Purina’s FortiFlora – a dog and cat probiotic sold by many veterinarians – contains the questionable ingredient Animal Digest. Purina explains that Animal Digest is a “source of high-quality protein”, but FDA linked the ingredient to “euthanized animals”.
FortiFlora – a Purina Pet Food veterinary product – is sold and recommended by many veterinarians. The Purina website states FortiFlora “is a probiotic supplement for dogs, proven to promote intestinal and immune health and balance.” The first ingredient of FortiFlora is “animal digest”. The same product – FortiFlora for cats contains the same first ingredient, animal digest.
Purina’s website, under the “Nutrition Myth or Fact” banner advertised on the FortiFlora page, states Animal Digest is a misunderstood ingredient. Purina states Animal Digest is made with “animal protein such as muscle and soft tissue supplied by USDA-inspected facilities.” And “Animal digest is extremely palatable and is an excellent source of high-quality protein.”
A pet food ingredient fact: The legal definition of Animal Digest does not require the ingredient to be sourced from a slaughtered animal. Without this requirement in the legal definition of the pet food/treat/supplement ingredient, Animal Digest can be sourced from animals that have died in the field or a euthanized animal. Without this requirement, Animal Digest can be considered an illegal/adulterated ingredient per federal law and state law (in 14 states). Purina states this ingredient is made from animal protein “supplied by USDA-inspected facilities”, but Purina does not state the ‘animal protein’ itself is USDA-inspected. Rendering facilities that process dead livestock or euthanized animals are “USDA-inspected facilities”. But pet food/pet supplement consumers really need information if the ingredient itself – the animal protein used to make this ingredient – was/is USDA inspected (something that consumers are not told).
Another pet food ingredient fact: In 2002, an FDA investigation found many commonly sold pet foods in the US contained a drug used to euthanize animals; pentobarbital. This FDA report (second page, Appendix) stated “There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of pentobarbital in dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal, Beef and Bone Meal, Animal Fat, and Animal Digest are rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals.”
If your veterinarian sells this product, your vet needs to ask Purina for verification that their (Purina’s) source of Animal Digest is from slaughtered animals (sourced from “USDA-inspected facilities” is not sufficient, the material itself should be sourced from USDA-inspected and approved animal tissues). Without this verification, your vet could be selling an adulterated product that (per the FDA) is associated with euthanized animals.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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