The dog foods linked to nutritionally based DCM were labeled as “Complete and Balanced” pet foods. But, those Complete and Balanced foods failed thousands of dogs. Who should be held responsible for the nutritional failure of these Complete and Balanced dog foods?
Right now (August 2018) – multiple ‘Complete and Balanced’ dog foods brands are linked diet related taurine deficient dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in possibly thousands of dogs. There are more than 8,000 pet owner members of the two Taurine Deficiency Dilated Cardiomyopathy groups on Facebook. Right now (August 2018), thousands of pet owners are questioning why the ‘Complete and Balanced’ claim on their pet food label failed their dog.
What does ‘Complete and Balanced’ mean on your pet food label?
The FDA states (bold added) “You can determine if a pet food meets your pet’s nutritional needs by looking at the nutritional adequacy statement on the label. If this statement includes the phrase “complete and balanced,” then the product is intended to be fed as a pet’s sole diet and is nutritionally balanced.“
What are the consequences if the pet food is not ‘Complete and Balanced’?
Dr. Karen Becker states: “In my practice I see a growing number of patients with skeletal issues, organ degeneration and endocrine abnormalities as a result of dietary deficiencies of essential fatty acids, calcium, trace minerals and other nutrients. Well-meaning pet parents are trying to feed species-appropriate food to their dogs and cats, but what they’re missing is the need for nutritional balance.”
How is a pet food defined to be a ‘Complete and Balanced’ pet food?
To have “complete and balanced” in the nutritional adequacy statement, a dog or cat food must either:
- Meet one of the Dog or Cat Food Nutrient Profiles established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO); or
- Pass a feeding trial using AAFCO procedures.
For a product to meet one of the AAFCO nutrient profiles, it must contain every nutrient listed in the profile at the recommended level.
When you see a reference to either an AAFCO nutrient profile or a feeding trial using AAFCO procedures on a pet food label, you’re better assured that the “complete and balanced” claim is valid. Endorsements and seals of approval from other organizations are not assurances of nutritional adequacy and may be misleading.
In other words – AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) established the dog and cat food nutrient profiles.
Most pet owners believe a team of nutritionally trained scientists/veterinarians wrote the nutrient profiles pet foods are held to (to make the claim ‘complete and balanced’). But that is not actually true.
In other words, representatives of regulatory (AAFCO members) and industry (AAFCO advisors) participated in the AAFCO Pet Food Committee ‘subcommittee’ that determined what nutrients and at what percentage would be required for a ‘Complete and Balanced’ pet food. Industry and regulatory members of the subcommittee did consult the 2006 NRC (National Research Council) Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats – so the subcommittee did base the nutrient profiles on quality science, right? Sort of.
The 2006 National Research Council Nutrient Requirements of Dogs and Cats that current cat and dog food nutrient profiles are based on – was funded by the Pet Food Institute, the trade association representing the largest manufacturers of pet food.
In review: the current nutritional profiles – that have failed thousands of dogs diagnosed with diet related taurine deficient dilated cardiomyopathy – were…
- Written by an AAFCO subcommittee that included regulatory and industry members
- Based on science that was funded by the pet food industry
- Established as law to make a “Complete and Balanced” claim on the pet food label
Who should be held responsible for the “Complete and Balanced” nutritional failure?
Should the pet food industry be allowed to write their own nutritional profiles? Was AAFCO correct to base the ‘Complete and Balanced’ claim on science funded by industry?
Should a non-government “feed” regulatory association (AAFCO) that is heavily influenced by industry be provided the responsibility of developing a pet food nutrient profile? Or should that responsibility be solely charged to government authorities such as the FDA? Or who should be charged with the responsibility for determining what is truly ‘Complete and Balanced’ pet food?
Should the pet food manufacturers themselves be held accountable for the thousands of diet related taurine deficient dilated cardiomyopathy?
Personal opinion: they are all responsible and they ALL owe thousands of pet owners an answer to why their dog died or is sick because of a Complete and Balanced nutritional failure.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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