I purchased the research paper published by Chapman University and I reached out to the professor/publisher. While I can’t give you the full paper to read (it is not free for public presentation), I can give you a few more details from the paper.
I sent Dr. Rosalee Hellberg of Chapman University a request for the names of the pet foods, and I also asked the question if the “non-specific meat ingredient that could not be identified” was tested for dog or cat DNA. While we wait for response (don’t get your hopes up), I purchased the full report from the University for a few clues to what foods were tested.
Many of the pet foods tested contained a by-product ingredient. Some contained generic such as ‘meat by-product’, others contained specific such as beef by-product. Many of the foods contained animal fat and animal digest. Of pet foods using these two ingredients – almost all contained a full mix of animal species (chicken, beef, pork, turkey, lamb, and some even goat). Proving that these rendered ingredients are just a mix-mash of animal parts (Ugh). But some of the pet foods tested contained no by-products or rendered ingredients. Showing that even – we can assume – higher priced pet foods were fraudulent to label claims.
A few examples from the study…
Sample number P002 – Dog food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the pet food are: “Deboned beef, Beef broth”. The testing found no beef – only pork.
Sample number P003 – Dog food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the pet food label are: “Chicken broth, Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Chicken liver, Beef liver, Lamb”. All species were found in this food except turkey. Turkey was listed on the dog food label but not found in the food.
Sample P008 – Dog food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the label: “Turkey, Pork liver, Pork Plasma, Chicken fat”. Testing found: “beef, chicken, turkey, pork”. Beef was included in this pet food but beef was not listed on the label.
Sample P013 – Cat food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the cat food label: “Pork, Pork broth, Pork liver”. Testing found: “Beef, Chicken, and Pork”. Beef and chicken were not listed on the pet food label but were included in the cat food.
Sample P014 – Cat food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the cat food label: “Chicken, Chicken liver, Pork by-products”. Testing found: “Beef, chicken, and pork”. Beef was not listed on the pet food label but was included in the cat food.
Sample P016 – Cat food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the cat food label: “Beef, Beef broth, Beef liver, Lamb liver, Venison, Lamb, Chicken meal”. Testing found: “Chicken, Turkey, and Pork”. Beef was the first meat ingredient listed on this cat food label – no beef was found. Turkey and Pork are not listed in the cat food ingredients but testing showed these ingredients were found in the pet food.
Sample number P017 – Cat Food (wet). Meat ingredients listed on the cat food label: “Liver (turkey), Turkey, Meat by-product, Chicken”. Testing found: “Chicken and Goat”. This pet food was a ‘turkey’ cat food – but testing found no turkey.
Sample number P019 – Dog Food (dry). Meat ingredients listed on the dog food label: “Chicken, Chicken meal, Beef fat”. Testing found: “Beef, Lamb, Chicken, Turkey, and Pork”. This chicken and beef fat dog food included 3 other animal species that were not listed on the label (lamb, turkey and pork).
Sample number P035 – Dog Treats. Meat ingredients listed on the dog treat label: “Bacon, Bacon fat, Beef”. Testing found: “Chicken”. No bacon or beef was found through testing in this dog treat.
Sample number P045 – Cat Treats. Meat ingredients listed on the cat treat label: “Chicken, Chicken meal”. Testing found: “Chicken and Pork”. Pork ingredient was not listed on the pet treat label but was included in the cat treat.
Also from the actual published paper on this study, we learn that all of these pet foods were purchased from retail stores in Orange County, CA and online during July and August 2013.
While we don’t know the names of these pet foods and pet treats, we do know that this study was sort of ‘a snapshot in time’ of the true conditions pet food consumers face. It is a picture – the reality – proving that pet foods are lying to consumers (whether intentional or accidental). This ‘snapshot” is solid University testing. Not hearsay or anecdotal evidence.
With testing, one batch of pet food could contain the exact ingredients listed on the label and the very next batch could contain ‘surprise’ meat ingredients. It has been shared with me through the years (from numerous insiders) this is standard in the pet food industry for various reasons. The most common – to keep ‘the line’ going. As example, if a manufacturer runs out of chicken they can do one of two things…stop the manufacturing and wait until a chicken source is found; or get another ingredient no matter what it is as quickly as possible to keep manufacturing in operation. It has been shared with me, in many cases manufacturers will not stop the manufacturing line. They will source whatever ingredient they can to keep the line going.
Just as I am aware of this occurring in pet food manufacturing – I know with 100% certainty that regulatory authorities are aware this occurs too. Manufacturers need to be held accountable. Regulatory authorities (State Department of Agriculture and FDA) need to put the pet food consumer first, industry second.
I encourage everyone that is infuriated by these test results to write your state and federal lawmakers. Example brief message…
Chapman University just published a study (Identification of meat species in pet foods using a real-time polymerase chain reaction assay) in which DNA testing found 20 of 52 pet foods/treats were mislabeled (38%). These pet foods/treats either contained one or more meat ingredients not listed on the label – or did not contain a meat ingredient that was listed on the label. Pet food consumers are being lied to.
Pets, just like humans, have serious food allergies. Consumer spend thousands of dollars on testing for food allergies and treatment. What if a pet suffers allergic reactions to an ingredient not disclosed on the label? Pet food fraud should be taken seriously and manufacturers should be held accountable. Regulatory authorities need to hold manufacturers accountable for the products they manufacture. I’m asking you to take swift action to further investigate food fraud within the pet food industry.
We might not have the names – but we do have the proof. This proof is powerful. Please write your government representatives.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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