. But what in the world is a pet food meat HELPER? Is that supposed to be the equivalent of “Hamburger Helper” meaning it’s all starch and the consumer adds the meat??

    And AAFCO calls THIS is a complete and balanced meal.

    Just shameful, how can these people sleep at night.

  4. Ms. B Dawson

    It’s time for the next dominate species to take over.

    How much longer must people be told what constitutes a bad diet – for humans or their animals? I do believe that the regulatory agencies are ineffective and biased, but consumers need to get their heads screwed on straight.

    This consumer suspected it might be the food, even when her vet was stumped. One – just ONE – simple google search, something along the lines of “pet food and skin disease”, would have turned up millions of hits worth of information. Just skimming the headlines would have confirmed that, while there is disagreement, many researchers believe there is a correlation. You don’t even have to read any of the articles to get the gist. Instead, this consumer looked for someone with a title and degree to tell him/her what s/he already knew. It would have been a simple matter to do a little reading and then change that Collie’s diet to see if the skin disease resolved. I suspect this person was afraid. Afraid to spend money and time to experiment and afraid they might make the situation worse. This fear comes from the ever increasing idea that “I’m not smart enough” and someone else can solve the problem.

    Growing up, if I asked my parents how to spell a word they would tell me to go look it up. That way, they said, I’d learn more than if they just gave me the answer. I once had an anatomy & physiology teacher warn the class that if we whined “is this going to be on the test” his answer would always be “yes” because we shouldn’t ever stop learning. Today, people just want someone to tell them what to do, how to do it and when to do it. Give them that 15 second sound byte that will solve their problem. Unfortunately, they seem incapable of assembling all those little bits of information into a knowledge base that exceeds the individual facts.

    We as individuals must do better. Engage your brains, put two and two together for yourselves. Relying on others for our answers only gives manufacturers and marketing companies more power over our lives. Even those we consider “authorities”, I’m sad to say, have agendas that shade their advice which means you mustn’t take things at face value. We live in an age when Whole Foods teams up with Monsanto, FDA hides evidence of pet food contamination (for years!) and our government cares more about re-election than doing what’s right. In that environment, why would you not question everything?

    Thank doG we have people like Dr. Fox, Dr. Alinovi and Susan to answer questions when people are this clueless. The problem is the same questions are being asked over and over again. How can there be anyone who hasn’t heard the answers, doesn’t know that diet matters or can’t understand that cheap food comes with the price of poor quality? We are a society awash in information and desperately short on commonsense.

    And don’t tell me folks don’t have the time to do any of their own research. Put down the Pokemon Go and do something useful with your time. It is your responsibility to take care of yourself and those who look to you for their well being.

    But that’s just my opinion, I could be wrong.

  5. M.Lynch

    Unfortunately the bar isn’t going to raise itself, consumers have to become aware ‘and’ active. Most trust the FDA and AAFCO to watch out for our welfare, and our pets’ welfare. If you look closely at what they do (and don’t do) it’s a real eye opener to “get” that neither of those agencies are particularly consumer friendly.

    1. Dianne & pets

      This is the kind of thing that scares me most about trade pact. Every speech I have heard talks about making standards uniform, thus making it easier for businesses to do business. They never ever say if the bar will be lowered or raised.

  6. Pet Owner

    Thank you B. Dawson for good comments. Love the Pokemon reference. [Proudly never having been a Video Gamer] I laugh at watching another electronic addiction. “Oh but the game gets players outside and moving!” Except they’re falling off cliffs, stomping on gravesites, and turning into nightmarish pedestrians! Still it’s all the rage, like many trends we see in the marketplace.

    Okay, so how can there be anybody left who doesn’t know that diet matters?

    From the experience shared, your habit is to be informed. I’m gluten-sensitive and forced to read labels. Every time for every thing because products change. But some people NEVER read labels. I’ve shopped with them. They don’t know what corn syrup means. Throw a product into the cart, and it gets bagged! I belong to an HMO. Very sad to see the state of patients waiting for another prescription! Some folks don’t WANT to know that well-being can be helped by food choices and exercise. And at some point it becomes too late because their health collapses. Unless there’s a crisis that forces change!

    That’s what’s happening with our pets. (Unless it’s a rescue) most Owners start out with a young, vibrant, healthy pet! They seem invincible. So if somebody doesn’t know better, why would they question Dog Food …. it’s nutrition made for a dog! [We do know why.] But too many don’t know, what they don’t know.

    I’ve said way too many times before, the education of PF and the PFI is a University Level Course! It’s a journey. Matched by personal experience and trial and error. But the most important thing to keep in mind, is that the problem is everything else BUT simple to fix. For every strategy proposed (like redirecting Consumers) there is hurdle. Like millions of Owners, and Pets who handle foods differently, over 4,000 products, amateur opinions, the drive of advertising, intentional deceit, profit making, production mistakes, no third party oversight, the protection of politics. AND just about everything else in between that can be imagined …. EXCEPT …. the best welfare of pets!

    It’s just criminal (and you what) it really is!

    So when an Owner reaches for that innocent box of “Dog Chow” what do you think it means. Number one, that it just couldn’t be possible that anyone would want to harm the companion they love so much. So we who ARE informed, have responsibility. We may not like it. Rebel against it. Or even not have time for it. But to do less, puts us in the same category as professionals who are finding excuses for own their behavior too. This is a society of excuse makers.

    To change governance policies, political campaigning is required. To teach Consumers, honest websites have to increase and be promoted. To message manufacturers, boycotts have to be coordinated. To broadcast unethical behavior, Social Media has to ramp up. To push through every obstacle, Consumers have to voice opposition. Like one more signature on a petition. Calling a manufacturer and broadcasting the responses. Printing out a TAPF flyer like and giving it to a new pet owner, or sharing at the Vet Office, or handing it to a buyer stuck in the PF aisle.

    Forget that there’s going to be push-back. WHO CARES! Just be the catalyst to catch the next PFI Believer. And break that addiction to false advertising. Do it for the sake of a pet. Who has no other voice!

    I know B. Dawson is already doing her part. These comments are offered for the benefit of anyone who wishes to do more!

    1. Ms. B Dawson

      I appreciate your comments. I know that I’m hard on consumers, but there’s a reason for it.

      Here’s a little of my background: I owned a holistic pet supply in Ojai, CA for 10 years. I and my staff daily repeated the mantra of what is an acceptable diet for dogs and cats to customers who ranged from health fanatics to people who had never heard of 3D meat. I attended SuperZoo every year and spent time with pet food companies questioning their formulas, encouraging them to do better because I saw a market for it. I was a frequent guest speaker at breed groups, civic organizations and herbal gatherings – my usual talks: “The Myth-conceptions of Animal Nutrition” and “Give Your Pet A Raw Deal”.

      I started my herbal/nutritional practice for animals in 1992 in NH, but my teachers and mentors had been talking about the same thing for decades. Juliette de Bairacly Levi, my main mentor, started writing books in the 1950’s about her Natural Rearing Diet (TM). Dr. Pottenger did a ten year study between 1932-1942 and published his results in “Pottenger’s Cats”, considered a classic. Wendy Volhard has been at it since the 70’s. Ann Martin published “Foods Pets Die For” back in the 90’s. The list is really quite long. My point is what makes healthy pets is neither new information nor rocket science.

      This information is out there for anyone who wants to find it.

      Yes, we each can have impacts on individuals we encounter each day, that was the premise of my business. The problem is, I learned, you can’t want something for someone more than they want it for themselves. Consumers change because of adversity – a pet runs up huge vet bills or dies. But too often their response is to blame someone else. “That pet food shouldn’t have been on the market”….”the government should regulate that”…*someone should do something about that*.

      You would think the Great Pet Food Recall of 2007 would have shaken to the core not just the industry but pet owners collectively. I was in business during that and dealt with frantic people worried their pets would die. My sales went through the roof with people switching to non-recalled foods. Within a year, it all quieted down and went back to business as usual. The industry now does a little more testing but then conceals the results or refuses to cooperate with FDA – and is allowed to get away with it. Consumers continue to justify why they feed crap food – people on this very site have excused their use of Purina and Fancy Feast. Aside from shelters and rescuers, I can think of no excuse that is acceptable.

      Susan Thixton is to be celebrated for her exhaustive and unyielding campaign to make animal nutrition better. But aside from her, where are the high profile social media campaigns, the politicking, the exposure of unethical behavior? Orchestrating things like that takes time.

      People want, as I said before, someone of “authority” to give them a quick, easy and inexpensive solution. Those campaigns also take MONEY. Purina, et al are huge corps that can fund themselves plus they have the added support of the well-oiled industry machine. Where are the natural products trade groups? Oh, yeah, they already have a wide battlefield and are themselves under funded. The last things those campaign need is connections – high profile people who will stand up and be counted. One documentary by Morgan Spurlock and McDonald’s stopped offering a “SuperSize Me” option.

  7. Cheryl Bond

    Reading this article, once again, has made me sick of what these greedy corporations and gov’t agencies are allowing, that are making pets needlessly suffer. It is truly maddening & I know everyone here that supports this site feels the same!

    As I read many of the comments here, I was responding (to myself) YES! YES! YES! Every comment was so well stated, that I really don’t need to add anything more, except voice my continued frustration to people who understand…(so I dont spontaneously explode from anger… Lol)

    Like “Pet owner” stated, we all need to “do our part” to get the word out! The spreading of educational information at any given opportunity opens up the possibility for yet another person to become enlightened, to question, to get educated & in turn, continue the cycle to “pay it forward”. I know that we all here just wish it could happen at a much faster rate, knowing how many animal lives are senselessly ruined because of inferior feed ingredients!

  8. Jude

    How much of Dr. Fox’s post can ethically be reposted on social media and not be subject to restrictions by the Washington Post? And can Ms B. Dawson’s comments be reposted with it?

    Is it possible for all this to be posted to the Bangor Daily News, Bangor, Maine, by Dawson?


    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Hi Jude – I don’t know if there are restrictions on this. Dr. Fox’s column is a syndicated newspaper column – in many newspapers around the country. It is public information. And any comments posted here are public information as well. Perhaps if Bangor Daily News gives credit to the original post (Dr. Fox’s) and anywhere in social media giving the same credits – my guess is that it would be fine.

  9. Jude

    Perhaps “ethically” should be changed to “legally.”

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