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Pet Food Fraud Again

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  1. Peter

    Consumers ought to be able to RELY on labeling, particularly as it may be important to them with respect to potential allergies that their pets are sensitive to. This issue gets a lot of attention for “people food.”

  2. Andrea

    What were brands were the dog foods that contained undeclared ingredients?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      We don’t know. In most University studies like this, they do not release the names of the products tested. Unfortunate for consumers.

      1. Donna

        Gosh, wish the government had done the testing – then we could request FOIA for the brands.

      2. Gayze

        Sigh. Agreed: What good does it do pet-parents like us to spend our money running these studies and not tell us what brands are lying to us?

        Perhaps we should find a way to speak up and demand identification of the offending brands. If pet food companies realize they may be unmasked in a study like this, they would be more likely to treat us and our animals with a bit more honest respect.

  3. Jo

    It’s great that Chapman performed this study, but what good does it do the public–and more importantly, our animals–when they don’t publish the names of the foods tested? As you alluded to, there’s not much the FDA can (or will) do with Chapman’s findings given no product names provided. Most frustrating.

  4. Lynn

    “potential mislabeling”

    It sounds like this is not “potential” mislabeling. It IS mislabeling. The only question is whether it is intentional or not. Of course we know the answer to that but, come on! They proved mislabeling. They just can’t prove intent.

    I wonder if they checked the unidentified DNA to canine and feline DNA? Maybe no one wanted to go there……

    1. Sherry Scalise

      That’s exactly what I think!!

    2. Laura

      Or it could have just been venison or one of the myriad speces of seafood that gets put into animal food. I don’t know why they chose to test for goat or goose when those seem so rare compared to other protein sources. And yes, I also wish whoever wrote that had the guts to just come out and say that the labels ARE misleading.

    3. edna

      I agree, unidentified protein is probably euthanized pets from kill shelters or possibly road skunk possum racoon etc.

  5. Wolf

    This is why the testing TAPF is doing is so very important. Transparency! Once these results are in, the info (along with specifics of brand, flavor, etc) WILL be released, if I am not mistaken. Released to the public, the FDA, the whole d*&% world.

    Maybe THAT will inspire some accountability!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Oh yes. Consumers paid for our testing and consumers will be provided the full testing results.

      1. Hope Williams

        Susan, I wish you were correct but what makes you think the “full testing results” assuming with brand names and formulas tested will be released?

      2. Valerie

        yes – these dang pet food companies have it coming – they need to be exposed, so everyone will know exactly what they’ve been putting in the food. The FDA HAS to have its feet held to the fire, there should be sanctions, punishments, etc. It is long past time that the FDA should just turn its head and ignore the crap pet food manufactures are shoveling down the throats of our poor pets. Maybe we can force some accountibility – force them to do what is right. I have my doubts…

  6. Hannie

    I know all about “mislabeling” altho I would choose to call it something else…….my Lab is allergic to just about everything in dry food so I have to feed grain free or limited ingredient (along w/my good home cooking). One brand I used for eons until they sold out. All of a sudden she could no longer eat this dry food w/o going into scratching fits. So I called the new owners & asked what they had changed that was not listed on the label. Absolutely nothing, they claim they have not changed the ingredients in this dry food. Excuse me? My dog’s body tells me something different. This has happened to me before so I know the labels are not always honest about what’s inside the bag…….scary about the possibility of adding a little diseased pig to dry food. Add that to mad cow so we no longer need to wonder why dogs don’t live very long…….

  7. Jeanne

    This is the very reason I feed raw meat to my dogs,at least you know what it is!

    1. Sharon Norris

      I don’t trust any of them any more. I have 5 grown kitties and they are getting people food. I give them some kibble called Young Again. Pricey stuff but hopefully okay. It seems that with every canned of cat food, one of them is throwing up. Almost $2.00 for 5 oz can and it ends up in the trash.
      I don’t have the problem so much with dog food but I assume if something makes the cats sick in their food then dog food must be just as bad. I spend a lot of time cooking for them but they don’t get any food that I wouldn’t feel safe eating.
      I use freeze dried raw from a couple of places as my back up–and make sure it is people quality.

    2. Cora Vandekar

      I agree Hannie, I wouldn’t call it mislabeling either. They know what they are doing and don’t give a damn..

  8. Beverly Miller

    This ‘report’ is absurd! Ms. Thixton, do you realize a report like this reflects upon your credibility. It is hearsay and completely useless to pet owners. I for one will unsubscribe from your NON-REPORTS. Folks, you can get REAL and RELIABLE information from two sources that I have consulted for a long time. One is a magazine, “The Whole Dog Journal” and the other is a website, “Dog Food Adviser”. If I could I would cook for my dogs. I have two pugs and unfortunately one is allergic to almost everything and the other has a genetic liver condition that requires prescription food.

    Good luck everyone. There is a lot of work needed in the world of animals. I pray more of us will contribute in any way we can so that progress will continue for our beloved pets and all innocent and voiceless creatures.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Absurd? I bed to differ. This is a University study – it is not hearsay.

    2. T Allen

      “If I could I would cook for my dogs. I have two pugs and unfortunately one is allergic to almost everything and the other has a genetic liver condition THAT REQUIRES PRESCRIPTION FOOD.” My caps added. I suspect a troll…

      1. Ellie

        Could be a troll. It seems they turn up every where people talk about healthy alternatives to processed junk food for dogs.
        There are a few online dog forums where the trolls hang out and pounce on anyone that suggests raw or home cooking for pet owners.

    3. Mike L

      @ beverly miller

      Ummm .. huh? You wrote:

      “I pray more of us will contribute in any way we can so that progress will continue for our beloved pets and all innocent and voiceless creatures.”

      And so by sharing with us some exerts of key points from the ELISA Technologies and Chapman University studies, Ms. Thixton has failed to aid the progress that you appear to passionately plead for? Have I got that correct ms. miller? I’m just confused. Are you arguing that the information Ms. Thixton has provided is useless information? Really?

      Hmmm .. well each to her/his own but I have to ask – in which ways have you provided equal or superior information to this or any other public effort/publication/blog/forum etc…? That’s not a challenge, honest, it is however in response to your implication that you are active in the movement to improve the plight of, as you put it, “our beloved pets and all innocent and voiceless creatures.” I mean, you do state “us” in your plea and that implies that you have a very real presence actively aiding in the “progress”.

      You make a very bold statement about Ms. Thixton and her efforts and imply that you are actively participating in the “progress” so please, share with us your knowledge and information. Where can we read/listen to/watch the valuable input you have shared? That is not a challenge, it is a genuine request from one eager to learn.

      My thanks in advance,

    4. Janine

      “If I could I would cook for my dogs. I have two pugs and unfortunately one is allergic to almost everything and the other has a genetic liver condition that requires prescription food.”

      What a crock. Every knowledgeable veterinarian knows about or They provide vet’s clients with recipes to make homemade food for pets with diseases (or healthy ones). Your vet, if you have one, would have told you about this if you had advised him that you were interested in home cooking. Either you just don’t want to do the work or you work for a pet food company. As for Susan reporting on this, if you love your pets and are concerned with what they eat, why wouldn’t you be interested in this? I know that I am!

  9. Donna

    The next time someone does testing like this, I hate to say it, but they should test for dog. I’ve seen more than one article about how euthanized pets are being rerouted back into pet food. Nowadays, the only way we have of knowing what our pets are eating is by making it ourselves and this just may finally push me over the edge…

  10. Syl

    I don’t like being lied to by the pet food companies as in the last 7 – 10 years some pretty horrible things have gone on that have killed thousands of our beloved furry family members.

    I wish this study would also post a list of those foods affected by this kind of mislabeling so that we, as the consumer, can make a good decision as to whether we want to continue to use these products.

    1. Reader

      I realize that some comments end up posting simultaneously. However, unless Susan has approved all at them at one sitting, there was nearly an hour and a half difference between this question already asked and answered. Out of RESPECT for the people who take the time to participate in the discussion, please take a moment to scan the effort and reduce multiple inquires. Sometimes just as much can be learned from peoples’ experiences and suggestions as with the article itself.

      Thank you.

  11. Hope Williams

    Susan: do you have information as to who funded Chapman’s study? As you and many others know, the funder of studies may be out to create controversy–for whatever reasons. Since the name of the foods can’t be released I’m suspect of the study’s intentions. It’s good that information like this is released but it is bare of critical facts. Without the critical facts both confusion and mistrust is raised for the consumer towards all pet products given the absolute unknowns here.

    I don’t doubt that this problem/practice exists on the parts of manufacturers, especially those that consider recalls and potential deaths of animals just a part of doing business to make big money. I am also reminded of one of the shocking reveals for me from the huge 2007 pet food can recall. And that being that manufacturers can resell their recalled pet food products for pennies on the dollar to fish farmers, pig farmers and the like with the approval of the FDA. The logic of FDA’s decision is that the animals eating recalled products are a “small” part of the overall diet of the consumer. Bottom line for me is that as long as the FDA authorizes this type of corporate behavior prioritizing money over health I can’t see them considering the logic and need of what you so dearly and intelligently put forth as important to pets and their human families.

    I’m pleased to know about this issue but continue to be appalled at the manipulative behavior of the corporations that we allow to run our lives.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Good point Hope – I will see what I can find out.

  12. Alison

    I really hate articles like this. No specific foods are listed driving the consumer nuts with worry that the food they’ve chosen is crap but,,, we can never be sure!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Don’t shoot the messenger.

  13. Amee R.

    This is…disturbing, to say the least! My late, Sweet, little, Brown-Alley-Mutt was allergic to EVERYTHING. One of her main triggers was pork. When we had her, we did what we could, there were NO alternatives for her 1st back when ago but ONE (a vegetarian soy protein kibble). I’m fairly certain she wasn’t the only dog to ever have a pork allergy, don’t they realize? Don’t they care? We didn’t know at the time (about 15 years ago) that we could cook for her:-( The fact that these companies slyly, yet brazenly (seemingly haphazardly) compose “food” for our loved ones is: horrific, disappointing, disgraceful and, above all, ILLEGAL! What do we have to do to get the FDA and AAFCO to do their stinking jobs?! I realize this comment is anecdotal and at best, unprofessional. Sorry, I’m just MAD and had to vent! I don’t know how you don’t lose your mind on a regular basis, Susan. Thank you…

    1. Beverly Miller

      I am not replying directly to Amee’s post. Rather, am mystified about my post at 4:41 this afternoon is still awaiting moderation???

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        My apologies Beverly. I had appointments away from my computer this evening. My daughter was in charge of approving comments. Your original comment at 4:41 this afternoon was mean…rude – and my daughter was hesitant on approving it. But you are approved now.

        1. T Allen

          Good head on your daughter! Thanks for all you do!

          1. Susan Thixton Author

            Thank you.

    2. Janine

      “Don’t they care?”

      No, they don’t. Just like the food companies don’t care about us. All they care about are profits. I was watching a show recently and there was a guy on there who worked behind the scenes for food companies but has since stopped and written a book about it (Fat Profits). I haven’t read it yet though. If the food companies don’t care about humans, then it’s to be expected that a lot of pet food companies don’t care about our pets. Sad but true.

  14. Pet Owner

    TO: Andrea, Gayze, Jo, Beverly Miller, Syl, Fabienne Lawrence, and Alison !!!!

    Hope Williams’s observation is well taken. WHO funded the study and why? Susan can only report so much, tho she may decide to ask this question. Why don’t each of you CONTACT Chapman University in writing and request to know which PFs were mislabeled? Reason, this confusion affects the health of your pet. In many cases as stated above, pets have serious allergies. How can you know which foods to use or not, unless you know the contents? If your pet had a life threatening reaction, this could be a serious matter, and the QUESTION IS, does Chapman University want to be in part responsible for affecting the safety of certain pets? Point this out in your letter! Maybe they can release the names on an individual basis, try asking. But as many times as this question has been asked on the website, Susan would (if she could) supply you with all the necessary information possible.

    If this School got six individual letters maybe they’d realize the impact and concern on the part of Pet Owners. So let’s try being just a little more active as would our Association to the Truth in Pet Food identify us, or imply about us … at least, in terms of being in support of all of Susan’s continual research effort!

    ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
    “In September 2014, Chapman University in southern California released the results of their study finding “Of the 52 products tested, 31 were labeled correctly, 20 were potentially mislabeled, and one contained a non-specific meat ingredient that could not be verified.”

  15. Regina

    I wonder if Chapman University didn’t (couldn’t) release the brands involved because the study was some sort of double-blind, where they were unable to identify the products once they were put into the study?

    I used to work in a lab, and “double-blind” is one way of avoiding any potential bias in looking at the data.

    That being said, the fact that so many brands were not labeled honestly (“potentially” mislabeled, HA!), really bothers me. I’ve got a lot of allergies, and I fully understand the need to be properly informed as to what is in something. I will tell you, this is just further proof to me that some people (correction, “money-hungry, profit-driven) entities cannot see beyond how something affects themselves, and don’t give a flying fig about anyone else and how they might be affected by something they themselves see as trivial.

    Allergies can be life-threatening. I am not trying to minimize the “itchy skin” allergies, lord knows, I hate itching worse than pain, but for me, there’s stuff out there that can kill me. Sadly, the same can be said for our furry family members also. I truly believe that unless someone actually has personal experience with an allergy situation, they cannot fully grasp the importance of avoiding certain things. Sadly, big corporations that are just concerned with profits have lost sight of the importance of honesty and integrity. Oh, and the love we have for our furry family members!!!

    Then they wonder why we don’t trust them????

    1. Peter

      Regina, your analysis is correct, allergies can be life threatening. And so can, after long-term use, the remedies (medicines) we must often resort to using, when there may be no choice in an extreme moment.
      Long-term exposure to allergens can lead to a myriad of disease or disabilities, even when the initial reaction– often “itchy skin” as you say– can seem somewhat minor. I share your anger. I have cats with allergies, one, who has developed chronic bronchitis as a hyper-reaction to an allergen. But even while treating that, in one single event, he scratched large wounds from his face, with no advance warning. All this has been frightening, confusing, and consumed funds that would surely have covered the cost of a good used car, in just this past summer. And what would I have done, had I not had access to “funds” in the heat of emergency? That problem confronts many pet guardians every day. This is more than “mistake,” “error” or even “mislabeling” to me. It is a matter of public urgency, a matter of violation of law, and very disturbing. But as we’ve learned on TAPF, those charged with “administering” the provisions of federal law, very generally refuse to do so, as it relates to pet foods.

      1. Regina

        Yes, Peter, I also have had issues with “long-term” exposure making both the reaction worse, and the medicines causing issues.

        I lost a great job that I loved because I was exposed to perfumes that irritated my asthma. But, because I loved the job, I tried to stay with the job, having three fans blowing the irritants back out of my cubicle, but my exposure just got so bad that now, I’m reduced to gasping for air with very little exposure. I wound up in the hospital, and just couldn’t go back to the job. I realized it would kill me. Oh, but the other people there had no comprehension of the difficulties I was having. Nobody else was “complaining” about not being able to breathe, so it was just me against them, and since I was being unreasonable by asking people to stop using certain scented products. I wasn’t trying to ban all perfumes, just certain ones that caused me extreme breathing difficulties.

        The one perfume-wearer’s husband actually died recently from some sort of cancer, and I can’t help wondering if him inhaling those chemicals didn’t have something to do with it.

        And as for long-term use, I had a friend whose vet put her dog on allergy shots, plus daily benadryl and prednisone, and special shampoo because of the “skin condition”. When I’ve been put on prednisone for my breathing, it’s something that doctors don’t want you on for any extended period of time, because that will cause other problems. But, the vet was perfectly fine with the dog getting it for the rest of her life!!! That just showed that some vets have no knowledge about pet foods, and the fact that so many pets are allergic to a lot of the ingredients in the low-cost pet foods out there.

        I begged my friend to change the pet’s food, but she just couldn’t see past the price on the bag. I finally just bought her the better food because I was so concerned for her dog. To me, itching is worse than pain, it’s so uncomfortable. It’s kinda sad that I was more concerned about her dog than she was . . . It’s sad that sometimes, unless people actually experience something themselves, they have no comprehension of how miserable the situation is.

        These purely-profit-driven pet feed makers have no compassion for our furry family members. I will never trust them. I will trust the smaller pet food companies that got into making pet foods for the love of pets, but the minute they are bought out by the big conglomerates, I will never buy them again.

  16. Ellie

    Wow. Just when you think they have sunk as low as they can…..this! I guess I don’t understand why they would do a study like this and not track the brands and other label information. That kind of info is really important. Why do the study if someone cannot benefit from it?

    I don’t remember ever seeing a brand of pet food that is advertized as having pork in it. This information really needs to be released to the public.

    1. Laura

      My cat eats a healthy dry food from Rayne, a prescription pet food company that uses human grade ingredients and nothing from China, that is pork-based. I’d prefer to use the lightly cooked kangaroo food for his urinary issues, but, unfortunately, even though I live in the same state as their facility it’s probably prohibitively expensive for me to have shipped, and I also don’t have the fridge or freezer space at the moment. I’m not in a position right now to cook for my animals either, so I have to rely on a quality kibble from them instead.

      1. Ellie

        It is very expensive to have frozen commercial pet foods shipped to you. I searched over and over and finally found a small privately owned pet food distributor that tried to sell only healthy pet foods. She was about 30 miles from where I live but I never would have known she existed if I had not found her through the Stella & Chewy’s website.
        The owner lets me order food by phone and then pick it up when it comes in. I have one dog that will only eat S&C. I keep her food frozen and defrost as needed. I also make large batches of food and then freeze it as individual portions so I can defrost.
        Maybe you could find a place that will order in what you need. More and more people want good food for their pets. There may be someone helping to meet that need in your area.

        1. Laura

          Maybe, but I’m pretty sure Rayne only allows you to buy through their website or via a veterinarian, and my cats’ vet doesn’t carry it. Regardless, I still wouldn’t have the fridge/freezer space. The kangaroo food comes in packs of 12, but each tray only has a miniscule 76 calories, and even though my cat could stand to lose some weight I still wouldn’t dare feed him less than half of the recommended daily calorie intake for an average, healthy cat, which is 280 calories, unless he really had to and even then only if his vet said it was okay. Since I’d end up having to feed him two a day, I’d have to buy twice as many, so, if my math is correct, for a month’s worth of food I’d probably have to buy somewhere in the vicinity of five packs of 12, four to last 24 days, plus another pack to last another six days. Each pack is $18, so that means having to spend $90 a month plus the huge cost of shipping and the small tax I have to pay for living in the same state, versus spending the $32.60 per month for a 4.4 pound bag of kibble, which barely takes up any space.

          I know it’s not good to give only dry food to a cat, especially one with or prone to having urinary issues, but I’d MUCH rather him eat a very high quality kibble than a nasty canned food like Science Diet. He has a nice fountain though, which he regularly drinks from, and he hasn’t had any urinary issues since he started the food.

  17. Sheila

    I agree that we, as pet parents, should contact this university to see if it’s possible that they release the names of the companies with this false advertisement. If they can’t, then fine, but I think we should put forth some effort like Susan has been doing. It’s not just her job to do all the hard work for us, though she has certainly done that and I appreciate it greatly.

    Beverly Miller, I think your post was rude. Hopefully, you didn’t intend for it to be that way. I know typing out a message can be misconstrued. However, this report is not hearsay, as Susan has pointed out, but a university study that was readily available.

  18. Col. K. Dale Frazier

    It’s easy to make INSINUATIONS ; how about naming NAMES of the foods that were falsely labeled ?? If you are a pet advocate ; BE ONE and give us the names !!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      The decision to not release the names of the pet food in this study was not mine, it was the decision of Chapman University. I don’t have the names – they do.

    2. Pet Owner

      Okay, it’s easy enough to complain. First – have you read ANY of the above comments? If so, how about YOU contacting Chapman U. to see how far you get as a concerned pet owner and consumer? You’re obviously new to this website and Susan’s advocacy program. By the way, the information here is free and not supported by any advertising. Or you’re a Troll with a fancy pseudonym. I do like the military touch! Shows great credibility. Any_way. Supposedly “scientific based” studies are “objectively” done (they may not know the brand identities) and possibly may not be funded by any interested parties who care. Secondly – the University might fear legal repercussion if they were seen as “attacking” particular brands of food. If you know the author’s work, then you also know she would be first in line to publish everything available. And you can bet she has followed up with Chapman in the meantime … .

      A little respect please … just as you would expect in the military. Let’s support the effort, fair enough??

      1. Regina

        Excellent response, Pet Owner. You did a much nicer job of it than I would have.

  19. Pam grimes

    I continue to say make the pets food . It is very easy, just like cooking for a human family member. It can also be less costly. Hane you ever had a pet that was eating more and more commercial food. They are hungry because they are not getting enough nutrition. From the garbage in the commercial food. Feathers, bones, hides and other none food items are in the commercial food. I do not need to know the companies name, because I will not buy any commercial food. I have been making food for fur babies since my sweet boy was killed by the pet food. No more throwing up or itching . Pam grimes

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