They are afraid of losing their job, so most will not talk. But when the brave few do, what we learn is horrifying. The following is what was just shared with me by a pet food manufacturing employee.
This information (with further details) has been reported to FDA, the specific State Department of Agriculture, the specific state OSHA office, and the specific state pesticide compliance office.
Batches of pet food have been recently shipped out that are below protein levels required by regulation and that do not meet the protein percentage stated on the Guaranteed Analysis on the pet food label. I was told the pet food manufacturer was well aware of the low protein, but instructed employees to ship the pet food anyway.
Of more significant concern is the recent use of “bad grains”. Recent shipments of grains were “very buggy” (bug infested grain). Pesticides were applied to the grains at the pet food plant, and then the pesticide contaminated, bug infested grains were processed into pet food. The employee I spoke with was very concerned not only to the condition of the pet food, but for employee exposure to pesticides as well.
The name of the pet food company and the exact brand name cannot be disclosed publicly (authorities are aware).
Before you get angry at this person (or me for that matter) for not disclosing the name of the pet food company here, please understand people’s jobs are at risk if they talk. These individuals – who have a family to feed, a mortgage to pay and often live in a community where good jobs are scarce – know if the company discovers who talked, they would be fired. In the past, some who reported issues to regulatory have been betrayed by the regulatory authority; the identity of the person reporting a pet food concern was ‘outed’ to the company/the employer and yes the person was fired.
Just to give you a pet food employee perspective, in most cases, when employees see a problem, it is reported to their supervisor first. Often numerous times. Almost always the problem is ignored. If that employee then goes to a regulatory authority with the complaint – and even if their identity is protected – pet food manufacturing management have a pretty good guess at who reported the issue to authorities. The employee’s life at work becomes miserable – all because they were trying to do the right thing.
Because they are taking a significant risk reporting a problem to authorities, most stay silent. But when the brave few contact me, with absolute certainty I protect their identity. I take all the information they give me – and I report the issue for them. But please know all of these individuals that talk to me are still taking a risk, they are trying their best to keep their job AND do the right thing.
For me, if I made public the company name, the plant location and the particular details of this issue – the pet food company would with certainty come after me; I would be sued. All I can do is report the issue to the proper authorities.
In this case, all regulatory authorities have some good details to investigate (more than I can say publicly here). It is my hope that this issue will be investigated and this pet food will be forced to recall.
Because I have reported issues just like this one to regulatory authorities in the past, at the recent AAFCO meeting a state regulatory authority asked to have a chat with me. We sat down and he stated “I just want you to know that we’re doing things differently now in [his state].” He assured me his state was performing more detailed inspections and that he personally was asking other states to do the same. My response to him ‘So glad you are doing that’ – and then I leaned in and lowered my voice (so no surrounding industry representative could hear) and said “because you know they are lying to you don’t ya?” I told this State Department of Agriculture representative that I talk to many different pet food company employees, and these people tell me some of the smoke and mirror tricks that pet food manufacturers pull to make regulatory believe every law is being followed. And then he said something to me that proved his state is in reality doing nothing differently, “I just can’t believe that industry would ever knowingly put an adulterated product into market.”
With absolute certainty, some pet food companies ARE KNOWINGLY putting adulterated pet food into the market. Employees of those companies try to stop it, but their hands are tied. We have to have a way to protect pet food employees when they report a concern to regulatory authorities. We need regulatory to talk to employees during inspections, away from management’s ears. Regulatory authorities need to do their job – and NOT ‘make nice’ with industry.
My suggestion to all, know your pet food company well. Ask lots of questions and if your gut tells you the answer didn’t sound right, listen to your gut. There are good companies that would never use bug infested, pesticide contaminated ingredients. But please know there are some who don’t think twice about it. Know your pet food company well.
My sincere thank you to this pet food employee.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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