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Get Out of Enforcement, Free

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  1. alphadog

    We need to fire the FDA. They don’t. do any better with human foods or medicines. We the taxpayers are paying them.

    1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

      I think the FDA is a useless organization that sucks up tax dollars and does nothing. Oh wait, I think our government is that way! Why should they care about dog food or our food for that matter

      1. Linda wargon

        I agree!

    2. cathy

      and cut congress’ pay to the national average wage. and audit and end The Fed. and close down the depts. of energy and education and the IRS. this is/was the tea party movement’s point but they/we have been demonized by the powerful two political parties in DC. a cut in pay would yield better candidates who actually would go to DC to “serve”.

      1. Susan Hayes

        This is an absurd response. You are advocating even less regulation for pet and human food, and the environment, when more is needed (or at least more enforcement of the regulations)! The FDA might not enforce as much as they should, but they are very much needed.

  2. Silvermane

    Let me first unequivocally state that the products you have listed above are, IMHO, crap. I wouldn’t feed them to my dogs, heck, I would barely want them in the same room as my dogs, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend that anyone feed them to their pets. However, I do have an issue with meat meals being generally described as an inferior product.

    Unnamed “meat meal” or “fish meal” is likely of poor quality and questionably sourced from who knows what kind of critter who died in any number of unsuitable ways. Named meat meals on the other hand *can* be of great quality and acceptable for use in the best brands of dry food. I think you should make that distinction. As it stands, your article could be generalized and misinterpreted.

    I can’t say that I agree that meat meal shouldn’t be represented by pictures of meat on a package, either. Ultimately, it is meat. Even the best dry foods that use fresh, never frozen meat do not receive it cut in to steaks before being mushed and passed through the extruder. Does this mean that they shouldn’t be able to use pictures of meat either?

    A bigger concern should be what makes up those unnamed meat meals. Did muscle meat, like the pictures show, actually end up in the big vat of mystery meat? Probably for some of those animals. Sadly, a lot more non photogenic bits and pieces are likely in there. How do we say that named meat meals received from a clean plant using only food grade livestock can use pictures of meat on their packaging? We can’t. The only real solution, therefore, is to say that no pet food packaging can use a picture of meat in any form if we are concerned about misleading the consumer.

    1. Sherrie Ashenbremer

      Most of my friends think I am nuts for feeding my dogs a raw diet. My vet recommends that I switch to Purina, because Purina does research on dog’s health and they research healthy foods for pets. They make quality food, up to date methods and they know what is healthy for a pet. That is from my vet, and no I will not switch vets, she is awesome! We just don’t agree on dog foods. Most of my friends feed their pets Pedigree or Purina. They purchase dog food at the grocery store or the big box store, like Walmart or Meijer. It’s just a dog and the food we get at the store is healthy. Even people I know who rescue dogs and cats feed Pedigree or Purina. Or maybe Iams. Most people believe that Iams is a very high quality food. And if you are really going all out, you feed your dog Rachel Ray’s dog food.

      1. Clydale Neis

        The biggest problem here is your vet! How any vet could possibly recommend anything by Purina is baffling and troubling!! She obviously knows nothing about nutrition or quality ingredients. Or maybe she wants to keep a stream of sick pets coming to her. I would run as fast as I could!!
        If you truly want to learn about pet food, you can read “Buyer Beware” by Susan Thixton

    2. Peter

      The problem is that the “unnamed ‘meat meal’ or ‘fish meals'” are often, if not generally, made up of ONLY the “non photogenic” components. I would contend that “named” meals would not be substantially different. I would not believe that quality “photogenic” ingredients are ground into powders to be sold in bulk.

      The range of issues with “non photogenic” ingredients is appalling… documented here and by Mollie Morrissette. But as just one example, think of maggot-infested 4-D animal carcasses rotting in the sun (thanks Mollie, for the memory). They are deemed acceptable for use in pet foods pursuant to FDA compliance policy.

      And the designation for those meals as a protein source–whether named or un-named–is generally made regarding the ingredients in their “natural” (pre-rendered) state, before they are “sterilized” to kill pathogens and insects. Worse, there is no distinction between the bits before they were 4-D, and before they were rotting in the sun in a dumpster or on a dock or in a field developing mold or attracting insects.

      I would disagree that meat or fish meals could be represented by a photograph of “meat,” since I would disagree that the meals themselves could reasonably be regarded as meat.

  3. Ann Cluck

    Your posts are ones I always read!!! Very informative and important to all pet owners. I share on my facebook page Crossposting and Advocating for Animals.

  4. Linda wargon

    It is extremely sad the way we are treated by the FDA. They only care about the almighty dollar, not about us or our beloved pets. It is hard to fight them and they know it. These dog and cat food company’s ought to be ashamed of themselves! False advertising is against the law and they should be sued! It should not be tolerated!!! What can we do besides not buy from them?

    1. cathy

      we have power. our ONLY power is at the ballot box but the people who care seem to be outvoted by the people who have their hands out. what to do?

  5. Mollie Morrissette

    But wait! I just remembered another “Get Out of Enforcement Free” rule: Qualifying images! Remember? As long as a qualifying image (the kibble) is in close proximity to the misleading images – Poof! You get out of enforcement!

    The FDA told us in Denver that they “can’t” enforce it, because their lawyers told them they can’t as long as there is a qualifying image close by.

    LOVE the board game! And the video! Brilliant.

  6. Anthony Hepton

    Just a note to Silvermane on the quality of Meat and Bone meal, this product can be sourced from 4-D animals and other unknown animals which can introduce endotoxins which USDA says can cause disease. It is not a desirable ingredient to introduce protein into the diet.
    FDA chooses not to enforce their own regulations; however, it is the responsibility of the manufactures to assure that the products they sell is safe. In addition, they are required to have data that is published and available to the public, that shows their products are safe. The manufacturers have not met these requirements, and FDA chooses not to enforce these Federal requirements.

    1. Silvermane

      I don’t think you read my post very closely. I clearly was not endorsing “Meat and Bone Meal”, nor stating that all meat meals were desirable. In fact, I said quite the opposite.

      1. Anthony Hepton

        OK, I see that you are not a supporter of the ingredients, it was just your equating meat and bone meal with meat. They do have the same origin but they are on the opposite ends of the quality spectrum.

  7. diana

    I am so concerned as I use to feed home made. but in my old age I just can’t do that with my health. I went to orjen but then I went to fromm after their recall. I am using annamaet. I am just so worried. I am very old and so I my fur babies but they are every thing to me.i just do not want to be the cause of losing them. my heart is very bad I order food from mr. chewy. please advice for a old but very caring mom

    1. Jill R

      Feed grain free kibble, high quality canned and get raw food (Nature’s Variety) etc. as you can. This will make a HUGE difference in your pet’s health. I used to own a pet store and sold high quality products. I literally saved 3 dog’s lives with just changes to different commercial pet foods. These dogs were scheduled to be put down due to serious health issues and I asked that they let me make some changes and give it a chance. The dogs thrived. No, they weren’t fed raw. But giving them better quality products made a huge difference. There’s so much out there that’s available and is quality that you should be able to continue to feed your kids a healthy diet. You’re doing great, don’t give up.

      1. soldiermom1

        Go to Natural’s Logic web-site and read about their food, all natural (no chemicals) and also have given their “Pledge”. I have 3 dogs and a cat that are thriving on it for over two years. I am also “old” in body but not ready to stop learning. My best to you for caring and no need to worry.


    Does anyone care about our living felines & canines within the FDA?


    I pity any pets having anyone working for the FDA, being abused, living a brief life because they are victims of thier guardian’s greed & irresponsibility.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      And FDA and AAFCO members feel they are pet owners just like us. I’m not kidding. They both got angry at me because I said they are nothing like us.

  9. Michelle

    No matter what brand of food it is, five star or one star, all the proteins are ground down and look the same way. There is no nutrients left in a processed kibble, just toxins, that is why they have to spray them with vitamins and minerals. If you want a quality protein, feed real food.

  10. Johanna

    Once again an excellent article, I will be sharing this! All that I could think when reading the ingredient list you posted was, my gosh its alll GMOs (genetically modified organisms). – “Ground Whole Grain Corn (**GMO**), Meat and Bone Meal (Source of Calcium), Corn Gluten Meal (**GMO**), Animal Fat (Source of Omega 6 [Preserved with BHA & Citric Acid]), Soybean Meal (**GMO**), Natural Flavor (Source of Meatier Flavor) (usually contains **GMO** ing.), Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Plain Beet Pulp (**GMO**), Ground Whole Grain Wheat (Genetically Engineered **GE**, grown and harvested with Glyphosates, an ingredient in Agent Orange, cancer-causing), Salt, Brewers Rice, Potassium Chloride, Dried Peas…” It’s horrifying what they try to pass off as food, both to our pets as well as processed “people” food. The best thing is to stay away from anything in a box or bag, feed fresh, and buy organic, non-gmo verified foods whenever possible. If anyone’s interested you can learn more about GMOs at And I agree 100% with Michelle, you are spot on!

    1. Anthony Hepton

      Johanna, If you do a detailed “root cause analysis” you will come up with a different conclusion than GMO, that is not to say that GMO’s and Glyphosate are not without their problems, but the symptoms they cause do not match the predominant symptoms being exhibited by the thousands of dogs being sickened and killed by products such as Purina’s Beneful. Michelle was right, it’s the toxins that are in the animal products derived from rendering that are causing the illnesses and deaths. If the GMO’s were the major culprit then all the dogs would be showing the symptoms of vomiting, bloody stool, liver and kidney failure and seizures. Please re-read Susan’s “The elephant in the dog food” review of this topic.

  11. Laurie Matson

    What are the odds that employees of FDA, AAFCO, Dept of Agriculture. Big Pet Feed Companies Feed they’re pets quality Food like we do? They make the crap and know what goes in it. But lie and say they do feed it? How would we know?

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