Wow…did this experiment take a bad turn. Maggots, I’m talking thousands. The results of the pet food experiment (prior to maggot mania).
It would be my recommendation to pet food consumers, don’t try this experiment at home. Ugh, did this turn bad. The goal was to see how long pet food meats would remain looking fresh as compared to human grade meat. I believe we achieved that goal but the experiment ended much sooner than I had hoped due to maggot infestation.
Here’s how things played out…(general information, more details below)…
11/16 – Day 1. Pet foods were purchased, documented, opened one by one and contents dumped into a stainless steel colander for rinsing (the goal was to rinse off all the ‘goo’ and pick out just pieces of meat from the sample). The only pet food that was not rinsed was Freshpet – no need, it was not a moist food – meat chunks just removed from the package. The human grade meat was also not rinsed – no need.
11/17 – Day 2. No significant difference – no pictures taken.
11/18 – Day 3. Visible significant difference in human meat, photo below. No significant difference in any pet food, photo’s below.
11/19 – Day 4. Horrible odor from human meat, clearly spoiled. Had to be discarded. No odor from any pet food. One meat ‘chunk’ of Pedigree had mold, discarded it. Last day pictures were taken.
11/20 – Day 5. Did not inspect any of the samples.
11/21 – Day 6. Each of the sample containers were found to be infested with gnats and gnat maggots (tiny maggots). Even though the containers were covered, they were (obviously) not air tight (gnat proof). All samples and containers were discarded. No pictures taken (it was disgusting).
Also on day 6, when all of the samples and containers were bundled up and I opened the lid to the garbage can…thousands of full size maggots (not the tiny gnat maggots) were almost covering the contents in the garbage can, the garbage can too is stored in my garage. From Day 1 of this experiment, the rest of each pet food not used as a sample (directly from the package) was in that garbage can (lesson learned, only do this experiment if the garbage goes out the same day as when you open the cans!). We have never, ever had maggots in our garbage can. Never. And honestly there was so many maggots they covered the contents in the can. It was horrible!!!
I can’t say with certainty that the maggots came from the pet food, I wasn’t going to dig around in them to see if I could discover where they originated. But again, for years of cooking pet food, cooking bones for broth and discarding the remains in the same exact garbage can in the same garage…never have we had maggots in the garbage can.
Now for the pictures…(Please note, you’ll notice a significant lighting difference in the pictures – especially pictures of pet food meat in the colander and again on Day 4. The light reflected off the colander and altered the look, and on Day 4 it was cloudy here – no natural light – and the pictures looked very different than the day before).
A brownish scum began to show on the meat on day 3. It doubled in coverage over the meat by day 4. Also, by day 4 the meat spelled so badly (you could smell it in the house when it was stored in the garage) it had to be discarded.
Again, the meat looked very pink in the colander – it wasn’t. This was just a reflection. This pet food didn’t change much in color and did not smell. By day 4 you can see the moisture building up on it, which I assume had something to do with spoilage.
The Fancy Feast cat food did not change much. By day 4 it darkened just a little, but looked very similar to the original product. As reminder, this was one of the foods that the meat felt stiff, cardboard-ish when taken out of the container. The pet food never had a bad smell.
The Nutro Cat food did not change – it looked almost the same on day 4 as it did after rinsing. No smell.
As with the other foods, the image of the Wellness cat food in the colander is not accurately displaying the color of the food. Reflection from the colander makes the food look very pink, it was not. This pet food darkened slightly on day 4 (it looks darker in the picture – this was taken on a cloudy day and I had no natural light). And this was the only pet food that had a slight odor at day 4 – but, it smelled just like pet food.
Same issue with the image from the colander with this Beneful Dog Food, it was not that pink looking. By day 4, the meat looked almost identical to how it looked on the first day. Slight moisture build up by day 4, no odor.
This pet food was not rinsed (no image in the colander). There was only a slight change in this meat on day 4, you can see small brown spots beginning to appear (the very dark spots I assume are spices used in the pet food). These brown spots looked similar to the brown spots on the human grade chicken, but they were much less on the pet food and the pet food meat had no odor on day 4.
The Natural Balance dog food did not change much through the experiment. By day 4 it has a few darker sections – but not like the human grade meat or what was beginning to show in the Freshpet. On day 4 the pet food had no odor.
The Pedigree dog food didn’t change much at all, except for the one piece (day 4 image right) that grew fuzzy mold. These pieces of dog food were like little sponges and it was difficult to dry them properly on day 1. I assume this mold was because of moisture in the chunk. No odor from this pet food day 4.
This experiment didn’t turn out as I had planned – the gnats ruined everything. I’m confident had the gnats not invaded the pet food sample containers, this would have continued on for quite some time. I doubt I’ll be brave enough to take this on again. In hind sight, I should have used air tight containers. And my bad as well for not being a better photographer. I don’t think the pictures adequately show you the very little changes that I saw in the pet foods, and actually I don’t think they show the brownish scum that was growing on the human grade chicken adequately enough. I wouldn’t dare wish to share the smell of the human grade meat with you.
But what the experiment did for me, was show how quickly meat ingredients can be devastated by bugs. In two days my pet food samples went from no bugs to infested with gnats and their maggots (from day 4, last day pictures were taken to day 6 when everything was discarded). If things got this bad, in my air-conditioned garage (remember, I live in Florida), imagine how bad pet food meats could become in a un-air conditioned pet food manufacturing plant? Or in an un-air conditioned truck? Pet food ingredients are not required by law to be transported under refrigeration or warehoused under refrigeration. After just witnessing the gnats, little and large maggots I saw (in the garbage can and in the containers), it is chilling to think of the condition of some pet grade meats in some pet food facilities.
And worse yet, we don’t know the conditions at any of the pet food plants. Do they keep ingredients properly refrigerated? Do they properly clean the equipment? They don’t tell us, and no inspection report is required to be provided to the consumer.
For food to be clean of bug and maggot infestation, the ingredients and the manufacturing facility has to be pristine. I can’t even imagine how bad it could be in some facilities.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients? Chinese imports? Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 3000 cat foods, dog foods, and pet treats. 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee. www.PetsumerReport.com
The 2015 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods. Click Here
Have you read Buyer Beware? Click Here
Cooking for pets made easy, Dinner PAWsible
Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here