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  1. Ian

    I would be very curious to know which offenders were contracted out to non-company-owned manufacturing facilities and which were made in-house. This is always my suspicion with contracted production facilities, that they can (intentionally or accidentally) put whatever they want in the mix and the pet food maker might never know….. However if it’s made in-house then it’s outright dishonesty I guess unless they pass the blame on to the renderer. Did Chapman notify the pet food companies that were found to have mislabeled product?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Very good question. If they respond to me (I am hopeful) I will ask.

  2. Jan H

    Excellent report of truth. I pray this will blow the lid wide open and expose the fraudulent practices that are being done behind closed doors in the name of “quality” pet food. You are doing magnificent work and through people like yourself this is how change is brought about. Thank you for your hard work. May we all take action and refuse to keep quiet until change is brought about and companies are held responsible for their lies.

  3. Peg

    Oooohhh this really does twist my liver.
    How about all the cat and dog owners who spend a fortune at the vet and the determination through expensive RAST testing that the fur kid is allergic to………pick one…..chicken, beef and in my very expensive case…….fish
    You read labels until your eyes fall out of your head and then this research comes to light……ingredients are not accurately listed! I wonder too, if the same holds true for all the poor human souls with IBS…….perhaps, and I am being sarcastic, our human food labels are inaccurate as well……….

    I for one prepare my own pet food and much to my vet’s chagrin, she can’t understand why they are so healthy, no one needs a dental and was I really sure my 14 year old was 14??

    Because of all of Susan’s hard work and all the hard work of TAPF contributors……thank you all for helping me keep my fur balls safe and healthy!!!

  4. Gitta

    I wonder if Consumer Reports would be willing to do DNA testing on pet food. Yes, there is controversy about the quality of ingredients. And yes, in the past Consumer Reports went off into the big-pet food field in my opinion. But, this is different. This is black and white. A listed ingredient is in the bag or it isn’t. Nobody has to discuss the nutritional quality of that ingredient. That is what Consumer Lab does. They test supplements to see if they actually contain what the label says and do provide names.

    I realize they could only test a small portion of the huge market. But it could send a powerful message. We can wait forever for politicians to do something and even longer for laws to be enforced. But if consumers start to leave tested products on store shelves and most likely start to distrust the brand – changes could happen quickly.

    And maybe our association’s testing could start there. Does the bag or can contain what they claim on the label. I think that is an easier battle than the debate over nutritional quality. Maybe our concerns over quality of ingredients and origin of ingredients skipped one step. This is not the first university study to use DNA testing. Years ago UC Davis (I think) tested foods for lamb DNA and came to the same conclusions: no lamb where the label claimed lamb. Perhaps the basic step should be to find out if the bag or can contain what the label says. If they don’t – why would I believe anything else a maker says or pledges? If my dog is allergic to beef it doesn’t matter where that beef comes from. What matters is that I can be sure that a bag that does not list beef as an ingredient is indeed free of any beef.

  5. june lay

    I am disgusted by the info given that they replace ingredients with others when the one listed runs out. The pet food industry is one of the largest, most profitable and was not affected by the recession and how misleading this is from all their promotions.
    Thank goodness I cook for my Sophie, and I will share thisas much as possible hope everyone does too.

  6. Becky Brooks

    This feels like a kick in the gut. Is there a list anywhere of trustworthy pet food companies or do I have to cook for my pets?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Don’t give up hope – there are trustworthy companies. Call them, email them. Ask difficult questions. Ask them what they do to assure each batch of food they make contains the ingredients on the label. If you are comfortable with their response – give them your trust. And listen to your pet too – if your pet turns his/her nose up at a food that they typically eat – listen to them.

  7. Daniel Podobed


    I remember the earlier post regarding this topic. This is definitely concerning me. While many pets have no food issues, many others have serious sensitivities and allergic reactions when they are fed these foods. To me this is truly bad because it can directly affect the quality of life of that animal- instantly- without years build up. This also shows me there is absolutely no way to believe all of these bags are Grain Free, when the manufacturers don’t even care enough to get the proteins right. Through the sloppy practice of over-run, and poor cleaning standards facing the deadline between the next batch, I am not confident of what is contained in any of these pet foods. And when you consider there is little, to no accountability in pet food when it comes to these matters, the only way you can be 100% sure that your dog or cat is getting the proper nutrition, is to feed a home prepared meal- raw or cooked. I think part of your pledge should include a laboratory analysis from these companies, testing the foods for the ingredients guaranteed on the label they print.

    Scary stuff as usual. You would think the FDA or the state agriculture departments would be conducting regular testing to ensure pets are getting what is promised on the bag. Then again- it’s only feed after all, right?

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      You said it all – “feed”. Yes.

  8. Regina

    Susan, I wonder if you have a life outside of all that you do to look out for our furry family members!

    If you do have a dialogue with Chapman University, ask if it is at all possible to identify the brands in question. It could have been a double-blind testing procedure, which is how tests were done when I worked in a lab.

    I’ve often heard people say their dog or cat used to love a certain food, but when a fresh bag was opened, they just refused to eat it anymore. This study could answer the big question of why the pets stopped eating their food so abruptly. Some animals don’t like certain meats, so if there’s some hiding in their new bag of food, THEY KNOW!!!!

    As someone with food allergies, I rely on reading a lot of labels for myself. We are at the mercy of these corporations who don’t care about anything but the bottom line. This is awful, if they run out of a meat, they’ll just throw something else in rather than stop???? Shouldn’t they know if they have enough of something BEFORE starting the run???

    I do hope we are able to learn which pet feeds were found to be lying. I personally will never buy anything from a big conglomerate that will go into my pets’ mouths (even their toys!) because the main goal of conglomerates is to make money. They are no longer in it to make decent foods for our furry family members. But to see studies like this, I worry if MY brand is one of the liars. I hope not, but my list of trusted names seems to shrink every so often.

  9. Peter

    If the “manufacturer,” which is generally a co-packer/contract manufacturer, will often simply swap-out ingredients to “keep the line going,” that would violate the contract the company has with the client, who has singed an agreement based on the manufacturer’s commitment to follow a specific recipe.

    That, in turn, would violate the “contract” the end-use consumer has with the vendor (the company who’s name is printed on the can), who bases his/her decision to purchase on the guarantee of ingredients listed on the label. That consumer is either paying for ingredients, or, perhaps, paying to AVOID ingredients.

    This problem renders the decision-making process by the consumer ultimately impossible to conduct in a fully-educated manner.

    It’s also clear that this problem is ongoing, continuous, and well-known by the companies that pay co-packers and also, even by those who “own” their own factories. There is deceit, deception and fraud to spread around. It is a national disgrace, that the federal agency charged with administering the law that would prevent this, refuses to do so.

  10. carole henry

    I read with interest Susan’s website and posts of information and really wonder why people still buy commercial dog food. You can make up a diet for your dog that is filled with variety, healthy for your dog and cheap. Much cheaper then commercial pet food and as you are the maker of your pets food, you know what the ingredients are. The advantages are dogs who do not need teeth cleanings, do not have ear problems, have better coats and health and live to a ripe old age without the health problems that commercial fed dogs seem to have. Aching joints are not normal in old age. Inflammation seems to be a part of feeding commercial foods. You are what you eat and when the animals that go into pet foods are fed corn and other GMO grains, you may very well be adding to your pets future health problems.

    This goes for humans. I no longer feed my livestock GMO grains or prepared foods and have added fax seed to their feeds for a healthier diet and less inflammation. My first cow is still doing well at age 30 years. Having clean water and good grass to eat for her whole life, she has produced healthy cows that produce healthy calves into their late teens with no calving problems. It is ALL in what you eat.

    It just came to me, if they do it to pet foods, what about packaged human foods?

  11. Ellie

    This certainly is grounds for a huge investigation to be conducted by a party not invested in the pet food industry. The question is: does anyone care enough to do something about it? Are we so dependent of the pet food industry that we will not do what is necessary to protect our pets?
    It seems sometimes that we have been entrapped by the food industry in general because we are so dependent on prepackaged foods sold to us by a greedy, dishonest group of people that have found a way to make a fortune by defrauding the public.

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