PR Newswire recently released the results from a new pet owner poll that shows most pet owners don’t know what ingredients are in their pet’s food. Wellness Pet Products initiated the poll which also showed pet owners are not feeding the ingredients they think they are. There is a very good reason for these unsettling poll results…pet food industry regulations.
Over 1300 U.S. dog and cat owners were interviewed. Two-thirds reported they feed their dog or cat as if they were a member of the family. While over half of the pet owners reported they read the labels of their own foods, only 38 percent say they understand all the ingredients listed on their dog food or cat food label. Wellness Pet Products initiated the poll and while the results are interesting (and discouraging) the answer as to why these results were discovered lies solely in pet food industry regulations. http://02c0196.netsolhost.com/websitepublisher/blogs/6/New-National-Survey-Shows-Cat-and-Dog-Owners-Arent-Feeding-Their-Pets-What-They-Think-They-Are-.html
Let’s examine just a few of the regulations that effect your pet food shopping decisions. These regulations are developed by AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) and flatly accepted by the FDA. They are in no particular order, they ALL are intentionally designed to keep pet owners in the dark regarding dog food and cat food ingredients and quality of pet foods.
AAFCO regulation PF7 states: “The label of a pet food may include an unqualified claim, directly or indirectly, such as ‘complete and balanced’, ‘perfect’, or ‘100% nutrition’…” An ‘unqualified claim – directly or indirectly’ is basically a license to lie to pet owners. A dog food or cat food is legally allowed to lie to you on the label. Exactly how can a pet owner walk into a pet store and understand the quality of, or ingredients in, a dog food or cat food when it is legally allowed for the label to lie to you?
Making matters a little worse is AAFCO regulation PF5(3) which states: “A reference to quality or grade of the ingredient does not appear in the ingredient statement.” To explain…The meat that can be used in pet foods can vary greatly in quality; actually some ingredients are not meat at all. While the front of the pet food bag or can shows images of meat cuts appearing to be the very same quality you would purchase at the grocery for your own family, inside the bag or can might be what is referred to as “pet grade” meat. Pet grade meat could be from euthanized animals (euthanized because of disease or illness) and animals that have been rejected for use in human food because of disease. Some pet foods contain by-products which by industry definition contain no meat at all. Yes, they are from an ‘animal’, but they are not meat.
On the other hand, some pet food manufacturers use the very same quality of meat that you would purchase for your family – a ‘human grade/quality’ of meat. Regulation PF5(3) demands that the pet food manufacturer DOES NOT alert the customer or potential customer that they use a ‘human grade/quality’ of meat.
It’s got to be asked again…Exactly how can a customer or potential customer walk into a pet store and understand the quality of ingredients inside that pet food when it is illegal for the manufacturer to tell you the quality of ingredients?
When I read the Wellness Pet Foods press release, the results of their poll did not surprise me. But what I was surprised at was the results seemed to be pointing a finger at pet owners; as if it was their fault to not understand what their pet is eating. It is definitely NOT the fault of pet owners; mass confusion in the pet food industry was intentionally designed (in my opinion) to keep pet owners in the dark about what they are actually feeding their pets. Until these regulations are changed, millions and millions of innocent pet owners will continue to purchase pet foods that appear to be made from the very same quality ingredients they would feed their ‘two legged’ family, yet in reality contain ingredients that on a cold day in @#$$ wouldn’t cause them to feed their pet.
Wellness Pet Foods is by no means ‘at fault’ either. But I do wish Wellness and other quality minded pet food manufacturers (those that DO use the same quality ingredients you would purchase for any member of your family) would together stand up to AAFCO and the FDA to demand changes. The pet food company Honest Kitchen last year did just that. Sticking to those confusing regulations, the state of Ohio denied the Honest Kitchen pet food company to sell their products within Ohio because the label of the pet food stated “human food grade”. The Honest Kitchen pet food company stuck to their guns and took the issue to court. Six months later they won the right to make the legitimate claim ‘human food grade’ on their pet food’s labels. http://02c0196.netsolhost.com/websitepublisher/articles/39/1/Big-Big-Big-News-that-will-benefit-every-pet-owner-/Page1.html
More of this needs to happen. Every pet owner deserves the right to know if the ingredients in the food they are providing their cat or dog is made from the very same quality that would be provided to any other member of the family. It seems AAFCO or the FDA doesn’t agree. Both of these organizations feel it’s perfectly fine to keep you in the dark. What a shame.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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