The second part of the pet food heavy metals testing report has been published. When you see the graphs included in Part II, the reality of what pets are eating is that much more shocking. When you know no one of authority has even raised an eyebrow since Part I was published weeks ago, the reality of just how much regulators care becomes very clear.
From the last paragraph of Toxic Trace Metals in Pet Foods Part II, published in the February 2011 Spectroscopy Magazine…“The trace-element data generated in this study have shown that there might be a cause of concern for owners who feed their pets commercially available dog and cat food on a daily basis.” A cause of concern indeed.
To read the second part of the Analysis of Toxic Trace Metals in Pet Food, click here
Part II includes graphs comparing established human risk assessments from the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) oral reference dosage (RfD) values and the World Health Organization (WHO) PTKI or PTWI (Provisional Tolerable Daily Intake or Tolerable Weekly Intake). The comparison is expressed as “milligram per kilogram body weight per day of exposure” and is adjusted to a 50 lb body weight for a dog and 10 lb body weight for a cat. Despite there being “no guidelines set down by the FDA for trace-element contaminants in pet food”, the publisher of this pet food testing paper feels the comparison to EPA and WHO human levels is justified because most studies for human toxicity are performed on animals.
Please note – “There are no guidelines set down by the FDA for trace-element contaminants in pet food.” A $40 billion dollar a year industry in the United States, yet the FDA has not established toxic levels of heavy metals in pet food.
One of the disturbing things I found when looking closely at this study is that one food might test low in one element, yet high in another. When you examine Figure 2 found on Page 48 in the Spectroscopy February 2011 magazine, look at the first graph (a). All of the dry dog foods tested above the EPA established limits for arsenic, six of the dog foods tested below the WHO established limits for arsenic; dog food 9, 10, 18, 20, 41 and 42. Now move on to graph (c) – Cadmium. Of these same dog foods that were below WHO levels for arsenic, only dog food 18 and 20 were below EPA and WHO levels for Cadmium. When you keep following these two dog foods through all the charts, only dog food 18 stays below the WHO levels for all trace-elements; but just barely. So out of 18 different dry dog foods that were tested, only one stayed below risk levels of heavy metals. Horrible.
In dry cat foods, again, none of the cat foods tested below the EPA levels for arsenic. Only one dry cat food tested below WHO levels for arsenic; cat food 46. Cat food 46 stays within the EPA and WHO limits in all other areas except for nickel where it tests at 4 times the WHO recommended amount. Horrible.
What is further disgusting is that no one of authority seems to be giving a ______ (fill in the blank with your own expletive) about these pet food testing results. I’ve called the Florida Department of Agriculture. Here’s how the conversation went…
Me: Hello, my name is Susan Thixton and I’m a concerned pet owner that lives in Safety Harbor , FL. I’ve just read a paper regarding heavy metal testing of pet food. This pet food testing found toxic levels of arsenic, beryllium, mercury, lead, uranium among many others in dog foods and cat foods. They tested low end food and high end food – and compared results to human foods. Just as an example they found 11 parts per billion of lead in human canned tuna yet they found 5900 parts per billion of lead in a pet food.
Wouldn’t a pet food be considered adulterated if it contain 5900 parts per billion of lead?
So the reason for my call is what is Florida going to do about this?
At this point in the conversation she told me she’d have to read the report before she could respond. So I asked “once you read it…again I’d like to know what is Florida going to do about this? This is toxic; pet owners right now might be feeding lethal doses of heavy metals in their pet food.”
I got the stall again from the Florida Dept of Ag – “well, was the pet food tested in Florida ? If it wasn’t Florida pet food then I’m not sure there is anything we can do about it.”
Me: This pet food was tested in New Jersey and was purchased in New York and New Jersey pet stores – this was commercially sold pet food from national pet stores. It doesn’t matter where it was tested – the point is that these commercial pet foods tested with dangerous levels of heavy metals and this has to be stopped. Pet are undoubtedly getting sick and probably dying from this. If toxic levels of heavy metals were found in commercial pet food in New Jersey , the very same pet foods are sold here in Florida . Shouldn’t Florida test pet foods for heavy metal contamination?
Then we went back to they had to look at the report first and they will decide what if anything that Florida will do. I’ve emailed them a follow up – no response.
I’ve emailed the Florida Agriculture Commissioner twice – no response.
I called the Florida FDA Complaint Coordinator who told me to contact Christopher Melluso and April Hodges of CVM (Center for Veterinary Management, animal division of FDA). First email – no response. With a second follow up email, I received the following response…
Thank you for contacting FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).
CVM is aware of the study and research reported in the online publication, Spectroscopy, an online publication that promotes and supports the effective use of spectroscopic instrumentation in applied research, quality control, environmental testing, and the life sciences.
The FDA’s regulation of pet food is similar to that for other animal feeds. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA) requires that pet foods, like human foods, be safe to eat, produced under sanitary conditions, contain no harmful substances, and be truthfully labeled.
If a consumer feels that their pet was adversely affected by a pet food product, we advise they contact both the manufacturer and FDA http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/SafetyHealth/ReportaProblem/ucm182403.htm .
For additional information on how FDA regulates pet food, please see:
In other words, they told me nothing specific to what I asked (I asked what were the FDA/CVM’s plans to protect US pets in light of this pet food testing). I replied to the above email asking CVM if they plan to do anything about this pet food testing. That was a week ago – no response.
I’ve written several members of AAFCO including the President and President elect – no response.
Our group of Pet Owner Advocates (we still don’t have an official name yet) have written dozens of State Department of Agriculture (some are members of AAFCO); the only significant response has been from Iowa. The following is what they told us…
“Thank you for your email; I appreciate your concern of contaminants in pet foods. I want to let you know that the until recently the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship (IDALS) only had the capabilities to test for items listed in the guaranteed analysis (protein, fat & fiber etc.). Last year IDALS was awarded a grant from FDA to expand our sampling program. The grant allowed us to purchase equipment required to test for heavy metals in feeds as well as other capabilities. This money also will allow us to hire staff at the lab to run the samples, as our lab, as well as the entire agency, has been a victim of the recent budget cuts and layoffs.
With the help of this grant, the equipment, and lab personnel, we will be taking samples of feed and pet food and tested for heavy metals, salmonella and E.coli. These results will be compiled and available for FDA to use to set standards of allowable levels in feeds. Currently, as your article states, the levels used are for human consumption. As you know dog and cat levels will be entirely different than a human level.
IDALS strives to ensure all feed and pet food is safe for consumption of all animals. We work hard with VERY limited resources and do what we can with what we have.
Again thank you for your concerns, and I hope this information eases your mind that pets in Iowa are being protected, and please feel free to contact me with any other concerns you may have
Kevin E. Klommhaus
Feed & Fertilizer Bureau
Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship”
So, in other words, not one pet food regulatory authority has even raised an eyebrow that dog foods and cat foods have already been tested and found to contain extreme toxic levels of lead, mercury, uranium and more. We have evidence – very credible evidence – many pet foods are not safe, yet the FDA has done nothing; 50 State Departments of Agriculture have done nothing. The FDA and AAFCO/Department of Agriculture all make public statements how much they care about the safety of pet food, well…they certainly aren’t caring too much about toxic heavy metals in pet food.
Please send your Representatives in Congress the links to the two Spex CertiPrep pet food testing articles (you’ll find a list of your Congressional Representatives at Congress.org – enter your zip code). Send the links to the report to your local media; newspaper, television, and talk radio. Send the links to national media.
All we can do is keep trying to get national attention to this pet food testing. Then…maybe…someone of authority will care and take action to protect pets.
To read Analysis of Toxic Trace Metals in Pet Food Part I, click here
To read Analysis of Toxic Trace Metals in Pet Food Part II, click here
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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