Skip to main content

Who’s Enforcing Pet Food Regulations? Lawyers

Related News

Comment11

  1. Jane Eagle

    This is so shameful. Why do we pay for regulatory agencies that don’t do what we pay for?

    But here’s my question: how can consumers tell if parts of a product are sourced outside the USA?

    And as a side note, the quote from Shakespeare is oft used: ” First thing, we get rid of all the lawyers” which most do not realize is spoken by criminals. Lawyers may sometimes be a pain in the butt, but it is hard to have a just society without them. SO: goD bless the lawyers.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      We have to ask manufacturers country of origin of all ingredients – and trust they are being honest. Regulatory authorities are the only ones that can request evidence to country of origin (such as ingredient invoices). We also have the Pledge to Quality and Origin – companies giving us their Pledge (their promise) to country of origin.

  2. Peter

    These legal actions are good for consumers, as they often represent the only means for information to enter the public consciousness.

    The situation you describe reflects a failure of government. Using the FDA and modern pet food manufacture as an example, it is known as “regulatory capture”: wherein a “state” regulatory agency was created to act in the public interest, but instead substantially advances commercial or special interests that dominate the industries it was charged with regulating. Regulatory capture ultimately encourages a business model wherein large firms impart negative economic and moral social costs on consumers (the third party in the relationship). For pet foods these negative externalities are the environmental consequences of production, false advertising, economic harm, and health impacts on our companion animals.

  3. JM

    That’s just great! If I want to make a quick run to the store to pick up a treat for training or whatever I can no longer rely on the “made in USA” claim. Now I have to put in as much time researching the manufacturer and the product as I did for the foods I feed my dog regularly. Just great!

  4. Rebecca Pennington

    As a trial lawyer of many years, I can tell you that the problem is that the regulation says “virtually all” the ingredients must be fro the U.S. Who defines “virtually all?” And if the only place that makes the vitamins – which are an essential ingredient but only a tiny amount of the ingredients – doesn’t t that make the food “virtually all” made in u.s.?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I agree that ‘virtually all’ is not clearly defined through that brief statement from FTC, but AAFCO does define it to pet food/animal feed manufacturers. “the product should contain no – or negligible – foreign content.” If an ingredient is listed on the pet food label (and required to meet nutrient profiles) – it is not negligible – at least to me. And China or outside the US is not the only place to make/sell vitamins – they might be the only source for cheap, bulk feed grade supplements – but they are not the only source for vitamins/supplements in general. I’m hopeful the lawsuit will help keep them honest.

  5. I love my dog

    QUESTION: I thought I read some where along the line that manufacturers weren’t responsible for disclosing the ingredient information of pre-mixes or ingredients coming from a 3rd party supplier? For example, remember when fish was being preserved with Ethoxyquin by the 3rd party but the manufacturer wasn’t required to disclose that fact? Therefore are these manufacturers now trying to be evasive by using vitamin and mineral premixes that have some or all content coming from overseas, using the above logic having to do with external suppliers? Maybe that’s why so many companies failed to submit the Pledge?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      If a supplier of ingredients adds something to a particular food/feed ingredient (and it would depend with some ingredients) such as fish preserved with ethoxyquin – the pet food manufacturer is only required to list ‘fish’ on the label. If the pet food manufacturer adds ethoxyquin to the fish, to the pet food, then the pet food manufacturer is required to list ‘fish preserved with ethoxyquin’ on the label. All vitamin and minerals added to the pet food should be (are required to be) listed on the label – in order of heaviest to lightest. It would not matter if the vitamins and minerals were added in a premix. They still have to list them. Me and my bad attitude thinks the reason so many have not provided their Pledge is because they do not want to disclose some ingredients are sourced from China.

  6. Jude from Maine

    You said, “If a supplier of ingredients adds something to a particular food/feed ingredient (and it would depend with some ingredients) such as fish preserved with ethoxyquin – the pet food manufacturer is only required to list ‘fish’ on the label.”

    How can that be so? If I don’t want ethoxyquin in my dogs’ food, such a hidden chemical in the food and not stated on the label cannot protect me, the customer, and my dogs, the consumers. How can that be allowed? It sounds like a real twisting of the intent of the law to me.

    “If the pet food manufacturer adds ethoxyquin to the fish, to the pet food, then the pet food manufacturer is required to list ‘fish preserved with ethoxyquin’ on the label.”

    Now, that is what I would expect to see on both parts of the product.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Unfortunately, with most ingredients used in pet food – if the ingredient supplier adds something to it prior to arriving at the pet food plant, the pet food manufacturer is not required to state that on the label. It is a bad situation, but those are the regulations currently. Some ingredients have exceptions such as fat ingredients – they are required to list the preservative used even if the supplier added it (and not the manufacturer). I agree with you – it is a twisting of the intent of the law.

  7. Pacific Sun

    I was introduced to PF “advocacy” 9 yrs. ago because of this very same issue! My dog ate exclusively a fish based formula from a very well regarded company. I read an article on TAPF about the issue. At the time I think I commented something like … “Well this can’t be. No company would use a carcinogenic chemical. It would have to be on the label anyway! There’s no mention of it on mine. And I really, REALLY trust this Company!: …(Oh silly me.)

    We kept exchanging comments. I called the PF company. Spoke with the CEO and their advisor. And they claimed they had no choice but to accept fish preserved with Ethoxyquin. I called a supplier and asked if this would be true. I live in the Bay Area near a lot of local commercial fishing. So I also asked a specialist who was informed about alternative preservation methods. Kept on exchanging notes with Susan because it seemed totally preposterous to me, that any company would intentionally include a potentially carcinogenic chemical, especially if they didn’t have to!

    That lesson turned out to be only the tip of the iceberg. Curiously, word must’ve gotten around. Because the company soon after claimed to be discontinuing Ethoxyquin preserved fish. Now I look for bags say no Ethoxyquin. Otherwise I’d urge folks to find out in writing.

    All of this came about EVEN before social media; SO never discount the power of consumer outrage AND demand!

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *