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Your Opportunity to Tell Manufacturers and Regulatory what You want!

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  1. Shannon Latzke

    I want to know if ingredients are GMO, where they are sourced, and where foods are manufactured. I want to know if there is MSG in the food, as it is often disguised under several other terms. I want to know if ethoxyquin was used and if the cans have BPA in the lining. I want to know if meal includes meat only or some bone content. I want a TNA on a DMB on every bag or can and to do away with the useless GA. I want them to stop ingredient splitting and to stop using species-inappropriate ingredients in cat food.

    I go to Petsumer Report to find ingredient definitions, but as thorough as it is, it is still incomplete, so I find myself googling “X in cat food” and finding little information or conflicting reports.

    1. Marie

      What is TNA on a DMB and what is GA please? Also, I want those things too, and more! I’m still thinking about it and almost ready to post. Thanks!

    2. Sandra Murphey


      I want to share a wonderful resource (in addition to Petsumer Reports) that identifies pet food ingredients alphabetically, that I printed out, and use as a reference for myself and friends. It is an “Ingredient Analysis” by Dr. Lisa Newman, and can be found on

      Thank you for your very thorough listing of what you want from a pet food ingredient label.

  2. Janet Velenovsky

    Thanks for asking, Susan. I want the same thing I want on my own food labels.

    I want to be able to read *in plain English* what ingredients are included in the food. IF the FDA and the industry need to create labels for certain types of ingredients, the definitions of those labels should be easily accessed (include a URL on each product), stated *in plain English* (no industry secret language). I would like to know if the ingredients are grown, created, and/or processed in the US or in China or other countries.

    Some pet parents may not care about some of the ingredients included in their pets’ food or where the food is sourced. But, we ALL deserve to be able to know those facts, to be able to trust the information is accurate, regardless of what we decide to do with that information.


  3. Gitta

    On the guaranteed analysis I want to see the % of carbs along with protein and fat.

    I want ONE source where all approved ingredients are listed as they appear on labels along with a plain English translation any 8th grader would easily understand. No industry jargon to hide behind. If ground up layer hens are in that bag – I want to know. I may or not buy it, but I demand to know simply because I believe I have the right to know what exactly I am buying. I do not owe anybody an explanation or justification why I buy or don’t buy a certain product.

    I want that source printed on every bag and can

    I want pet food manufacturers to either tell me what exactly is in the food, or tell me what exactly is NOT in the food. Works for growth hormones on milk. Why not on pet food?

    Pipe dream: an FDA produced video showing the entire pet food manufacturing process. From the collection of dead cows from the dairy to the collection of food waste from grocery stores to the fancy bags and cans. I want to see if the ear tags of slaughtered cattle are removed prior to cooking, or do they get cooked too? Along with the pesticides they contain?

    1. Sandra Murphey

      I have my doubts that they’ll admit to using euthanized pets from shelters, which also include medicines that present an even bigger health issue, as a recent recall indicated. There’s a YouTube video on how these euthanized animals are collected, and dumped into vats at pet food manufacturers. It’s pretty horrible to watch, so be warned.

      1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

        Sandra, Can you please e- mail me @ Catadoptionscpr@aol.Com & tell me the exact thing I need to type into U-tube please, thanks

  4. Sondra

    I have 2 cats. I want to buy canned cat food that is

    * Species appropriate (meat only**) and complete & balanced nutrition (**perhaps with added ingredients like organic pumpkin for digestive health/nutrition)
    * Meets protein/fat/carb/water/phosphorus/calories requirements defined at
    * Made from certified organic, certified humanely raised & finished animals/fish
    * Not made from fish raised in filthy fish farms that are fed species inappropriate diets or GMOs/pesticides
    * Not made from animals/fish given antibiotics
    * Not made from genetically modified fish/animals
    * Made from 100% organic grass & hay fed herbivores – not fed GMO products or products grown with pesticides
    * Made from healthy, human grade meat/fish non-diseased, non-rotting
    * Labeled exactly where ALL ingredients are sourced, whether wild or farmed, and exactly where ALL locations of processing are – “Distributed By” and other similarly phrased labels are NOT an allowed substitute! If alternative processing facilities are used, list All of them
    * Labeled and certified for all these things
    * Labels that indicate whether any components of high-mercury species of fish are in the ingredients
    * Fairly priced
    * Fair Trade certified

    That’s my first pass …

    1. Kimimela

      Sondra – Brilliant – YES!! DITTO!!!!

  5. Sondra

    * As few ingredients as possible
    * No chemicals/preservatives
    * BPA_free cans

  6. Craig

    Ingredient specific wishlist:
    – Country of origin for primary protein and carb ingredients
    – Are meat ingredients USDA approved (not merely inspected facility)

    Not quite ingredient specific but would like to see this included for all foods:
    – digestibility percentage
    – required (not voluntary) display of calorie value per standardized measurement
    – individual nutrient values for a formula (not just GA ranges)
    – percentage of calories from fat vs protein displayed

    1. Mandy B

      I think country of origin for each or all ingredients + manufacturing location should be listed all on all pet foods. Agree with you on the exact nutrient values as well.

  7. Ms. B Dawson

    The question is ‘What do pet parents want from an ingredient statement?’

    First, I must express profound appreciation that AAFCO is offering consumers the opportunity to voice an opinion in this matter. It is my hope that going forward consumers, regulatory agencies and manufacturers will work together to better the nutrition for all the animals – small and large – that share our lives.

    Ingredient labels are valuable things. They provide information upon which we humans make choices for our pets. Without clear understandable information, those choices cannot be made by a lay person. When consumers read “chicken” on an ingredient label, it is defined by a human’s perception that “chicken” means something that would be recognized in the meat case at the grocery store. This may seem a silly notion to those who spend their days purchasing ingredients for pet food and deal with powdered meat proteins and fractionated foods but consumers are not privy to that manufacturing process and so have the idea that whole fresh chickens – or peas or carrots – are being ground up and canned for their pet’s enjoyment. They don’t realize that spoiled food still wrapped in it’s container is acceptable to the industry. That a dead animal that has lain in a field bloating is deemed to be safe once cooked beyond recognition. That parts of a cow dissected out of the carcass by USDA inspectors because they are unfit for human consumption are considered a usable protein for pet food.

    For a decade, I watched the shocked expressions on my customers’ faces when I recited the industry definition for “by-products”, “meat” and “digest” or explained 3D meat. They had no idea such low quality ingredients were allowed in pet food. Further, they have no idea where to find that information. AAFCO’s website doesn’t make it easy to find those definitions.

    What do pet parents want from an ingredient statement? Clear truth. Say it’s chicken not meant for human consumption or allow those companies who do use human grade ingredients to put that on their label in bold print. Nabisco Grahams ingredient panel breaks down flour this way: Unbleached Enriched Flour (Wheat Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron,Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B1), Riboflavin (Vitamin B2), Folic Acid). If human consumers need to be informed about what’s in simple flour, shouldn’t a pet label offer similar information? For instance: Meat-by-products (parts of slaughtered animals not including muscle).

    Labels that encourage informed choices enable consumers to support whatever level of nutrition they deem acceptable for their pets. Some consumers will be fine with low quality ingredients just as some people think fast food is a good diet. Those of us who seek better nutrition for our pets should be supported in that quest by regulatory agencies such as AAFCO.

  8. Pam Gerstner

    My biggest concern is sourcing: where are ALL the ingredients coming from. Made in the USA just doesn’t get it anymore. Susan, you will have a plethora of concerns when you speak. I support you completely.

  9. Mandy B

    I think the Phosphorus levels should be required to be listed on the nutritional labels of all pet foods. Those of us with cats and dogs with chronic renal failure who don’t follow the conventional prescription pet food diet need to have this information to make informed decisions about what to feed our pets.

    1. Barbara

      I also would like to know the phosphorous levels as one of my cats has been diagnosed with early stage chronic kidney disease, and I want more options than just the prescription foods.

      Dry Matter Analysis of the ingredients, in addition to Guarantee Matter Analysis, would be helpful information for assessing the suitability of pet food for animals with certain dietary restrictions.

      Country of origin for every single ingredient is also extremely important to me. What good is an otherwise, quality US made prime ingredient food if the one additive from China, appearing much lower on the label, is going to be the thing that sickens, or God forbid, kills my animals? My trust in China has been destroyed, never to return, due to their utterly ruthless manufacturing practices.

      Also, do we really need some of those questionable ingredients like carrageenan and selenite?

      BPA-free cans.

      Thanks for the opportunity to speak!

  10. Marsha

    I want everything sourced in the USA only. Tell us which states it is sourced from. No GMO’s, no antibiotics or growth hormones in anything, only fresh products that are human grade. Meats should be human grade only. All manufactures USDA inspected just like human food, that includes Purina. No manufacturer being allowed to buy off the USDA or FDA. No salt in any dog food, as that does not help those dogs with CHF, (Congestive Heart Failure). So many dogs have CHF including one of mine.
    No myotoxins or any other toxins. No diseased animals or euthanized animals used at all!
    Use human food only. Maybe we will be able to cut the cancer rate and CHF down on our animals if we use real Food, instead of fake meat and other things.
    Label dog and cat food just like you do for humans.

  11. Kathryn

    I want to know the percentage of MEAT AFTER the moisture is removed;
    I want to know the amount/percentage of Carbohydrates, Fats, Fiber, Moisture
    I want MAXIMUM and MINIMUM on Protein/Fat/Carbs/Moisture
    I want to know the REAL caloric value of the food, not the ‘AFFCO’ formula – I want the ATWATER system used.
    I want to know where the base mix is sourced, assembled, and what it contains.

  12. Kathryn

    I want ALL the ingredients inspected and approved for human consumption;
    I want any included ‘finished’ products also made from USDA Insp/Approved ingredients
    I want the FDA to level the playing field.
    I want to get rid of the ‘Double Standard’ for animal / pet feed vs food intended for humans
    ‘Rules’ are made to be broken – re-write the ‘Rules’ and make them LAWS.

  13. Robert Dale Sellers

    All the suggestions so far are excellent. After watching Dead Pets Don’t Lie on Skywatch TV, all I’ll add is this–ban rendered pets from pet food. I was a kid when I first watched the movie Soylent Green. The similarities are disturbing. Mine never ended up in the food chain because I brought them home for burial. Never leave yours with the vet!

    1. Cheryl Mallon-Bond

      Robert, Are you saying that when you pay for an animal to be euthanized (because of severe illness /no quality of life left) & you are paying for this animal to be cremated @ a legal crematory, that this animal is given from my veterinarian to a Rendering company?!!!!!! Wth!!!!!! Please will you email me @ & tell me all you know about this please!? Thanks.

      1. Susan Thixton Author

        Hi Cheryl – to my understanding is that no – if you had an animal euthanized at the vet’s office and made arrangements for cremation, that animal would be cremated. Where animals end up in rendering facilities is when the owner does not make any arrangements for burial or cremation at a vet – and at animal shelters that do not have a crematory (most cannot afford it).

  14. Laurie Matson

    All I can add is to tell them thank you for asking for consumer input!! I think everything has been covered in the comments above. thank you Susan, Mollie and Jean for all YOUR efforts too!!!

  15. DAWN

    I want my pet to be fed quality food. She is my family and I want her healthy.
    I want to know if it’s GMO
    being told it’s Human grade is not sufficient because I won’t poison myself with most FDA approved foods – like Round-up GMO or sprayed with RU or Agent Orange sprayed foods [and same poisonous chemicals manufactured under different name/company]
    no chemicals
    no dead animal meal
    all ingredients inspected and certified clean of chemicals/hormones/antibiotics
    where is it manufactured and where did the ingredients come from –
    it’s a shame FDA and USDA are really of little significance since they are approving so many foods and drugs that are more disease causing then helping.
    I want to see organic and free range

    1. DAWN

      I also want to see the correct ingredients fully disclosed w/o flavors or proprietary formula that allows for unhealthy ingredients
      I want to see transparency from manufacture
      I want to see all nutritional information including true meat content w/o water and protein via meat and via each other source.

  16. Kris

    Please remove Copper from the ingredients of all dog food. Liver disease is increasing exponentially and the vets and specialists believe it’s coming from the food. We do not want copper in our dog’s food. Such a small amount is necessary for good health that adding any is too much and does permanent damage leading to death.

  17. lili

    I’d like to know the percentage of spoiled ingredients. Such as “corn meal, of which 10% is considered unfit for human consumption due to spoilage/mold.

  18. Martha Jones

    After reading all of the above comments, I think it’s safe to say — WE WANT THE TRUTH!!!

  19. Sherrie Ashenbremer

    I want to know where it comes from. Exactly what county? Is it GMO? I want to know exactly what is in the dog food. Do the can’s have a BPA lining? How much protein and fat? What about chemicals? I want a healthy dog food, not some dog food sprayed with chemicals, nothing from China. Organic healthy foods. Thanks you

  20. jan beardsley-blanco

    with a cat allergic to just about everything except turkey, I want a label to tell me if it’s turkey only – none of this “poultry liver” stuff – I don’t dare use that cause it’s probably chicken and my girl is allergic to chicken. other proteins included??? I wanna know………

    and including everything else everyone else listed!


    NO GMO

    the truth – and only the truth

  21. Laura U

    First of all, I appreciate the chance to let regulatory people know what is important to consumers.

    I experience a LOT of frustration dealing with many pet food companies. One issue is the “hype double talk” some of them respond to questions with. They dance all around the question with comments of the “goodness” of their food but don’t directly answer what I asked. An example is about sourcing. I get comments like “We make every effort to source form the US when possible and all of our sources are top quality………etc.” That tells me nothing really. They also will not reveal what is in some of their “natural flavors”. I have an allergic dog…I NEED to know what is in that food. I now cross them off my list. Some outright lie and that is maddening.

    It’s hard to find nutritional information that is detailed with many companies. Some respond with good information but some won’t give out an analysis or provide information on sourcing and other issues.

    Here is a list of things that I think are important to have on the label. If I think of anything else I will send another post.

    1. IF A FORMULA IS CHANGED the label MUST reflect that immediately…not 6 months later! It is very dangerous to have an inaccurate label on foods. This is crucial.

    2. IF A FORMULA IS CHANGED: the label somewhere, should have an alert for at least 6 months to let consumers know there has been a change.

    3. Replace the Guaranteed analysis with a calorie based nutritional analysis. This should include carbs. There is plenty of room on most labels if the company cuts some of the advertising.

    4. EVERY complete food company MUST have a more detailed calorie based nutritional analysis available upon consumer request either on their web site or send it out upon a phone request. There is no excuse for companies to say they only want to give this information to a veterinarian or not give it at all. We have a right to know what we are giving our animals and for those of us looking to control certain nutrient or mineral consumption, it’s necessary.

    5. If animal feed ingredients are used it MUST be at least stated and better yet listed.

    6. If a company sources ingredients from human grade suppliers, they should state that on the label (with no hassles from regulatory bodies). If it will be processed in a pet food processing plant, that can be stated. Consumers are smart enough to understand what this means!!

    7. List the sourcing of ALL ingredients including vitamins/ mineral mixes. IF THE SOURCING SUPPLIERS VARY, that needs to be noted as alternative sourcing suppliers. I don’t care if a food is “made in the USA” (or wherever) – that is useless information. What goes in that food and how the ingredients are handled are what counts. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: re: this could be on web sites and available with a phone call.

    8. PLEASE PLEASE come up with specific legal definitions for terms describing ingredients that all manufacturers must abide by.
    A.There could be ONE CENTRAL site (maybe FDA????? or????) with a list of those terms for consumer use. An example is “natural.” It really doesn’t mean anything. I think we are all tired of hype and would prefer that descriptions be clear information.

    9. List information on protein sources. Is it grass fed? Is it raised without hormones and/ or antibiotics? Is it free range? Is it organic? Is fish wild caught or farmed? Is it 4D?

    10. Other ingredients than protein: List if they are GMO free, organic or whatever.

    11. Note the food manufacturer name and location.

    12. Clearly state a guarantee that complete foods meet AAFCO minimum (at least) requirements for the needs of the animal it is being fed to. (Ex. adult, nursing mothers, growth, etc). If it does not, it should not be called complete.

    13. State if INGREDIENTS are inspected by USDA (or comparable agency in Canada, New Zealand, etc). It’s nice that plants are inspected, but I want the ingredient quality inspected too.

    14. NO “SECRET” INGREDIENTS can be on labels. No “proprietary” things like “natural flavors” can be used if what makes up that item are not listed in the ingredient list.
    A. This is important for a number of reasons. One is that severely sensitive / allergic animals can die if they ingest minute amounts of some substances.

    15. For people who own allergic animals, it would be great if possible cross contamination risk would be stated as it is on human labels. (Example: product contains no peanuts, but it is processed in a plant that also processes peanuts and tree nuts.) Consumers can contact manufacturers and then processing plants but it would be so helpful to have this included.

    I hope this helps and is specific enough to labeling. I think the most important point is that we need to KNOW. Clear definitions and labeling can provide so much more information than they currently do.

    Thanks again for this opportunity to express concerns and thank you Susan for all that you are doing.
    Laura Uran

  22. Valerie Noyes

    For me, first and foremost, I want to know the country of origin of each ingredient. I also want the TRUTH, although I’m quite sure that is too much to ask for. I want each manufacturer to state plainly where their proteins come from. 4D meats? Then say so. If they think there is nothing wrong with using rotting corpses in dog food, then own it. Are they using fabricated meat? YES consumers need to be informed of that. AAFCO has lots their collective minds if they believe consumers do not need to know.

    I would also like clear nutritional labels, similar to human labels. “Crude” numbers mean absolutely nothing. And finally, I would love to see an easy to read dictionary of ingredients. The public should know exactly what “meat and bone meal” means, where it comes from and how it is produced. I also agree with everything everyone else has already responded! God bless you Susan, I don’t know how you do this and not lose your mind.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I’ve never claimed to be sane 😉

  23. Teresa Johnson

    First Susan a very BIG thank you for the seemingly endless amount of time and energy you put into your work fighting for our pets and us. You and your team rock.
    Many have already voiced my concerns – GMO/organic labeling, sourcing info, a more honest analysis such as calories. I’d like to see pet FOODS treated as well or better than producing, packaging and marketing human foods are. I’d like the “industry” to wake up to the sensitivities we have for our animal companions and refer to their (pets) diets as food, not feed. …or make changes, especially for some of the bigger manufacturers labeling and advertising i.e. Purina People Chow (after all, isn’t that pretty much what Purina breakfast cereals are?!).

  24. Nina Wolf

    Congratulations, Susan! This opportunity is a huge indicator that all your work is leading to progress. Consumers are being invited to the table, and that is a sea change from previous decades. It may take years for our wishes to become a reality, but the fact is we now have voices, and our voices are (if grudgingly) heard. I have all faith that in the future, do to your work, our opinions will be EMBRACED and the market will respond to our concerns and desires for safe and truly nutritious food.

    Not only are your giving voice to our concerns, but you are educating. And my firm opinion is that if we can just change labeling to indicate exactly what is in the bags, the consumer choices will take care of the rest. These big manufactures respond to profit. And if people see what is in the bags, and make their choices appropriately, the profit margin for the poisoned, inedible, and dangerous foods will dwindle to such a point that they are no longer worth manufacturing.

    Consumers have a great deal of power – witness the VW scandal and plummeting stock prices. Do you think any VW dealer can move a car right now? Well, once we all know what is in the bag, we can make the same thing happen here.

    You have been working for years and years to make headway, Susan. And this is the beginning of the end for Big Pet Food.

  25. Helen Thompson

    Thank you for this opportunity, Susan.

    1.) Pet food bags must reflect ingredient changes immediately, not 6 months later. Consumers spend millions of dollars on vet visits for digestive upset due to this shady labeling process. Consumers would then have time to mix old and new food, to transition smoothly and avoid digestive upset.

    2.) All preservatives must be listed on the bag, including preservatives used for all various fish meals bought by manufacturers, already preserved, by another source. A shady practice that allows pet food manufacturers to circumvent listing potentially harmful preservatives, such as Ethoxyquin.

    3.) List on the bag, frequency that manufacturers test their purchased, already preserved, fish meal. Manufacturers and consumers must be confident that outside fish meal sources continue to adhere to the preservative listed on the bag.

    4.) Correct placement of meat on the ingredient panel. Water content must be taken into consideration.

    5.) Protein amount separated–meat protein listed and then beans, legumes, pea protein can be combined and listed separately.

    6.) Listed on bag, all countries that ingredients are purchased from.

    Thank you,
    Helen Thompson

  26. Peter

    The amount of phosphorous in a given canned food.

  27. Madeleine

    What are your challenges/frustrations with pet food ingredients?
    Can’t read the ingredients or any information on the label. It’s all conveniently small so that it’s hard to read. I also want accuracy and an industry standard of percentages regarding nutrition of what is in the can. I also want definitions of various descriptions of ingredients to be industry standardized and defined.

    If you needed to understand a pet food ingredient – where do you go to find that definition?
    I find information online and go to individual pet food manufacturers websites though I know the information is not necessarily true. Or I go to government websites. Or any website that I can find. This should not be the challenge it is. There should be an authorized website where all this information is guaranteed accurate.

    How easy or difficult is it to find the definition of a pet food ingredient?
    It is more difficult than necessary and this difficulty is unacceptable in a country where freedom of information is critical to our right to know.

    Do you understand the definition?
    Often not as the information is meant to confuse and hide the origins and contents of foods. This is unacceptable.

    Does the list of ingredients on a pet food label give you the right information? What do you like or dislike?
    The listing of ingredients are too often hard to read and that information, when read under a microscope, is meant to obfuscate the often toxic ingredients that are enclosed.

    What do you want the pet food label to tell you (in reference to ingredients only)?
    I want the pet food label to be accurate and truthful about the food enclosed. I have had Chronic Renal Failure cats that had to have certain diet requirements and untruthful labeling puts those cats at risk. I also want origins of where all the food comes from as there are countries like China that have lax laws as to manufacturing and raising of animals. I WANT THE TRUTH AND ALL THE TRUTH!

  28. lori

    COMPLETELY AGREE with Sondra:

    * Species appropriate (meat only**) and complete & balanced nutrition (**perhaps with added ingredients like organic pumpkin for digestive health/nutrition)
    * Meets protein/fat/carb/water/phosphorus/calories requirements defined at
    * Made from certified organic, certified humanely raised & finished animals/fish
    * Not made from fish raised in filthy fish farms that are fed species inappropriate diets or GMOs/pesticides
    * Not made from animals/fish given antibiotics
    * Not made from genetically modified fish/animals
    * Made from 100% organic grass & hay fed herbivores – not fed GMO products or products grown with pesticides
    * Made from healthy, human grade meat/fish non-diseased, non-rotting
    * Labeled exactly where ALL ingredients are sourced, whether wild or farmed, and exactly where ALL locations of processing are – “Distributed By” and other similarly phrased labels are NOT an allowed substitute! If alternative processing facilities are used, list All of them
    * Labeled and certified for all these things
    * Labels that indicate whether any components of high-mercury species of fish are in the ingredients
    * Fairly priced
    * Fair Trade certified
    * As few ingredients as possible
    * No chemicals/preservatives
    * BPA-free cans


  29. Terri Janson

    Great comments everyone! Don’t think I need to add anything more to this as I want what you all have mentioned as well. Thank you so much Susan for all you do for us and our furry loved one!!!

  30. Heather

    Please give a big thank-you to those involved in presenting this seminar and for providing us, the consumers, with the opportunity to share our desires for pet food. I know this would not be made possible without your efforts, Susan. A huge thank-you to you and the Team!

    What are your challenges/frustrations with pet food ingredients?
    -Challenges: As it pertains to cats especially, finding true species appropriate, balanced diets. (No, I’m not talking about meat-only diets with vit/min packs added; see last answer on why.) Also “clean” ingredients (organic, non-GMO, free range, antibiotic/steroid/hormone free, humane slaughter practices).
    -Frustrations: Regarding meats – are beef, salmon and other fish, venison, and pork really “species appropriate” for cats?? I’ve yet to see a cat – feral or otherwise – attempt to hunt and/or eat any of those animals naturally. Hence why I do not purchase foods with such ingredients for my cat, yet those ingredients line store shelves. Turkey is even a stretch – they’re quite large prey! “Meat protein” does not exactly = suitable, nutritious, easily digestible, balanced protein. It should be specific to the species being fed.
    -Also important/frustrating is pH balancing or lack thereof. Animal meat-only, high protein percentage, etc can create an acidic environment thus inflammatory condition in the bodies of both dogs and cats. This is a problem and should be corrected/addressed in pet food formulations.
    -Starches (like potato starch) and thickeners (gums, seaweeds, etc) in “grain-free” foods are frustrating. Often the carbs are still quite high and the consumer doesn’t realize that. What wild mouse is eating potato starch and not bits of the entire potato anyway? And what prey animal is “held together” by a thickener.

    If you needed to understand a pet food ingredient – where do you go to find that definition?
    -This website’s search function or search engine like Google

    How easy or difficult is it to find the definition of a pet food ingredient?
    -Easy on this site and a Google search, only because I know to look at reputable and independent sites (ie not AAFCO/Big Feed/Pharm corporations) for accurate and less “spun” information.

    Do you understand the definition?
    -See above

    Does the list of ingredients on a pet food label give you the right information? What do you like or dislike?
    -How would a consumer know if it’s the “right information?” That’s part of the problem! Standards are weak or at bare minimum and proper, for-the-animal nutritional education is severely lacking (even among most veterinarians). Or it’s tainted “education” by Big Feed, as I found in a personal experience with a Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist. She may have well been wearing a shirt that read: ‘This info has been brought to you by Hills (and it’ll cost you $400).’ Shameful.
    -Some smaller brands (think high-quality or raw food companies) are more likely to indicate if ingredients like free range, hormone free flesh and organic ingredients etc are used, which is awesome. I am far more likely to buy those brands. Actually, I do buy them.
    -Dislikes are covered in my answer to question 1 and in the answer below (what’s missing on the label).

    What do you want the pet food label to tell you (in reference to ingredients only)?
    -If humane slaughter practices are used or NOT used for animal-based ingredients. All labels should carry this distinction.
    -Country of origin. This has to be made clear, as “Made in the USA” can often have ingredients sourced from other countries. Yes, the final product might be “made” in the US, but the ingredient sources might be from elsewhere. It’s misleading for sure.
    -Human grade ingredients (which seems to be in discussion already?)
    -Percentages of each ingredient listed. This also includes things listed as “rabbit” or “chicken” – is it whole rabbit or whole chicken with natural ratio of bones and organs included or just flesh? If “fresh” or “ground bone” is used, is it in a natural ratio to that of a prey animal? Or is it in large, filler-type quantity thus delivering too much calcium? If a label reads: “chicken, ground bone, chicken liver” to start, is the second ingredient one measurement-unit less than the first? Who knows. Also, what kind of “bone” is it? Is it random conglomeration of different species’ bone or bone from the primary flesh source? There needs to be more clarity for sure.
    -Sources of “fish oil.” What kind of fish? Large, mercury-laden species like tuna – which carries an additive appeal for cats? Consumers should know what type of fish is used for oil, especially because of known mercury toxicities in larger fish species.
    -Ratios of Omega-3 and Omega-6. Consumers should know if additional Omega-3 supplementation is needed (as is sadly often the case).
    -Sources of synthetic vit/min packs ie are they China based?
    -DMB percentages, including carbohydrates and ALL vitamins and minerals on label. Vit/min amounts should be based on available levels AFTER processing, NOT before, because high-heat denatures many vitamins.
    -GMO labeling – both GMO used and GMO free
    -Free range, antibiotic, steroid, pharm drug, and growth hormone free, organic, pesticide free, etc labeling of ingredients

    And anything else you can tell me – what you want from pet food ingredients – that will be great.
    -Cats and dogs in nature consume most of the prey’s body – not just the meat. I’ve seen dogs go at dead deer tail-end first; and watched cats devour a mouse, rabbit, or bird while leaving behind a couple organs and feathers. Prey eats grains, vegetables, grasses, nuts, seeds, fruits. Thus in nature, cats and dogs consume those non-meat items in partially digested form. I’d love to see an appropriate, natural ratio of clean prey protein, bone, organs, AND clean prey-derived (e.g. the profile found in wild prey GI tracts) plant-based carbohydrates added in appropriate, natural ratio amounts. Appropriate fiber is also important obviously. (“Clean” meaning GMO free, organic, human slaughter practices, antibiotic/pharm drug/steroid/hormone free, etc, to reiterate.) I’d love brands, for cat food, to “Build a mouse,” as Anita Frasier says. I’ll add: Build a wild mouse, not a lab mouse!
    -Dry cat food is problematic. In a perfect world, I’d like to see it eliminated as an option altogether and a reduction of cost for wet food (canned and raw versions) be implemented so it’s made more affordable for those who know better yet buy dry food because of budget constraints. Some consumers just don’t know better and think dry is fine because it’s offered to consumers on store shelves and in vet offices. Elimination would remedy that problem.
    -The grain-free movement at this point has created sort of an imbalance and its original good intentions of eliminating the overabundance of fractured and cereal grains from pet foods has shifted into overboard and marketing appeal territory. This needs to be corrected.
    -It’s very frustrating how it seems like manufacturers are all over the place in a free-for-all when it comes to creating an appropriate ingredient profile. It should not be left up to the interpretation or creative license by those selling the product; they have self-interest there. And as I mentioned before, standards are on the weak side. Pet food is important; providing nutritious food is critical! Companies should formulate for the modern companion animal species, not for popular fad-type trends, human appeal, some “ancestral” story (because genetic codes evolve; my cat is not a lion and that dog is not a wolf), or industry convenience/profit (ie some place to dump leftovers). And regulatory boards should be acting as representatives of not only the consumer, but of the animals, thus not swayed or “educated” by the manufacturers/corporations selling product.

    Thank you.

  31. Christine

    I very much want statements of quality to be allowed on the label. If a company is actually using sustainably sourced human grade meats, etc. They should be allowed to state it. Those stating it and are found to be violating this should be fined. This of course goes back to needing better definitions of food and feed grade, as well as regulatory follow through. Companies who are making the effort to source good ingredients and manufacture them safely with a recipe designed to benefit the species it is designed to feed should not be disallowed from stating it on their product.

    Every ingredient should be listed, whether or not the company added it themselves or purchased the ingredient in its finished form. The obvious problems with the current system are things like ethoxyquin in fish meals. I very much agree with the folks that point out that our own ingredient labels contain this sort of info. If a bread uses a flour, all of the components of that flour must be listed. Same with things like chocolate chips in a boxed cake mix – the chocolate chips were likely purchased by the cake mix company, but all of the ingredients used to make them are listed on the label.

    The “laws” stated in FDA materials must be enforced. If it says euthanized animals are not suitable, then these materials should be tested for regularly and the presence of euthanizing drugs should be actionable. Raw materials must not contain any elements that are already stated in FDA rules to be disallowed.

    Minimums and maximum levels must be listed on the labels for all variables listed (fat, protein, etc). Pet food companies will tell you that living up to exact nutrient breakdowns are not possible due to the variability of fresh ingredients, but minimums and maximums should be possible. Knowing the minimum amount of fat, for example, is not helpful for choosing a food for a dog with a tendency towards pancreatitis if the maximum levels are not stated.

    Good luck with this Susan – hope some progress can be made.

  32. For the Love of Jessie

    From the comments you already received the ammo you need. But I would like to add my five cents, that is, I want dog food manufacturers to eliminate copper and phosphate from all receipes. I would pay more now for dog food without these two ingredients, then pay dearly later.

  33. Anthony Hepton

    Just a couple of things, SAFE must mean proven to be safe for ALL ingredients, with data published and available for review. The other is regarding nutrition, meeting AAFCO minimum analytical requirements is not sufficient if the end products are not digestible by the animal being fed. Polymerized proteins may be of little nutritional value even though the calculated protein nitrogen meets AAFCO target.The same can be said about many other nutrients.The hundreds of “scientists and nutritionists” employed by the pet food manufacturers are often working to just make the AAFCO numbers with the cheapest ingredients, period.

  34. Denise

    How can I be sure the food is free of mold, mildew, toxic chemicals, etc.? How can I be sure the food was made in a humane manner from animals that were treated humanely and from unsick animals? How can I be sure all of the packaged ingredients are made in the USA?

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