Skip to main content

Which Pet Food Ingredients are Recycled Garbage?

Related News


  1. Casey

    If I recall correctly, Bil Jac used to also contain cereal fines. I wonder what the sugar content is for these foods and how much it varies batch to batch?

  2. Kathryn

    you posted an article several years ago about companies that purchased left-over restaurant foods that could no longer be offered to the public — buffet foods that got too cool, salads that were wilted, cooked product that didn’t sell … and ‘leftovers — eggshells, parts/pieces from the preparation of restaurant meals … This is nothing new … .

    1. Kay H

      Next time I‘m at a restaurant I‘ll make sure to check out the cow dung. Perhaps with a side of hydrolyzed hair.

  3. Ian

    Thank you for helping explain to consumers that unless they really do their research, their pet food might really just be recycled garbage. I’m all for recycling and re-use — but garbage should be composted and not concealed in pet food to maximize profits without being fully tested and disclosed to the consumer.

  4. Dianne & Pets

    Is it any wonder our pets are facing an epidemic of obesity and illness?

  5. Mollie Morrissette

    I found it amazing that a pet food manufacturer actually used that ingredient knowing that they, by law, would have to include it on their ingredient list.

    As for all of the other revolting/unappealing ingredient definitions Susan lists – it is important to remind consumers that if a manufacturer chose to use any of those ingredients, by law, they would be required by law to include it on the ingredient list.

    Personally, I cannot see any pet food manufacturer – in their right mind – putting any of those ingredients in a pet food knowing the consumer would have to be made aware of them – in black and white – on the label.

    That said, as Susan reminds consumers, that anyone who consumes or buys any product containing meat, poultry, dairy or eggs should be made aware that chances are pretty high that the livestock could have been fed any one of those revolting/unsavory ingredients she listed.

    Also, I recently found out that consumers can purchase a two-week trial subscription to the AAFCO Official Publication for $20. It’s not ideal, but it’s better than having to spend $100. (

  6. duncan

    So much for AAFCO standards.

  7. anomyous

    I think another real tragedy of animal feed is what the farm animals are consuming. Dead animals being ground up and added to feed is an abomination. Cattle aren’t carnivorous. Fowl and hogs are being given plastics and garbage of unknown origin. Everything being done is about money but there are those who also take pleasure in destroying the purity of our foods the way it was meant to be.

  8. Kay H

    Why bother to find ways of recycling and reducing the mind-boggling amounts of waste we humans produce when we can just shovel it all into our animals?
    Bad enough that it happens. That it is enshrined in law is a disgrace.

  9. Sherrie Ashenbremer

    this is just sad.

  10. Cannoliamo

    Thanks Susan. I’ve had multiple cats for over 20 years. One of the canned foods I use is Purina Pro-Plan. They’ve introduced a new flavor … “Salmon & Brown Rice Entree” which comes in 5.5 oz. cans (larger than the 3 oz. cans I normally buy). One of my cats had a pretty severe allergic reaction to the rice (something I hadn’t previously considered to be a food allergen). It appears some of the companies (like Purina) are using “non-grain) starch fillers that are potential allergens to some cats without any warning or notification. My cat had lethargy/depression and inappetence for 4 days until I went to the vet. She seems to be recovering, but slowly. I haven’t seen much in the literature about rice being a suspect allergen, but plan to leave this ingredient out of my cat food list in the future.

    1. Reverend Jane Eagle

      Cats cannot digest anything but meat. Your friends would be far safer and healthier if you just fed them ground human grade meat. Ground turkey at the market costs me $1.99/pound. Friskies canned cat food costs $1.89 per pound; a pound is 12 meals for my cat. Surely you can afford an extra 10 cents over 12 meals! And it may not be “balanced or complete” but it will be far safer than the processed garbage we buy.

      1. Mary Sue

        Please do not feed only ground meat to a cat. For balanced nutrition cats on a raw diet need muscle meat, bone, organs, and perhaps supplements and other food ingredients in specific proportions. Otherwise they will eventually suffer from various nutritional deficiencies and serious, sometimes irreversible, medical conditions.

    2. Chris

      One thing about rice, especially brown rice is arsenic content. Consumer Reports has covered this in several articles available online for free, although it doesn’t cover pet food.

  11. Cannoliamo

    I also wanted to mention that I recently learned that many states have an “approved ingredient” list and as long at a cat food contains ingredients that are on the “approved list” that the labels on the specific cans don’t have to specifically match the ingredients IN that specific food. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, but for pets with food allergies, this is too close for comfort to playing Russian roulette with pet foods.

  12. Sally Roberts

    omg- when you think you have seen things put into the dog food and it cannot get worse, it does just keep getting worse- I am just at a loss for words again. I am angry. Whatever these companies can buy cheap or even free if it is going to be thrown out, they get it, charge a horrid price for this crap and brag in their commercials how wonderful it is and how they care !! They don’t care about anything but the green that goes into their pocket. And the government will never require that they put on the label was is truly in this crap !! Karma is a bitch and I hope theirs comes sooner than later.

  13. tag

    That video is disgusting. I have never figured out why Vets will tell us to not feed “people food’ to our animals but it is fine to feed “not fit for human consumption” to them? HUH? And they can’t figure out the rising cancer, diabetes and many other diseases our pets are suffering at a young age? It’s all about MONEY! They got a shot and a pill for it. And a prescription diet of cheap ingredients at huge price tag.
    Most of the garbage they are putting into the pet food isn’t fit for human consumption either. Donuts, pastry, sugar laden cereal? I wouldn’t feed this s**t to my children, let alone my dog or cat!

    1. Tess McAvoy

      I totally agree. I have a client whose Siamese cat was put on prescription vet pet food for his UTIs. The sister siamese cat also ate it and then shortly afterward developed seizures. Turns out she was sensitive to gluten, which the vet food contained alot of. Vets don’t know anything about nutrition but still feel like lecturing us about feeding raw food to our pets! I feed raw to my 15 yr old cat and he is very healthy.

      1. Ian

        Hi Tess, I agree 100%. I have a neighbor that I encouraged to look in to preparing real food for her pets; she declined. Then in a conversation with me yesterday about their lifelong history of pets she mentioned “every single one of our pets has died from kidney disease” yet it doesn’t seem to occur to her that maybe there’s a connection to their diet.

  14. Jane Democracy

    Unfortunately ingredient companies are very good at funneling this waste into ingredients to fool comsumers… potato chip waste becomes potato flour, fish meal becomes salmon or herring meal. What do you want it called? If the paperwork says it’s potato flour and it meets protein, fat, moisture requirements and other microbiologicals…who will ever know, it contains potato after all…

  15. Peter

    Well, Mars Petcare (Mars Inc.) actually holds a patent for processing offal into pet food, titled: “METHODS OF USING OFFAL FOR PET FOOD MANUFACTURE” (US 7,575,771 B2: 18 August 2009). The dictionary definition of “offal” is “refuse,” “rubbish” or “garbage.”

    This is the world of pet food manufacture.

    1. Kay H

      To be fair, “offal” also means organ meat: it‘s a word I remember from my childhood, when we would regularly have liver and kidney. My grandparents also ate tripe and chitterlings.
      Horribly convenient, though, for Mars to be able to use a word that can refer to both. That‘s one of the big problems with legal ingredients, imho: the definitions are conveniently loose. I used to think I knew what “meat” meant until I tried to learn how to decipher pet food labels.

      1. Kay H

        — by “both” I mean both traditional organ meat and inedible waste —

  16. barbara m

    As Susan says, if you want to be sure you’re not getting any of this “garbage”, you need to buy only “human grade” pet food. But, since misbranding is used by some companies, (such as Evanger’s for example), people need to research the companies that they are interested in. Call a company and ask questions.
    Unfortunately it’s unlikely that you will get the correct answer. Without proof, their verbal assurances are meaningless. You need to ask for and see documentation to these questions.

    1. Was it made in a human-grade facility? This is a facility that ONLY produces human grade food. It cannot be a pet food company that uses their kitchen for making “human-grade” pet food. Without that document, it is fraud. No matter what it says on their website or packaging.

    2. A company that states that it is made with USDA inspected meat/poultry, is not allowed to state this – unless it is made in a human grade facility, NOT a pet food company.

    3. Does the packaging or online data use the phrase “made with” human grade ingredients? “With” just means that other ingredients have been added that are NOT human grade. It must be 100% human grade.

    If possible, I would like to know which companies meet this criteria. People are always asking me.

  17. Teresa Johnson

    OFFAL ?! What a disturbing and vaguely disguised spelling of AWEFUL!
    To his credit, my veterinarian will routinely ask what I feed my hedgehogs, including any supplements, and we discuss the reasons behind my choices. He does try to be up-to-date on nutrition but also has come to realize there is no argument when it comes to the pet food choices I make. I research. I’m sure he’s followed up on some of it. Wish all vets had the time and initiative to do so. I’m happy to mentor him : )

  18. Lesa

    I emailed the company that owns Zignature (limited protein diets) specifically asking if their dog foods were “human grade.” What they told me was “For our food, per the FDA, we are not allowed to say that they are human grade, as no pet food is allowed to be classified as such. What we can tell you is that our food has been eaten by humans and that our ingredients are sourced from nature…we only use the highest quality ingredients and painstakingly research where they’re being sourced from…Again though, per FDA regulations, pet food cannot claim to be human grade.” So this confused me.

    1. Mollie Morrissette

      Lesa, the answer he gave you is incorrect. If a pet food is manufactured in a human food facility it most certainly can make the human grade claim. The rest of his comments are marketing claims – unless he can provide you with documentation supporting his claims. As he has a limited understanding of food regulations I would hesitate to buy from his company.

  19. Reverend Jane Eagle

    Your dog: garbage disposal for many industries.
    Why pay to have your garbage hauled to the dump, when you can sell it to dog “food” companies?

  20. Reverend Jane Eagle

    A bit off topic, but to show the ignorance of many vets (you know, the people we entrust with our friend’s lives):
    In California, traditional vets have been trying to prevent consumers from getting alternative treatments for our pets, like chiropractic, massage, and others, unless a vet is pre$ent. This has actually become law in some states!

    “A 2007 study in the British Medical Journal looked at 3,000 common medical treatments and found that 2/3 of the drugs and treatments vets recommend have little or no evidence behind them either. A staggering 50% of conventional medicine has no known mode of action, while another 12% is either harmful or ineffective. Only 11% of conventional medical treatments were found to actually be beneficial!

    We’re going to the vet less often probably because we trust them less. We don’t trust the low quality “veterinary” foods they push, we’re learning that they’re vaccinating our dogs too often and we’re showing up less often because of this. Ultimately, vets have two options:
    They can help us find the answers (and healthy dogs) we’re looking for or;
    They can attack the choices we’re making.
    Sadly they’ve chosen to limit our healthcare choices by choosing the latter … and that does nothing as far as building trust.

    In just 10 years, the average dog’s lifespan has decreased by 11%.

  21. Kitty Jane

    Quite interesting..we have to be very careful too of what they are fed.

  22. Ramona Gonzales

    Is it true that there are only 3 canning facilities for Cat Food in the entire United States? There has been many problems with obtaining cat food from my local, small pet store and they told me this.

  23. Linda J

    Can anybody give me the name of a dry kibble or a raw food for dogs that they trust? I have been using Evanger’s, but just purchase Health Extensions. I’m going to give that bag away since some ingredients are sourced from outside the US and they used sugar beet waste in the product.
    I remember when my dog was sick and died a few years back, and the vet told me that UC Davis had just received a CT scanner. He said they ran every pet that came in through the CT scanner and found so many cancers and abnormalities that they had to re-write the book on pet disease. I try to always feed my dogs the best dog food for this reason. Still, I feel like I’m letting them down and need to do better. Any help would be appreciated

      1. Linda J

        Thank you! I will check out that brand.

    1. Jeri

      Darwin’s, Steve’s, Vital Essentials, Primal, Answers, Allprovide. All raw, but Allprovide also has “gently cooked” options. I would subscribe to Susan’s list which she publishes yearly and which has very stringent requirements requiring the company to reveal sources of ingredients, whether certified human grade, whether in USDA facility, etc… There aren’t many, if any, kibble companies which can boast these things. Just FYI.

      1. Linda J

        Hi Jeri, Thanks for the suggestions. I wasn’t sold on raw diets until I watched a documentary about it and understood it a little better. Thanks for the ideas. I will look them up, and I will most likely subscribe to the newsletter. It’s sad that the kibble companies make such poor quality “garbage” for our best friends.

        1. Jeri

          You are welcome. Like every other raw feeder I’ve encountered, I have seen all the difference in the world in my pets’ health when I switched to raw. Kibble, unfortunately, is just not species appropriate – having to have large amounts of starches and carbs to maintain that kibble shape, and, of course, there is the moisture factor which puts additional strain on the organs. I highly encourage everyone to either cook the food lightly themselves, or to feed raw. It’s not difficult to do and feeding real food will make all the difference to your pets! Guaranteed.

      2. Dawn McLaughlin

        In addition to Jeri’s list above please add Hare Today Gone Tomorrow. If you are a person using a raw diet for your pets this small PA company is great! I have purchased from them for many years and never had an issue. Their website is very informative with helpful links. They offer many frozen raw types of meat in different sizes and whole prey animals. They ship all over the US. They are family owned and easy to contact. is the site-please check them out. Susan needs to check them out as well!

  24. Kitty Jane

    I am shocked to know that some cat food is recycled garbage. This post brings awareness but is so disturbing.

  25. Eve

    DISGUSTING…I wouldn’t even feed this toxic garbage to cows! Even the cows would definitely suffer severe sickness. Not to mention the tiny fragments of churned up PLASTIC AND METAL CLASPS and another thing BAKERS USE “LIVE ACTIVE YEASTS” and Brewer’s Yeast A TRAGIC DEATH SENTENCE to the PETS who are forced to consume this TOXIC GARBAGE. It’s like the cigarette giants no one forces people to smoke poison it’s their choice but Pets are reliant on their owners for safety and good care – Pet’s being fed this garbage it’s no brainier it’s PET ABUSE. if pet owners refuse to feed their pets what their bodies are designed to eat RAW MEATY BONES then they don’t deserve the right to own them OUTRIGHT! Don’t treat pets like circus animals – they are NOT here to suit YOUR feeding likes and dislikes. GARBAGE!

  26. FYI

    Small detail that seems to have been missed. The point of the machine in the video is that is separates the plastic bags (including plastic clips) from the bread products. So it’s not designed to put plastic into dog food. You could argue that it’s probably only 80% to 90% efficient at separating, so it’s still likely that some plastic ends up in the food stream. Not sure what additional processing steps occur after the separation.

Leave a Reply