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Did Purina Open the Pet Food Pandora’s Box?

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  1. B Dawson

    Pandora’s box indeed. If a company says “no by-products” on the label then there shouldn’t be any in the bag. Period.

    That said, be careful what you wish for. Pet food companies who use, as in your example, “human grade chicken 0% fibre” will produce a kibble that carries a much higher price tag. For instance, the locally grown hormone/antibiotic free ground turkey I feed as part of my guys’ diet costs $6/pound. I’m fortunate I can afford to feed 3 Afghan hounds and 8 cats (all rescues) a raw diet. Where will others turn for pet food if the price escalates? Look what’s happening to Mulligan Stew. From their website: “Unfortunately the cost of our premium ingredients continues to rise, and rather than compromise the high nutritional quality you expect from us, or raise our prices to over $100 for a 30 lb bag, we made the difficult decision to discontinue our kibble product line.”

    We need to rethink the definitions of the ingredients and what is acceptable in dog food. Companies *sell* duck feet as treats, yet we get upset if we think chicken feet are in dog food. We spend $9 for a bully stick – which is a bull penis – yet “by-products” on the ingredient list sends us into orbit.

    The USDA definition of by-products *is* nebulous and can be used to hide hideous quality ingredients just like “natural flavors” on a human food label can hide MSG. But some of the things we consider yucky are acceptable to our pets’ wild brethren as food. My yard is cat fenced but occasionally one of the guys catches a bird. I find only a few feathers left on the ground after their snack – the feet, bones, most of the feathers and all the innards are consumed. Why shouldn’t these things be used in their processed food if properly labeled and regulated?

    Only a major overhaul of the pet food industry will set things right, I’m afraid.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Completely agree there needs to be a major overhaul.

  2. Regina

    I don’t have a problem with a cat eating “non-meat” portions of an animal as it would in the wild. The problem with “by-products” in pet foods by these big conglomerates are the source of the by-products. If it’s coming from waste from other product manufacturing, it can’t be trusted.

    And speaking of trust, I don’t have any trust in Purina, for all of the reasons that are mentioned in the many comments on this site. They are just a big money-making entity, and any “love for pets” that they project is pure marketing and advertising.

  3. Peter

    You have summarized this issue well. But I don’t believe Purina is really interested in what is in pet foods. As most of the industry is, they pursue “least cost” protocols. Purina is just using a lawsuit to drum up publicity and damage the reputation of a successful competitor whose market share is growing, and in an area where Purina really doesn’t have competing products. Within days of filing, Purina had advertisements online directing consumers to the “truth” pages they created.

    In addition to your description, I believe “crude” as a descriptive term also refers to ingredients in their original, pre-rendered state. As you’ve pointed out many times on this site, that is not necessarily what the consumer ends up with in the pet food product that is actually on the store shelf.

  4. Thomas N Reedy

    Maybe it’s time for Kosher pet food.

  5. Lynn

    I read that Purina had sued Blue Buffalo a couple of weeks back. I had to laugh though as this is a case of the pot calling the kettle black. Purina has one of the worst reputations (part of the gruesome threesome known as Hill’s, Purina and Iams). If in fact Blue Buffalo is doing what Purina accuses them of, then I agree Blue Buffalo should be held accountable and so should other companies. However, that said, Purina better start looking in their own food bags as well. Those that live in glass houses should not cast stones comes to mind. They should hold all companies accountable for false advertising but then again is the FDA ever held accountable for anything either? Time will tell…Thanks for the post Susan. 🙂

  6. Ellie

    I honestly don’t understand how any intelligent human being can imagine that any healthy nutrition can be derived from any brand of such highly processed low grade ingredients.
    Good nutrition does not come out of a box or a bag. It is grown and the closer the ingredient is to it’s original state the more healthy nutrition will be derived from it.
    Our pets now suffer from the same food induced diseases that humans do. When will people wake up? The food industry, both human and pet, has been deceiving the public long enough. It is time for the truth to be told.

  7. Erik

    This has been the best article on this subject I’ve seen. Also great comments.

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