Advertising is big business in pet food. The question is, are pet food commercials misleading when the whole story is explained?
This Science Diet commercial is using a veterinarian to pitch its message; Dr. Christine McCully DVM. The commercial states Science Diet pet foods are “guaranteed to have 100% of what pets need” and “0% of what pets don’t” need. The commercial states Science Diet pet foods are “100% precisely balanced”.
First, let’s look at the statement made in the commercial ‘guaranteed to have 100% of what pets need and 0% of what pets don’t need. Here are the ingredients of one Science Diet pet food…
Adult Advanced Fitness Lamb Meal & Rice Recipe
Lamb Meal, Brewers Rice, Brown Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Whole Grain Wheat, Whole Grain Sorghum, Animal Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Cracked Pearled Barley, Chicken Liver Flavor, Flaxseed, Lactic Acid, Dried Beet Pulp, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Iodized Salt, L-Lysine, Choline Chloride, vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Niacin Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Tryptophan, Mixed Tocopherols added to retain freshness, Citric Acid added to retain freshness, L-Threonine, Phosphoric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.
Do pets need – are they guaranteed to need brewers rice? A leftover fragment of grain? Do pets need – are they guaranteed to need corn gluten meal sourced from genetically modified corn that is prone to deadly mold? And do pets need – are they guaranteed to need animal fat, an ingredient FDA determined to be likely to contain a euthanized animal?
Perhaps the Science Diet guarantee applies to the “100% precisely balanced” statement made in the commercial. Problem. There is NO “precise” in pet food nutrition. None. Pet foods are required to meet a minimum amount of protein and fat, but there is NO maximum established, there is NO precise established. Many nutrients required in pet foods have the same minimum standard with no maximum or precise established.
Question: Is this pet food commercial misleading to the unknowing pet food consumer?
This commercial seems to gives viewers (pet food consumers) that ‘natural’ feeling, showing a beautiful Golden Retriever out in the field, farm life including the red barn, and states “natural formulas”. The Nutro commercial states “chicken” is the first ingredient in their ‘natural formulas’ and states the chicken has been farm raised. The commercial shows chickens wandering around out in the sun in a big field.
So, I asked Nutro if this ‘farm raised’ statement could mean factory farming (poultry raised indoors in crowded conditions, never seeing light of day – nothing similar to what is portrayed in this pet food commercial). A phone call to Nutro customer service told me ‘farm raised chicken’ is a poultry certification of FDA and USDA that requires the chickens have access to sunlight each day. However, a search of the USDA and FDA website found no legal definition of “farm raised chicken”. To the contrary of what I was told by the Nutro customer service representative, USDA defines “free range” or “free roaming” as poultry that has access to the outside – NOT “farm raised”. The National Chicken Council states “Farm-Raised” chicken as “All chickens are raised on farms. So any chicken could be labeled “farm-raised.”
Question: Is this pet food commercial misleading pet food consumers?
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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