Europe is not experiencing a rise in diet-related heart disease as the U.S. is. Our inferior regulations could be part of the reason why.
TruthaboutPetFood.com consulted with Scampers Natural Pet Food store in UK (we have communicated for years) regarding the current concern of grain-free dog foods. Scampers told us they have seen no issues with their clients dogs that consume grain-free kibble. The pet food store also put us in touch with Canagan Pet Food manufacturer of Symply Pet Food (including grain-free foods) sold in 45 different countries. The pet food manufacturer too confirmed there is no current concern of diet-related canine heart disease in Europe as has been reported in the U.S.
So…why are grain-free dog foods in the U.S. linked to heart disease but grain-free dog foods in Europe are not? One possible reason is U.S. pet food regulations which take a one-size fits all approach to nutrition. Our U.S. pet food regulations vary significantly from EU pet food regulations.
U.S. pet food regulations require “Complete and Balanced” dog foods (and cat foods) to meet specific nutrient levels established by AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) per 1,000 kcal (calories). In other words – for each 1,000 kcal of dog food in your bag or can – regulations require the pet food to meet specific minimums of protein, fat, and numerous vitamins and minerals. AAFCO regulations are the same for every adult dog – no matter if the dog is high activity (requiring more calories a day) or if the dog is low activity (requiring less calories a day).
This seems sufficient until you look at regulations in Europe. European pet food regulations take into consideration activity level of dogs and have developed Nutrient Profiles to address lower amounts of food consumed and higher amounts of food consumed.
Because US regulations are based solely on 1,000 kcal – the U.S. regulations do not consider a dog that is consuming low calories a day (less food a day). The same holds true for high energy dogs that consume more calories a day (more food a day) – U.S. regulations do not take this into consideration. EU regulations address these problems.
Specific to the current heart disease issue we have in the US that is not currently in Europe we must examine the regulatory requirements of the two amino acids that dogs need to convert into taurine (to prevent diet-related heart disease). Comparing U.S. regulations to European regulations for Methionine and Cystine:
In Europe, even the lowest required level for these two necessary amino acids are higher than in the U.S.
Confirmation that U.S. regulations lack of consideration of proper nutrient levels when dogs consume less pet food was provided in the recent study “Taurine deficiency and dilated cardiomyopathy in golden retrievers fed commercial diets“. The study noted that 22 of 23 dogs were eating less calories per day – “up to 62% less“. By eating less calories a day, based on the U.S. one-size fits all system, 22 of 23 dogs were receiving less nutrients from their pet food (significant to their heart disease – less Methionine and Cystine) – some up to “62% less” nutrients.
Certainly there is another issue with grain-free dog foods that is causing the many heart disease illnesses and deaths – but our existing U.S. one-size fits all Nutrient Profile regulations plays a role.
The next AAFCO meeting will occur soon – January 21 – 23, 2019. We’ll hope that FDA will address this glaring problem then.
To read AAFCO Nutrient Profiles, Click Here.
To read EU Nutrient Profiles, Click Here and click on the FEDIAF link.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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