I’ve heard from Mitch Lipka with some clarifications on the much talked about dog food reviews. Here’s what he shared…
Received from Mitch Lipka of Consumer Ally…
“Hi Susan. I appreciate the attention to our story the other day. And, as you have noted, I am interested in pursuing a different look at pet food than we presented the other day. It will neither be a do-over nor retraction, but an exploration of ingredients consumers should look for – as you’ve noted in your evaluation. But I want to be very clear – since there appears to be quite a misunderstanding here (your post included) about who said what. First of all, I have passed no judgment on any pet food. One of my writers wrote a story about what GoodGuide concluded – much in the way that any media outlet might write that Consumer Reports picked the Toyota x y or z to be their favorite car. And GoodGuide has nothing to do with AOL other than we write about some of their reviews. So it’s not AOL’s GoodGuide. And it’s not my opinion in their review. I’m glad to talk with you to get your view on pet food and about why Science Diet in particular seems to have so many detractors. Would Purina being ranked that high have caused the same sort of outrage? Please drop me a line and, when you can, please correct the above mentioned errors. The phrase GoodGuide appears repeatedly in your post. Thanks in advance.
— Mitch Lipka”
Mitch Lipka wanted to make things clear that he himself or his Consumer Ally articles published on AOL did not review the dog foods. His contribution was to only report on the GoodGuide ratings.
So how did GoodGuide arrive at their decision of best pet foods? From the GoodGuide website (About Us) “GoodGuide provides the world’s largest and most reliable source of information on the health, environmental, and social impacts of consumer products.” Further investigation on the GoodGuide website (Overview of Pet Food rating methodology) provides the following overview as to how these controversial ratings were achieved…
• “the nutritional adequacy of the food, as demonstrated by feeding trials or formulation testing,
• caloric content disclosure,
• life stage specificity, and
• an assessment of whether product ingredients are desirable in high quantities, desirable or less desirable.”
GoodGuide’s ratings explanation shared they put more emphasis on feeding trials than laboratory tested nutrient content. So…let’s look at the AAFCO requirements of pet food feeding trials….you decide if you believe AAFCO feeding trials are the best way to evaluate a pet food…
For starters, AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) says that a maintenance dog food or cat food can ‘pass’ if they meet either the maintenance feeding trial protocol (26 weeks in duration) or the puppy/kitten protocol (10 weeks).
Next, 1/4 of the dogs starting the test don’t have to finish regardless of reason and their results won’t be included in the final results.
Pets need to maintain body weight (during the 10 week period) within 75% of control group. And pets need to pass various basic blood tests upon completion of the 10 week feeding trial.
Basically, in order for a dog food to pass AAFCO feeding trials claiming nutritional adequacy, 75% of the dogs that start the test must remain healthy…for only 10 weeks. Or to put this another way, 25% or less of the dogs that start the ten week test can become gravely ill and the food will still pass nutritional adequacy. How does that sound to you? Does GoodGuide’s methodology to rate the best and the worst dog foods sound ‘good’ to you?
Regardless to GoodGuide’s methods of rating pet foods, their ratings has sure caused a stir among educated Pet Owners. We’re sick and tired of ‘best’ pet food titles that seem to have not a clue about actual ingredient definitions and the nutritional requirements of dogs and cats to thrive. Consumer Report…Good Housekeeping…and now GoodGuide.
To reword a famous Abraham Lincoln quote…
You can fool some of the Pet People all of the time, and some of the media most of the time (with paid advertising), but you can’t fool those of us that have paid the highest price learning about pet food…with the life of our beloved pet. We won’t be fooled any longer.
Thanks to Mitch Lipka for clarifying and we wait to read what your investigation into pet food finds.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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