They have done it again. Consumer Reports has published another advice to pet parents article. This time the ill-informed folks at Consumer Reports advise pet parents how to save money with the care of their pets by recommending discount and off label pet foods.
In March 2009, Consumer Reports told pet parents that ‘PRICEY PET FOOD NOT NECESSARILY BETTER‘. In this earlier article, the trusted magazine misled pet parents with incorrect pet food advise based on consulting veterinarians that work for or receive financial support from Big Pet Food. Two years later, the magazine is telling pet parents that inexpensive pet foods such as Ol’ Roy Dog Food is no different (no better, no worse) than other high priced pet foods.
Yes…Ol’ Roy Dog Food.
The ill-informed Consumer Reports message regarding pet foods is that ALL pet foods are similar in nutritional content. “A significant part of the national pet food bill these days goes for so-called premium and super-premium varieties. But “premium” has no legal definition in terms of nutritional quality, notes Sarah Abood, DVM, a small-animal clinical nutritionist and assistant dean at the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine.
“Premium or otherwise, any food you see on supermarket and pet store shelves that’s labeled “complete & balanced”, “total nutrition”, or “100 percent nutritious” should meet the minimum standards for nutrition set by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. That indicates that it’s adequate for the vast majority of healthy pets.”
Consumer Reports also recommends pet parents purchase their pet food at “the big box stores”; stating that Walmart and Target had the lowest prices. They also encourage pet parents to consider “private label brands” such as Walmart’s Ol’ Roy.
But if Consumer Reports had bothered to do just a little research, they would have learned…
That AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials – those responsible for pet food regulations) does not have an official definition of ‘premium’ pet food (this was the only statement from the Consumer Affairs advice article that had any truth to it). But, just because there is no official AAFCO definition to ‘premium pet food’ doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
If Consumer Reports had bothered to learn about the pet food industry, they could have learned about FDA Compliance Policies that allow diseased animals or euthanized animals to be processed into pet food. I wonder if the ‘experts’ at Consumer Affairs would consider a pet food to provide “total nutrition” or to be “100 percent nutritious” when it contains rendered animals rejected for use in human foods because of disease?
Consumer Reports based their advice to pet parents, on the professional opinion of one veterinarian; Dr. Sarah Abood. If Consumer Reports had bothered to do a little research, they would have learned that Dr. Sarah Abood is on the payroll of Purina Pet Food. According to a 2008 paper published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Dr. Abood serves “on an expert advisory council for the Nestlé Purina PetCare Company.”
The Consumer Reports website states “Expert Unbiased Product Ratings & Reviews”. I fail to see how a paid advisor from a pet food company would be “unbiased”.
There is no excuse. There is No excuse anymore for any consumer organization or for that matter any veterinarian (especially a veterinarian professor) to make the statement there are no differences in quality of pet food. For any that continue to make this absurd claim, I’d like to see them dine on a few meals of ‘Ol Roy. Until they eat their words, they need to stop giving ridiculous advice to pet parents.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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