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What are your Biggest Challenges with Pet Food?

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  1. Anthony Hepton.

    Keep manufacturers in full compliance with all pertinent regulations from product formulation, raw material sourcing, manufacturing, labeling, marketing and advertising.

    1. Leah Stanwyck Rogan

      Yes!! I second this! The laxity with regulation and enforcement needs to change, big time.

      Also, changes to definitions, and to what regulating bodies deem as an acceptable protein and/or ingredient. Any policy that allows calling meat juice-soaked styrofoam an acceptable ingredient for a pet food needs major revision…

    2. Rick

      Anyone wish there were truth in advertising laws in the U.S.? I used to think false advertising was a no-no? How is corn healthy for a dog or cat yet I see the commercials and claims on the bags of food, especially at the vet’s. Wouldn’t feed it to a rat but it costs more than an all-raw diet does to feed?

  2. Joan Nichols

    Reading the small-print ingredients on a can of food.

  3. Jeri

    Lack of adherence to law. Lack of information regarding country of origin and source of ingredients. Regulators looking the other way while pets are put at risk.

  4. Dianne Wardlow

    Food is supposed to nourish the body so why can’t we feed out animals nourishing food instead of poison?

  5. Heidi Greene

    I want to read the ingredient label and know that it is true and accurate and easy to decipher. I want to know where (country) the ingredients are sourced and that they are not contaminated or adulterated in any way. I want to know and be confident that any pet food I purchase is as safe as the food I buy for my human family.

  6. Michelle

    What worries me most is that the labels reflect what is actually in the product. Also. that the source of the product is safe and clean and revealed on the package. The other thing that worries me is the backroom payoffs that go on so big pet food can continue to break the laws.

  7. Diane Timmons

    Next to my family, my pet is the single most important thing in my life, well above my home, car, or any earthly possessions. With that in mind, I want to feel assured that what I am feeding her, is not going to make her illl, or worse yet, kill her. She has digestive issues which limit her to Venison, rabbit and a small amount of Bison. In Kansas, I cannot purchase Venison from a food processing plant, the cheapest rabbit I’ve found is $40.00/lb, which is cost prohibitive. That leaves me with only Bison to purchase in a grocery store, in order to give her home cooked food. I would be more than happy to cook her food, if it were not for the fact that I would be feeding her only Bison, which she would not be able to tolerate as her only protein. Therefore, I feel dependent on petfood manufacturers to be honest, supply me with quality food to feed my pet, not source their meat from rendering plants, and guarantee that what they are selling me, is indeed, HUMAN GRADE food. It would be heavenly, to not worry every time I open a can of food for her, if she is going to become ill.

    1. Carole Cerase

      Diane, have you tried locating a hunter. I really don’t know much about your area, but hunters down by me (North Carolina) are more than willing to sell extra Venison. I can only feed my crew turkey, due to allergies to beef and chicken. The Vet suggested rabbit for one of mine also but I could not afford it also. Thank goodness the turkey is working out. Also have you thought about fish as a source of protein?

    2. jan blanco

      hear hear – just posted a similar complaint for my Sara, who can have ONLY turkey!! same issues as you face.

  8. Janie

    So many things. One thing that can be attainable is to include percentage of carbohydrate content.

    How about some sort of verification of type of protein used.

    1. Lucy Klein


  9. Duncan

    I want to do as well as possible by my pets (dog and cat): I read the labels carefully and pay attention to ingredients & country of origin. However, since retiring, I am on a very tight budget and walking the line between quality and price isn’t easy. I will sacrifice to buy good food–so I need to be certain that I am not paying for high-cost garbage.

  10. Sherrill

    By biggest challenge is trust. I know they only want to make a profit. I want my girls (dogs) to have a wholesome honest diet without additives and I want it to be what they advertise. I am tired of the way they market to make it look so good for the dogs only to find out it is nothing like what is marketed. I want a company I can trust.

    1. Stephanie

      I second Sherrill’s comments. Trust is key: trust the ingredients are as stated and they are safe for my animals.

      I don’t want to be afraid for my animals’ health.

    2. Shana

      Agrees. My biggest issue is trust as well. And manufacturers need to be more forthcoming with a full breakdown of the nutrition facts

  11. Susanna

    I want all government agencies to actually do their jobs and not sell out to the highest corporate bidder. I want to be absolutely certain that I am giving my beloved family members safe and nourishing food. No more lies. No more excuses. I want violators prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law (and beyond….).

  12. stormidnight

    Stop the war on raw diets. The salmonella issue is lame considering most of the contamination is in dry food, not raw. Irradiation and HPP should not be forced on manufacturers of raw. We who feed it know how to handle it.

  13. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

    Ditto! Anthony Hepton, very succinctly stated!

    Susan, I would think it also important to state recent specific horrific health code violations at Evanger’s plant, so they can truly understand just HOW BAD! these violations can/do get!

    That the reality is, without allocating more funding for regular inspections & then legal accountability by SEVERE fines being implemented, these type of violations will continue to worsen & become more & more common place, putting our beloved Pets lives at risk.

    1. tallen

      I agree and add a list of ALL the incidents from the last 20 years. Congress has no way of knowing if this is a one time thing or on-going!

  14. Gloria cingano

    Finding pet food with safe ingredients and knowing what the source of the ingredients is.

  15. Hannie

    Very simple: pls push pet food manufacturers to make a decent, safe pet food that we can feed to our babies & not worry about sickening, or worse, killing them. I think we should be able to go into any store, pick up a bag or can of food & not have to spend an hour looking for place of origin or to see what’s in it…….labels aren’t truthful anyway so that’s all a waste of time. I think it’s very sad that most of us have to cook for our dogs to be sure they are getting good nutritious food & not garbage.

  16. Carole Cerase

    My biggest concern is being able to trust exactly where and what condition the beef, chicken, etc, that is being used to produce my pets food and treats. I want to know they are not using diseased or euthanized animals. The pictures on the labels should be EXACTLY what they are using, take out all the fancy wording, I can read the ingredients list and know if it’s good or not. Stop all off the hype to make you think you are getting a human grade food and just be truthful.

  17. Lois

    I need to know that every ingredient in the food is accurately depicted on the label. I want to know where (country/state) the ingredients were sourced as well as processed. I want to be sure the food contains no poisons. I want to know it is as safe for my pets to eat as it would be if I were eating it.

  18. Nicola

    Complete lack of care for our animals. The food has nothing to do with the animals but about selling people waste products which companies should be paying to dispose of properly not funnelling through the doors of the pet industry. All this dog poop – which is completely toxic is filling our landfills and causing extraordinary environmental damage. What is in these foods is not for consumption of an organic body. It is causing so much disease and damage. And this is all about money and greed. No one is protecting the animals, and their health. And people are trusting, they think because they are paying tonnes of money that companies / the industry has their pet’s best interest. But little do they know – this is so not part of what is going on. The pet industry is really just another garbage processing industry.

  19. Lucy Klein

    I have an elderly diabetic cat who must eat a low-carbohydrate diet. Not only do pet food manufacturers not include carbs on the label, they also can be exceedingly difficult to get that information from if you contact them personally (one of the biggest offenders is Purina). I belong to a world-wide online group of people whose cats have feline diabetes and I’m sure we would ALL appreciate having the percentage of carbs stated on the food labels! Phosphorus amounts would be nice, too!

    1. Lisa Marie

      No cat should be eating a carb heavy diet, diabetic or otherwise, they don’t produce enough amylase to digest carbs. That said, I agree – the carb % should be on the label.

    2. Peter

      In 2003 the AAFCO manual declared that: (p.178), “Carbohydrate guarantees are no longer considered as necessary or meaningful for purchaser information, therefore, their use is discouraged,” yet as you suggest, this is one of the MOST IMPORTANT things consumers need to be aware of. The problem is that many if not most foods (especially dry) would quickly fail on that basis.

      I would like to see calorie count on every label. There is no reason that a consumer should have to work to find that information.

  20. jan blanco

    I have an IBD cat who can ONLY have turkey – most canned poultry foods which are labeled turkey have chicken parts in them – this means I have to make from scratch her food…………….would be nice if they STOPPED mixing protein sources!!

    1. Nicola

      Hi Jan, just know – nothing beats a fresh diet. Nothing canned will replace what you are doing from scratch. I agree on the mixing – but fresh food means a body which is running optimally ….nothing on a grocery store shelf that has been processed, transported in heat and sitting under hot lights in a store will ever replace or substitute a fresh meal. Also, when you prepare this comes form a place of love I imagine? This too has it’s own energy …. and matters to the being receiving the food prepared by you.


      1. Reverend Jane Eagle


  21. Nicola

    The issue is now – I would not trust anyone to do the right thing. I do not believe the Pet industry and anyone associated is in for the goodness or health of the animals it is supposed to be serving.

    However, to answer the question – for the food to have true nutritional value – it has to be:
    1. Human grade – produced in human grade facilities – fresh food – nothing discarded, no by-products, no dead and diseased animals
    2. Quantity of each product specifically should be stated – no percentages
    3. Origin down to factory, country, for each ingredient should be on the label
    4. No toxins in the food, no chemicals, meaning no preservatives
    5. Ingredients should be as organic as possible and labelled so
    6. Ingredients should not be allowed several names to dupe the public, one name consistently for each ingredient throughout the industry
    7. GMO – should be highlighted per product/ingredient in the food
    8. Guaranteed Analysis – should not be minimums but actual – and for dry food – is this before or after they have baked the garbage into a piece of dry?
    9. Defini

    I am sure there is more I should be stating but this is all I can think of at this minute,

    Thank you!

  22. Sherrie Ashenbremer

    Human grade, honesty on the package as to EXACTLY what is in the food. Quit letting the dog food companies dictate how things should be, listen to the consumer

  23. Clark Westburn

    Senator, right now you have no way to know just exactly what your dog is eating. You think you know because of what the dog food label says, right? Well, you are wrong. There’s a huge gap between what you think you’re buying and the reality of what you’re putting in your dog’s bowl. American consumers have no way to know that they get what they paid for.

  24. Suzanne

    Susan, what I would like to see is what you’ve been advocating all along – that pet food contain only human grade ingredients and governed by human laws – if the food I’m feeding my pet can’t be eaten by myself, then it shouldn’t be allowed on the shelves. Thank you so much for your continued hard work on behalf of my pets. Good luck in Washington.

  25. By far, the labels! I agree with the above comments but the labels need to all have the same formats. LISTED!

    I can read the listed formats on human food (i.e. fat, protein, carbohydrate, calories, ingredients, allergy warnings, grain, soy, wheat, gluten, animal “meal” rendering …. etc.) but between the small print and the paragraph format, it takes me 10 times longer to shop for pet food (and I often make mistakes and have to go back and exchange the food).

    Labels should be easy to read (larger print) and in a mandated listed format (all the same). Anybody should be able to quickly see if tuna cat food has tuna as the main ingredient, turkey cat food has turkey as the main ingredient and what artificial and/or other protein and fats and carbohydrate additives are in the food.

    I think you should give them a few cans of cat food and ask them if they are safe, wholesome and nutritious as a primary food source for cats and if they have any possible allergens or ingredients that may not be safe for your cat to eat. Also ask them if they can identify how much animal renderings they contain, if they contain any suspect allergens, essential probiotics, byproducts, fillers, euthanized animal carcasses, etc. I’ll bet 100% of the fail the test!

    1. Regina

      OMG, standardized labeling would be wonderful!!!!!!

      I also agree that the size of the print is an issue on a lot of cans. That, in conjunction with every label being a different format, I just won’t buy any cans that make it hard for me to find out what’s in the can! Obfuscation, anybody????

  26. Nicola

    Thought of one more thing – packaging – should be as organic as possible, no terrible glues, coatings which leach into the food, this should all be tested and confirmed and passed with an accreditation so that the buyer knows that they are not buying food with packaging by-product.

    Tinned food should be BPA free – with the same regulations. And food should be transported in cold trucks – so the food is not cooking in packaging during transport. This goes for all food. I see pallets of food delivered to a pet food store where I live sitting in the hot sun for hours waiting to be unpacked. Can you imagine? This screams toxicity to me; screams sickness and disease. As the pallets are of course wrapped in plastic baking everything even more so ……really unbelievable ….

    I believe to buy via the pet industry is to shorten the life of your animal creating an abundance of disease to the being along the way ….not to mention the pain ….by 8 years old most animals are ailing from something and some now even much earlier. What people do not understand is the body breaking down at such a young stage in life is all because of the food …. [assuming no other trauma of course]

  27. Clark Westburn

    Senator, may I ask what brand of food you give your dog (cat)? Oh, well that brand contains…(proceed to list the worst of the questionable ingredients of that food and past questionable behavior of the manufacturer/manufacturing facility it was made).

    1. Regina

      This is an excellent “elevator conversation!!!”

  28. Cecilia Barnett

    My biggest concern is in the deep pockets of pharmaceutical companies and ‘pet food manufacturers’ who are so very obviously buying off the FDA with cash donations, trips, vehicles, etc. I’d like to see the government clean up their own agencies.

  29. Sharon Masters

    I want to be able to trust that pet food advertising and labels are true and not misrepresenting the quality. Why are Big Pet Food and regulatory “authorities” allowed to skirt the laws on labeling and ingredients? How can they get away with gouging pet parents with “prescription diets” that do not contain medications or drugs, or any ingredient that would warrant a prescription? Where is the accountability? Also, veterinarians need more nutrition education and should not be afraid of being “disciplined” for promoting species-appropriate diets.

    And, I like Clark’s response…

  30. Jane

    Accuracy/honesty in labeling (if it’s made with “feed grade” ingredients, it should be labeled as “feed” not “food”) and transparency about ingredient sourcing and manufacturing. Letting companies claim that information about where their food is produced is “proprietary” reduces accountability, provides cover for questionable practices and muddies the water when there are recalls. If there’s nothing to hide, why are they hiding it?

    And, of course, it would be awesome if they would enforce the laws that already exist, too!

    Thanks for representing our concerns, Susan. Wishing you all the best!

    1. Regina

      I agree, make them use the word “feed” instead of “food” if it does not have human grade ingredients!!!!! Make ’em earn the right to call it pet “food”

      1. Elizabeth Silknitter

        I third that! Make company’s label as feeds unless 100% of ingredients are human food grade.

    2. Leslie

      I understand this won’t get solved over night and that we have a BIG list. There is always going to be crap “feed grade” food out there. But if we could know when we have a truly good, “Food grade” pet food. and HOW the “Chicken” is food grade and not condemned garbage. Labeled as SUCH. I agree with this point the strongest for the average consumer.

  31. Cecilia Barnett

    While I’m at it, I wonder what the learning curve is for a dog food quality inspector? What amount of education is involved before they can pass judgement on what goes into my animals. Did you know that Nail salon employees must have 600 hours of schooling before they can paint your nails? Inspecting food (at any level) should require at least a nutrition course and quality of ingredients course to verify if everything is edible, etc., etc. If you have an opportunity to talk with an inspector, ask him/her what does a basic dog/cat diet consist of to thrive.

  32. Mary Lynch

    Since laws are not being upheld, I can’t trust the food. Since I can’t trust the food, in order to relieve my worry, I make our own. And yes, I do want to know where every ingredient is sourced. And BTW, I want GMO’s labeled on pet foods, too.

  33. Pat

    Elevator speech: Senator – How long does it politicians to recognize the harm that communist countries (e.g., China) don’t care about the well being of other countries humans (Americans) nor animals (Americans pets or others) such that they will cut corners and cheat regarding products they sell us. E.g’s., lead in paint, harmful ingredients in dry wall, poisonous ingredients in our pet food. How long will Senators continue to allocate our tax dollars to the FDA for non-performance, who do not/will not enforce and prosecute the laws regarding pet food. Why will they (FDA) NOT allow human grade claims on pet food labels and thus enforce the laws applicable to humans on human grade pet food. If humans decide to eat dog/cat food labeled as human grade, then so what. If it’s human grade , then it shouldn’t be harmful to humans. If they (FDA) won’t enforce the laws applicable to human grade pet food (or existing laws regarding pet food for that matter), then the FDA needs to be held accountable and prosecuted. Until they are held accountable, then they shouldn’t be getting our tax dollars allocated to the duties and responsibilities regarding pet food. Why can’t politicians (e.g., Senators and Conngressmen) act honorably and with integrity without issues having to become so onerous, egregious, or heinous that they respond only reactively … i.e., to being voted out of office. C’mon, you politicians, geeeeeze, get in touch with your humanity and act accordingly.

  34. Jane

    And I’d ask the FDA to consider establishing a page with updates on their investigations. I know they can’t give details about active cases, but just knowing that an investigation is on-going would be reassuring. And it would be nice to know if/when problems are resolved, too.

    I recently requested information about the Party Animal pentobarbital investigation and got an email back saying that the FDA “cannot comment publicly on any investigations we may or may not be conducting.” They did refer me to their previous statement advising people not to use some of Evanger’s and Against the Grain beef varieties, so I’m going to assume that applies to the Party Animal/Cocolicious recall, too. But it didn’t really answer my question.

  35. dc

    If *cans* themselves pose a problem in that the lining is leaching into the food, then why is nobody trying to devise a better method for storing pet food than cans with leaching lining? (in addition to all of the above responses regarding what is actually in the can)

  36. Jenn Lasko

    I’d like to know why pet food can’t be held to the same standard as human food. It’s impossible to know what to feed the animals that won’t possibly make them sick or kill them if the labels aren’t accurate. Not everyone has time, money or freezer space to feed raw or cook for their animals. We all do the best we can for our furkids in whatever circumstances we are in and it would sure help if the laws were actually followed!

    1. Regina

      I second this!!!! We all do the best we can, but realistically, not everyone can do raw and/or cook for their pets.

  37. Karyn Zoldan

    Natural and holistic — what do those words mean? My bag of Earthborn screams “holistic” but I have no clue what that means. Like others mentioned — where is the protein sourced? The dog food might be made in USA but where does the ocean fish or chicken or turkey or beef/lamb come from? What country of origin?

    Why is copper sulfate an ingredient in all dog food? Copper sulfate is an ingredient used in foot baths for cattle to help keep them from getting infections and to keep horses from getting leg infections. It’s also used in ponds to stop algae from growing. Copper sulfate taxes the liver organ.

    1. Regina

      I agree about the words “natural” and “holistic”
      I’ve seen products labeled “natural” but they still have corn, wheat, soy, etc. in them. And I’ve seen things labeled “holistic” that had sorbital and titanium dioxide (chemical food coloring!) in them.

      So many people just read the front of the package, and just believe those buzz words. I guess my pets are lucky that I’ve had to read so many labels because of my own need to avoid certain things, I just don’t bring anything home unless I’ve read all of the ingredients!!!

      1. Rick

        Since we apparently have no laws against false advertising, it’s a shame, isn’t it?

  38. Trudy Wicks

    Pet food in general seems to be a place for garbage that should never end up in food for any creature. Rotten and spoiled items should never be allowed in pet food. What bothers me the most is buying food that is supposedly organic, human grade and in reality comes from the same garbage pile as all the rest of the food. I am willing to pay a higher price for good pet food and expect to get good quality in return. That is not the case right now. Truth in labeling, source of food and where the food was made should all be mandatory and checked. It seems the pet food industry is a free for all; high profit, low quality and no oversight. The small companies who still do it right get gobbled up by the big companies and then the quality is gone. The pet food industry as it is now is totally disgusting, immoral and corrupt.

    1. “The pet food industry as it is now is totally disgusting, immoral and corrupt.”

      …. as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be.

  39. Janine-Max-Daisy-Stella

    Pet food should consist of human-food-grade ingredients, no contaminants (no Rx, chemicals, poisons, diseased leftovers, plastics, glass shards, etc.), feature clear and understandable labels that indicate the sources of all ingredients, and pet food should be affordable to everyone so that even those on tight budgets don’t have to settle for pet food that comes from who-knows-where and contains who-knows-what. Even those who pay a lot for pet food–thinking they are getting top-shelf quality pet food–have been hoodwinked, as evidenced by so many recalls and pet illnesses/deaths from expensive pet food brands. Feeding your pet should not be a crap shoot–pet owners already pay so much more money these days to take care of their furry family members–contaminated and crappy pet food should not add to that financial and emotional burden.

    Susan, thank you for all that you do on behalf of our pets–many kudos to you.

  40. Craig Huntsinger

    Except no imported ingredients. Additives should be tested before adding such testing should include salmonella, Listeria, Ect. If pet food manufactures use a non-edible substance this should be noted in large easy to read lettering.

  41. paponypal


    1. Kris

      I agree. I don’t want to feed my pet euthanized pets for dinner and food that is seeping in plastic packaging. The FDA needs to start enforcing the laws. Do their job. Give us a pet food that is free from plastic & Styrofoam packaging. No euthanized animals in our pet food.

  42. Laura

    I’m tired of the fact that I can’t walk into any store selling pet food, pick up a container of pet food, and know that it’s safe and healthy for my pet. While I gladly support this website, Susan Thixton, and the Association, it does bother me that, in order for me to truly feel safe with the pet food I feed my pet, I have to buy The List every year. If I don’t, I won’t know if a pet food that I think may be good for my pet is actually garbage because even if I grilled the manufacturer over an exceedingly long email conversation, asking them every conceivable question about every possible contentious issue that’s ever been brought up on this site (which I’ve done before, prior to buying The List), I know it might still be all hogwash and lies.

    To surmise: Consumers should not need an insider to tell them the truth from the fiction, to tell them what they believe to the best of their ability is a safe and healthy pet food, and which isn’t. They should ALL be safe and healthy.

  43. Deception rules this industry, but consumers are catching on. My biggest concern is harmful, toxic ingredients that cause unnecessary injury and death, because the regulatory agencies responsible for inspecting and protecting our pet’s food are being bought out to look the other way.

    It may also be the same with human food, considering all the recalls. People are bought off in all industries, and we suffer the consequences.

  44. Colleen Yates

    Some of my concerns already listed above, but another current beef is Commercial pet food companies conflict of interest with vets. My vet made my cat sick years ago because they prescribe food that made him worse. I have friends who’s cats are having issues on prescription food, 3 acquired diabetes, one even put his down because he didn’t want to deal with costs, even though he paid through the nose for the food that caused it. I tell a lot of them the truth about this food, but they won’t believe me because they say vets know best. I’m not sure if this is food specific, but thought wouldn’t hurt to mention.

    1. Reverend Jane Eagle

      When one of my dogs was poisoned and in liver failure, my vet prescribed a specific brand as medically appropriate (Hill’s). When I got home and read the labels, the ingredients were almost all GMO, which has been shown to CAUSE liver and kidney failure in livestock (who are killed and eaten before they die of the diseases). I took it all back and made him appropriate food after long research on the internet. My vet stopped selling Hill’s but replaced it with a brand that’s probably as bad.
      THIS IS FRAUD. I wish we had a government agency to protect us from this!

  45. Sandy

    I’ve winnowed my requirements down to a few essential items as I search for a good food for my dogs and cats, but none of those are worth anything if the pet food company lies about what is in the food, and if the FDA allows those lies despite laws. I want a food without by-products, with named types of meat, without BPA in the can liner and without carrageenan. I don’t think those four requirements are too much to ask. After that, I want a lot of animal protein and less or no corn, wheat, soy and peas, especially for the cats. And, I hope for a time when they stop making pet food the garbage can of the meat industry, as well as of grocery stores and restaurants. I’m all for conservation, but they should think of some other use for diseased animals, and rotted and spoiled food, and they should stop trying to feed our pets– and the animals many humans eat — plastic, feathers, feces and other members of their own species.

    1. tallen

      I totally agree! There is a place in animal feed for useful parts of healthy food that humans don’t eat but the rest of the garbage and non-edibles needs to stop. The feeding of plastic, feathers, feces,etc should be considered animal abuse!

  46. Brenda Rion

    Make the FDA enforce the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act–no compliance protocol, no passes for pet food manufacturers. Also, make the FDA take swift, decisive action in reported incidents of tainted pet food. No additional pets should become ill and possibly die because the agency that is supposed to be protecting them doesn’t make a thorough investigation in a timely manner, thus leaving dangerous food on store shelves.

  47. landsharkinnc

    False labeling pictures; misleading descriptions; I have not fed a commercially produced dog food in many many years, but I continue to be dismayed by the misleading, uninformed descriptions of the ingredients — I can’t help but think of Rachel Ray’s ‘see this? it’s a pea, a REAL PEA’ –I do so want to ask her if that ‘pea’ has been inspected and approved for human consumption!

    1. tallen

      She doesn’t even know that the peas aren’t green peas but field peas!

  48. Laurie Raymond

    There need to be audits of ingredient purchases by pet food companies, and pet food companies must be required to identify ALL suppliers of ingredients upon request. The lawsuit against Bailey Farms by Evangers alerted us to the hidden layer in the supply chain. As a retailer attempting due diligence, I have found only 2 of the companies whose products I sell who will reveal this info. They cite “proprietary information” – why??? or throw tons of extraneous but meaningless facts and propaganda at me. The two good guys (so far – I am still applying pressure on others) are Open Farm and Vital Essentials. Some enforced law and regulations making that information at least searchable and verifiable by audit (these audits are done in the organic processed food industry, so it isn’t an exotic concept) would help.

  49. Marta Fonda

    The documentary ‘Pet Fooled’ was horrifying… in some ways I wish I had never watched it. The fact that the pet food industry isn’t monitored by any outside entity is completely ridiculous. I have had two cats in the last 10 years die very young of cancer. Even the research that I still do causes more confusion. I just moved to the state of Washington (from Colorado) and the new veterinarian that I found here even has a LAMINATED statement in the examining room stating that the grain free, raw and high protein diets are all myths and that Purina is the answer. Pet Fooled stated that some of the worst culprits were the really expensive foods recommended by vets and purchased in their offices. I am so grateful that this is being addressed and look forward to major changes. Some of the smaller pet ’boutique’ type pet stores here are trying to stay current and only stock good quality foods, but my experience with them too is that there is so much conflicting information. Thanks again.

  50. Erica Sanz-Johnson

    I agree with every thing every one has posted. I know not all concerns that should be will be addressed for a long long time as some of these things are even happening in our manufactured human food products.

    So with that in mind , here is a summary of what others have said above as well as my own concerns

    1. Transparency!!! It should be EASY or at least possible for consumers to find out information about the food such as

    Human grade or Feed grade
    factory it’s manufactured in
    the country of origin for all ingredients

    Ideally AT BARE MINIMUM these things should be listed on the labels or some place on the package

    2. Ingredients should not be allowed to go by several names and be so convoluted. One name needs to be used consistently for each ingredient throughout the industry

    3. Toxic ingredients not allowed in human food should not be allowed in pet food such as Carrageenan, and Copper Sulfate

    I would like to tell him that in light of laws being ignored and all the above issues that compromise our pets health it is also putting human lives at risk !! Maybe that will get their attention . Euthanasia drugs in pet food? Toxic preservatives ? Our pets eat at floor level. Where baby’s and toddlers play!! It’s only a matter of time before a human ingests a food laden with glass shards, diseased left overs and euthanasia drugs and dies!!

    I’d like to know why they aren’t concerned with pet food being held to the same standard as human food??

    1. Jenn Lasko

      Actually carrageenan is allowed in human food, and it’s found in many dairy products :/

  51. Pacific Sun

    Waiting for an elevator… not enough time to even say hello! Instead I’d hand him a laminated sheet with the following concerns. On it, would be the address of a webpage, where each of the issues are hyperlinked, providing a succinct explanation and example. I would point out the following:

    1. Which laws are broken; then ask why.
    2. Pentobarbital killing a pet; ask if laws are in place then how did it happen.
    3. Mars’ plant’s multiple hazards; ask why reporting was ignored.
    4. Compliance Policies; ask how defeating laws serves consumers.
    5. Manufacturers have no chain of custody liability; ask why both suppliers and receivers aren’t equally accountable.
    6. Use of 4 D protein; ask why suppliers and receivers aren’t penalized.
    7. How “Proprietary” restricts transparency; ask why it allowed to thwart honesty.
    8. Use of livestock quality feed for cats & dogs; ask why the goal of pet nutrition isn’t to ensure extended longevity instead.
    9. Intentionally deceptive marketing techniques (images, words); ask why the PFI is the only industry exempted from Truth in Advertising.
    10. Ingredient euphemisms (Brewers rice); ask why direct language isn’t more purposeful.
    11. How nutritional statements differ (PF vs. human); ask why aligning standards wouldn’t be more purposeful.

  52. Penny St. John

    I worry about whether the food will sicken them and lead to their untimely death.

  53. Dave

    My wife and I are now educated on the truth about the pet “food” feed industry. We only feed our pets products that fully disclose their sources and only use human grade ingredients. My wife also home-cooks for our pets with guidance from pet nutritionists.

    Many other pet owners are also educated and aware of the feed industry practices. But I worry about the majority of pet owners who are unaware of how the industry practices put their pets at risk. The FDA should be enforcing the law for these pet owners’ sakes.

    I also worry about the fact that most veterinarians are indoctrinated by the pet feed industry in their vet schools, and push back hard on pet owners who home cook. Our vet is aware that we home cook and pushed back on it, but has finally agreed o disagree and not discuss it. But every time they have annual exams and blood tests, they come up healthy and the vet says they are in perfect health. Our current two dogs have never eaten any feed grade pet feed and are the healthiest dogs we have adopted. All six dogs that have been in our family have been the same breed which is known to be prone to certain conditions, yet only those that ate feed grade pet food experienced those issues. Yet our vet (who is a exceptional vet otherwise) fails to recognize that food vs. feed might actually have some relationship to pet health.

  54. Vivi

    I want clean product going into my dogs food and clean product coming out. If I wouldn’t eat it why should I feel safe feeding it to my dog? Let’s say you feel it is okay for dogs to eat lower grade food, so then I say, what about the dangers of a product intended to lay on the ground in childrens reach?

    My second complaint is the product needs to be MUCH clearer in what is inside. No more of this Beef photos and labels saying REAL BEEF FLAVOR! deceitful labels. I shouldn’t have to do research to find if my product actually includes beef.

    Lastly, the companies are NOT held up to standards. The FDA is not doing its job and should be in serious trouble for this.

  55. Jo

    No hiding behind “proprietary blend”. List all countries of origin, not just “made in usa”.

  56. Rachel V Joiner

    No 4D MEAT in pet food!!!!

  57. Christine

    No pet should have to get sick, suffer or die because of a process that can easily be given more oversight by the FDA. Particularly pet food labels need honesty in advertising. FDA also needs to conduct recalls promptly instead of letting a tainted pet food linger on the shelves for months. Consumers should also be able to know immediately when a pet food is suspected to have caused illness. Last thing, the FDA needs to change what’s allowed in pet foods to begin with. Certain ingredients should be banned completely. It’s not ok to sicken and kill our pets.

  58. Liz

    1) Potential corporate conflicts of interest: Example: Mars, Inc owns a vast number of pet food brands, including Royal Canin which produces a Veterinary RX line. Mars also now owns Blue Pearl, VCA and Banfield Veterinary Hospitals. I question the legality and ethics of a corporation employing the veterinarians who promote the food manufactured by that same corporation? Disclosure, anyone?
    2) Misleading advertising: Claims being made in pet food advertising has truly gotten out of control. Here’s one recent example I came across: Purina Bright Mind “…Breakthrough nutrition…promotes alertness and mental sharpness, helping dogs 7 and older think more like they did when they were younger.” Seriously? If a food could really do that, we’d all be eating it! If it’s not legal for manufacturers to make false or misleading claims about virtually all other products we buy, how is it the pet food industry can say whatever it wants with no repercussions whatsoever?
    3) Along the same line as #2: Cats are obligate carnivores. This is an unequivocal scientific fact. The feline species should not eat carbohydrates in any form at any time, as doing so can create several common and potentially serious health problems. That the pet food industry has managed to manipulate the cat owning public and cat caring professionals into believing that carbs in cat food are a safe form of nutrition seems not merely misleading, but downright deceptive. The legality, at very least the principle, of it warrants review.
    4) I agree with all the previous comments regarding the need for complete transparency in the pet food industry as it relates to the safety and sourcing of ingredients; manufacturing and testing protocols. If a company has nothing to hide, they would have no reason not to share.
    Thank you Susan, for all your great work on behalf of our animals!

    1. Sharon Masters

      I completely agree with you, Liz! GREAT points!!

  59. Elizabeth Silknitter

    My biggest concern’s are:

    1) No euthanized pets from vet offices and shelters
    2) No 4D animals
    3) No chemical, toxic, drug, or other waste adulterants
    4) Feeds should be labeled as such

  60. Yana Way

    I honestly wish that what is actually best for pet foods had to be researched and determined clinically. One site claims this food is best, another claims that this other food is much better. And all of these different review sites seem to not only be run by knowledgable people, they also seem to be run by people legitimately acting in good faith trying to recommend what they honestly believe is best – NO ONE CAN PROVE one way or the other because no studies are ever done.

    I also wish that pet foods would stop reformulating their ingredients without one word on the label indicating any change. That is so awful for a pet owner. I do my research and try my best to find the very best food options only to find that my trusted brand has changed the ingredient without a word to consumers. Usually, the changes are NOT good. Same thing for when a product sells to another company without a word to consumers and is changing where ingredients are sourced. So frustrating, How can I guarantee that the food is good if I have to read every label every day?

    Unregulated plants where food is being made. Duh. That is awful.

    1. Reader

      To your point, what is “best” for a pet, is also relative to the pet.

      People eat a variety of diets and recipes. If the food is wholesome over time, then they’re getting a range of basic nutrients. PF (per serving) has been formulated to meet the basic nutritional needs of the pet. But when it becomes a single, repetitious meal, fed over time, is problematic. So the next step would be to figure out (above & beyond basic ) optimal diets. But the problem becomes, the differing needs of various pets (age, activity, health, etc.). However, in terms of moving towards optimal diet, means eliminating non-nutritious fillers and actually detrimental ingredients. Proof of doing that, would be important, in terms of assuring consumers, that a product is safe, and is what the label describes. And if so, then various manufacturers could legitimately claim each of their products has different levels of advantages (beyond the NRC standard). In this case, in terms of petitioning Washington (and perhaps including our wish-list) …. really, the only thing legislators can do, is ensure that laws are being enforced. And prevention is in place.

      Other causal sites (as mentioned in the comment) in terms of providing an “opinion” about the relative differences in PF (have mainly, taken their information from this site). They often rank choices to make their sites more attractive and convenient for the reader. They are often sites accepting advertising, and noting click traffic.

      One way to choose among the advantages (or not) of many brands, is to review the Petsumer Report. It does take time. But ingredients are identified in terms of the first 5 (which carry most weight) plus everything else labeled. And the risks (or not) of all ingredient become a factor. It will always be the owner’s responsibility to choose the “optimal” diet for their own pet however. And from 10 years of TAPF being in effect, would suggest that the most nutritionally rich and balanced meal is the most advantageous. But comes from whole foods, minimally processed, etc.. And that no single meal (much less commercial brand or recipe) should be fed continuously. Exactly as people vary their diet. And don’t depend on Breakfast Bars or Boost. It’s a myth to believe pets can’t handle changes in diet; but they must be systemically healthy enough (good enzymes and digestion, etc.) to do so.

      Unfortunately the problem now (and exactly why Susan is going to Washington) is because nobody “can” guarantee that a commercial food is “good enough” given the extensive use of inferior to risky ingredients. However Susan’s 2017 List goes a long way to reassuring consumers, because the picks have been well vetted. Including whenever manufacturers make the Pledge to Quality and Sourcing.

      Plants are regulated. But lacking are routine (unannounced inspections) without cause. And laws (with significant consequences) are unmet which would ensure greater compliance.

  61. Acacia Rogers

    Limited information on ingredient sourcing. Its almost impossible to find out where a pet food companies ingredients come from. There should be open and honest information clearly stated somewhere on the label or their website. So that we can then research the meat supplier if we choose to better understand what our pets are eating. I used to occasionally feed Evangers canned foods to my ferrets and I was mortified to later find out that they were using inedible meats that were unsafe.

    1. Reader

      Well let’s face it, if they were in a position to put all that transparency on their label, they would be an ethical company to begin with, and wouldn’t need to do so. Btw us, websites are the least trustworthy of all. Evangers was claiming human grade on their own, and look what it led to.

      I don’t think the consumer should have to research anything! It should be a highly controlled commodity, period. If agencies/states can put all that effort into the growing cannibus industry, then they ought to be able to manage a FOOD industry!!!

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