Some pet food testing in Europe has found 14 of 17 pet foods to include meats not identified on product labels. Lack of pet food transparency is a worldwide concern.
In this study (and this one was a study), researchers testing 17 popular brands of pet food sold in Europe. The study looked for animal protein sourced from cow, horse, pig and chicken. Of significant concern, “there was detection at substantial levels of unspecified animal species in most products tested.” Unspecified animal species could be any animal other than cow, horse, pig and chicken. Let us hope these researchers will do further DNA analysis to determine the exact animal that was dubbed ‘unspecified’.
Quoting the report from this study…
“A major finding was the relative abundance of proteins from unspecified animal species in 14 of the 17 products. Amongst these 14 samples, bovine, porcine and chicken DNA were found in various proportions and combinations but were not explicitly named on the product labels. With two products (“Encore Chicken Breast with Brown Rice” and “Chappie Original”), the detection of chicken DNA only was consistent with their declared chicken contents. Two products (“Hill’s Prescription Diet R/D Feline Weight Loss” and “Cooperative Gourmet Terrine with Chicken and Game”) appear to contain no and 1% chicken DNA respectively, contrary to expectations.”
“Another key observation concerned the headline description on pet food labels. Seven products with prominent descriptions containing the term “with beef” comprised between 14% and 56% bovine DNA. Only two of the seven were found to contain more bovine DNA (>50%) than pig and chicken DNA combined. With the remaining five samples, three contained more pig than bovine DNA. Another 6 headline labels that highlighted “chicken” or “with chicken” contained 1% to 100% chicken DNA of which two products contained more pig or bovine than chicken DNA.”
“Whilst the present practice in pet food labelling appears to be within current regulatory guidelines, our findings have highlighted two related weaknesses in product labelling that could adversely affect consumers (pets) and their owners. Firstly, in most products evaluated (14 out of 17), substantial protein contents of cow, pig and chicken were found but these animal species were not explicitly specified on product labels. Secondly, headline product information may not tally with buyers’ expectations. Our findings highlighted what could be regarded as a considerable mismatch in the labelling standard of the pet food industry and what the purchaser might reasonably expect. For example, it would be reasonable for a purchaser to expect from a product prominently labelled as “beef stew” to have “beef” and not “chicken” as the major animal constituent. It may be a surprise to shoppers to discover that prominently described contents such as “beef” on a tin could, within the Guidelines, be a minor ingredient, have no bovine skeletal muscle (meat) and contain a majority of unidentified animal proteins.”
My thanks to these researchers for highlighting once again that pet food consumers face tremendous challenges when trying to find an honestly labeled pet food. Now we need for regulatory authorities to step up (worldwide) and protect pets and pet food consumers by strengthening regulations and enforcement. Unspecified animal protein is unacceptable. It’s time to put the consumer and their pet first – industry second.
More links on this pet food testing:
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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