Is it food? Yes and no. Is it legal? Yes and no. A $23 billion dollar a year (in the U.S.) ‘regulated’ industry that has more holes in it than a colander.
With inspiration from the famous Abbott and Costello skit ‘Who’s on First?’…
Pet Owner: Susan, tell me about pet food.
Susan: Pet food or pet feed?
Pet Owner: What’s pet feed?
Susan: Most pet foods are pet feed. It says food on the label, but it’s really feed.
Pet Owner: Most pet foods are pet feeds? What in the world is a pet feed?
Susan: FDA allows all animal foods to violate federal law – allowing all kinds of terrible waste to be recycled into animal food ingredients. Illegal recycled waste – that’s feed. But they call it food. Oh, and feed can also be food, good wholesome food ingredients, but there’s no way to know which is which.
Pet Owner: They call it food but it can be feed and some animal feeds violate law? And I can’t tell which pet foods – which are really feeds – use this illegal waste?
Susan: You can’t.
Pet Owner: #&*$%!
Susan: I completely agree.
Last week, your consumer advocates (myself, Dr. Jean Hofve and Mollie Morrissette) had a meeting with the President of AAFCO and the AAFCO investigator for all animal ingredients (pet foods and livestock feeds – such as meats). We were provided this meeting to gain some clarification to how pet food could be allowed to violate federal and state law. We did not get clarification. Instead we learned that a $23 billion dollar a year industry in the US (pet food) has regulations with more holes in it than a colander.
The law says (federal law and state law in 14 states) that a pet food would be considered adulterated/illegal if it contains any part of a non-slaughtered animal.
The problem: the law doesn’t seem to have defined what a slaughtered animal is.
The bigger problem: without a clear legal definition for slaughter, we are told no one can enforce the laws that declare a food adulterated if it contains a non-slaughtered animal.
I find it hard to believe that this hole in law actually exists. My reasoning is human food. A human food would be recalled faster than a New York minute should it be found to contain any part of a non-slaughtered animal. How can pet food escape this same protection? This law IS enforced with human food, the question…why isn’t it enforced with pet food?
Questions have been sent to FDA – how is this law enforced? I asked how FDA enforces this law in relation to pet food and human food. When/if FDA responds, their information will be shared.
As it stands, unless a pet food is made in a human food manufacturing facility, pet food consumers purchasing a pet food are not told…
- If meat is sourced from a diseased animal;
- If meat is sourced from a non-slaughtered animal;
- If meat has been denatured with some type of chemical or dye (to learn more about denaturing, read Mollie Morrissette’s post by clicking Here);
- What exactly that denaturing agent is;
- If vegetables are food grade or rotting surplus vegetables;
- If fruits are food grade or rotting surplus fruits;
- If vitamins and minerals are human grade or feed grade;
And…even if the pet food meat is sourced from a slaughtered animal, consumer are not told what part of the animal is used. Guess what is discarded into pet food/animal feed directly from slaughter facilities? Animal intestines and their contents (and more waste material). Pet food consumers are not told this either.
Add to the above – with all pet foods the consumer is not told…
- Exact amounts of protein;
- Exact amounts of fat;
- Exact amounts of every vitamin and mineral;
This is wrong. Very wrong. How can the pet food industry – a $23 billion dollar a year US industry – be allowed to violate law? How can laws be written with no clear definitions to enforce those laws? AAFCO has been developing pet food regulations since the 1950’s…how long is it going to take to get this right, to provide consumers with disclosure to what they are purchasing?
Our pets are paying the price for this…our pets and the families that love them. Consumers deserve to know what they are purchasing, and we won’t let up until that happens. We don’t know what the next step will be, that is going to depend on what FDA tells us. But I assure all, we will not give up this battle until pet foods are truthfully labeled and existing law is enforced.
By the way – the AAFCO representatives could not have been more pleasant and helpful – honestly they were. They agreed with our concern, agreed that consumers need to understand what they are purchasing in a pet food. Our collective problem, is figuring out how to do that. We know the need, we know the problem, now we need to figure out a resolve.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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 3000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
The 2016 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
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The 2019 List of Pet Foods I would trust to feed my own pets