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Purina Says By-Products are “Nutrient Rich”

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  1. Anthony Hepton.

    Dr Kurt Venator is a shill, he should and probably does know better, he has a doctorate from Cornell’s Vet School, one of the best in the nation, but he chooses to support Purina’s mantra that what ever they sell is good. Parts from diseased animals are sold in violation of both Federal and in most cases State law, Dr Venator knows this, but blithely trumps their benefits while completely ignoring their risks. He lacks the courage to openly discuss this subject because he is paid well to just take one side of this important discussion.

  2. Peter

    Yes, most especially, the word “meal” added to a definition changes it entirely, and on that basis, I deem this video and the words of the speakers therein to be intentionally deceptive. Clearly, they expected that the consumer would be swept into the upbeat presentation, and that would slip right by. But I’d expect nothing less from Purina.

  3. Dr. Oscar Chavez

    Ugh, this is so misleading! Never mind that these ‘by-products’ sit in a vat with zero oversight and regulation and no rules on transport, handling, or storage until they are ground down or rendered into meals. The comparison to “liver, kidney, organ meats” or to how dogs would eat in the wild is disingenuous. These aren’t USDA certified liver, kidney, etc. fit for human consumption. This is the literal bottom of the barrel and treated as “feed.”

    By-products are bad not because they cannot provide nutrition – sure they can. They are bad because their production is unregulated and prone to contamination and adulteration. They are bad because they are feed grade.

    BTW – Susan – last I looked the by-product definition included “Brain” – did they finally take that out??!!

    1. Dianne & Pets

      Well, that is scary. Brains are the primary source of the prions leading to mad cow disease, something that can also infect humans. prions are not destroyed by processing. I would hope that it is no longer allowed because of the risk.

  4. T Allen

    Just an FYI so there is no confusion. USDA/FSIS inspected meat has “passed” or “failed” inspection. “Approved” as a term doesn’t exist. Human grade has “passed” inspection. Carcass and parts can be failed and are condemned, and rendered or disposed of per state law. Maine allows it to go to people for baiting bears. The parts trimmed during the breakdown of the carcass (Inspected and passed) are considered USDA Inspected and are useful for dog food (if not made into sausage!). “Meat that has been federally inspected and passed for wholesomeness is stamped with a round purple mark. “

  5. Sally Roberts

    I am and have been to the point I do not trust the majority of dog food companies or any other big business companies. They lie. They don’t care about you personally or your animal, it is all about the MONEY!!! I will stop now because I am ready to really go on a rant with all of them

  6. jim

    Ot of toIal frustration and lack of trust I gave up on commercial pet food…no matter the brand and just make my own home made pet food which turns out is cheaper and higher quality and I know what my pet is eating…true…i gave up convienience but I gained a healthier pet…

  7. Janet

    Yes, they lie. Our pets pay the price, and then they lie more. My dog, Charley, pictured above, died of GI complications following 4 months of GI illness after I gave him a so called digestible chew stick that turned out really to be rawhide. Two dogs that I know of have died from the same product, yet the company that makes it continues to advertise the product as digestible and spread misinformation about our dogs and the circumstances around what happened when they were injured by their product. They are of same ilk as Purina, Hills, & Evangers.

    1. Stephanie B.

      Oh, Janet I’m so sorry to hear about Charley 🙁 (absolutely beautiful, adorable little dog) What happened to Charley, what he endured is horrifying.

      You’re right they lie, most do. It’s all about profits.

  8. Judy Miller

    Yes, in a perfect World, by products are a valuable part of a carnivores diet, as these organs contain nutrients that cannot be gotten in muscle meat alone and a diet isn’t truly “complete” w/o them.. However, it depends on how they are processed and handled and how free of contaminents they are.
    Even the feet of chicken when processed properly are a very good source of nutrients. I know Italians in this area make soup stock out of chicken feet.
    I am so thankful that I have a butcher shop on a farm north of here that grinds up the innards of the cattle for the Mushers and people like me. I have him do a special mix for the cats and he charges me around $1 a pound. I use it as a supplement to the “complete and balanced” dry diet I feed. I buy the .35c a pound mix for the dogs..

    1. barbara m

      I am also lucky to have access to a farm that sells “beef by-products” at our local Farmer’s Market. Grass-fed heart, tongue, and liver. Since we have cats, the heart is esp important for the Taurine – and they seem to love the heart best of all. Many farmer’s markets are active year around, so check them out. It’s worth the drive. Depending on the season, you might find organically raised chicken and lamb as well. We also feed the human grade pet food, Honest Kitchen.

  9. Lamb

    There is an organizatin called AAFCO that regulates pet foods. AAFCO defines mammal by products to specifically exclude hair, hooves, hide trimmings, manure and intestinal contents. Human grade HAS NO MEANING! ingredients sourced from human food chain are not necessarily more nutritious, wholesome or safe. I would agree with T allen. Raw and homemade diets are not safe and nutritious. It is very difficult to make a healthy fully nutritious and cheap homemade diet. As well as a safe diet. Most of these diets are missing key nutrients as I doubt you are a pet nutrition specialist.

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      You could not be more wrong – sorry, but you are. AAFCO does not “regulate” pet food. I have attended AAFCO meetings for the past 8 or so years. Human Grade is an official defined term found in the 2018 (and 2017) AAFCO Official Publication. Raw and homemade diets are safe and very nutritious – and it is not difficult at all to make a balanced diet. I have prepared my pets (2 dogs, 4 cats) food at home for the past 5 or so years.

    2. jay

      my opinion only of course………..AAFCO is USELESS!

    3. Stephanie B.

      It’s difficult to believe that you actually believe what you wrote, “Raw and homemade diets are not safe and nutritious. It is very difficult to make a healthy fully nutritious and cheap homemade diet. As well as a safe diet. Most of these diets are missing key nutrients.”

      Who are you to say what we make at home is not nutritious or safe? That’s as ludicrous as saying one cannot prepare nutritious and safe home-cooked meals for our family (human) members.

      Absolutely the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard!

    4. Peter

      The term “pet nutrition specialist” is a meaningless term. And in fat, one does not have to be credentialed or “professional” in any respect to be knowledgeable about issues of pet nutrition.

    5. svhslambook

      LOL….really? Raw diets are not safe?
      Tell that to generations of long lived, healthy and raw fed dogs and cats.
      AAFCO is as useless as the FDA. Get over it.

  10. Diane Gi6

    Here’s a question that should be asked would you feed that food to your children I don’t think so what you want give your kids you should not give to your pets you are what you eat

  11. Janis smith

    My sweet dog, a French bull terrier, Coco, died in 2015, and according to symptoms described by many other pet owners, it’s safe to say that Beniful Healthy weight, by Purina, is responsible. To watch our beloved pet suffer and die because of the Purina company foods was excruciating. Google the lawsuit that never made it to court, having paid off it’s plaintiffs..

  12. Debbie

    Nothing PURINA says is true! PURINA is the worst food anyone can feed their pets. In fact after a two year study I did on Man Made Kibble I now feed my dogs a Raw Diet and I am so Very glad I switch my pack! They are in the best heal5, softest fur, clean white teeth and no skin problems and no ear problems.

  13. Cecelia

    Purina, hills and royal cabin do feeding trials 9n their foods. They don’t sit in vats and they are reputable, with minimal recalls. Your precious blue buffalo has had 4 recalls last year and are in a lawsuit for lead poisoning. Purina test for these issues before food goes out and not on animals.

  14. Anthony Hepton.

    Tests done by pet food companies and AAFCO are on a limited number of animals for a limited amount of time and may allow deaths or illnesses to be excluded, they are useless when compared with feeding millions of dogs for years. The best test of a product is the customers records, that is the ultimate test. The consumer records of the major companies are shameful.

    1. Judy Miller

      That’s all true, but the proof is in the pudding. Many of the Purina Products checked out very uncontaminated and got a 5* rating by the Clean Label Project. What this means is they have a very pure and clean source of “by-products” and other ingredients even though some of those ingredients may not be my idea of what a Carnivore should be eating. Some so-called Super Premium foods that cost a whole lot more couldn’t make it above a 1* or 3* rating.
      The company as a whole got a 3.5* out of 5* and this was after testing over 250 of their products. So, there are far worse companies that are highly contaminated, even though they have more suitable ingredients. Check it out:

    1. Judy Miller

      I don’t care what you say, CLP may not be perfect, but certainly has a purpose and are trying hard to raise awareness. I won’t feed anything below a 5* for now.
      I’m choosing the brands with the best ratings overall.
      Nothing is 100% guaranteed in this World. We do what we think is best.

      I’ve read all the naysayer stuff on CLP before.

  15. Ms. B Dawson

    Here’s some interesting marketing that came to me today via a distributor (it was a promo for a webinar about this food). I admit I haven’t looked into this food and it may well come from a responsible company, but when I see wording like this, my spidey senses start tingling:

    ..”Grain-free dog food sales (+19% year over year) are quickly outpacing sales of dog food that isn’t labeled grain-free (-7.6%). Layering in SPINS’ proprietary non-GMO labeling tells us even more: Grain-free dog food that is also labeled with a non-GMO ingredient or product claim saw a sales spike of 38.2% over last year!

    Only SPINS can layer its unique and proprietary attributes over real sales data to help independent retailers discover and act on growth drivers in today’s marketplace.”….

    What the H-E-double toothpicks is “proprietary non-GMO labeling’? A company can’t “own” the GMO designation.

    Anyone have experience with this food/company?

  16. barbara mclaughlin

    Could you tell me why you do not recommend Fromms dogfood? Is it the chicken meal in it?

  17. Allison Koester

    What? Most of what is said in this article is completely false. The AAFCO literally has the definitions of animal by-product and poultry by-product meals and both very specifically state that hair, horns, feathers, beaks, hides, and manure cannot be included in these ingredients. AAFCO also says nothing about the definition of by-products changing if the species is specified. Here is the website: (, but I’ll copy and paste the definitions anyway.

    Animal Byproduct Meal: the rendered product from animal tissues, exclusive of any added hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices. It shall not contain extraneous materials not provided for by this definition. This ingredient definition is intended to cover those individual rendered animal tissues that cannot meet the criteria as set forth elsewhere in this section. This ingredient is not intended to be used to label a mixture of animal tissue products.
    -This may consist of whole carcasses, but often includes byproducts in excess of what would normally be found in
    meat meal and meat and bone meal.

    Poultry By-Product Meal: consist of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered poultry, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers except in such amounts as might occur unavoidably in good processing practices. The label shall include guarantees for minimum crude protein, minimum crude fat, maximum crude fiber, minimum Phosphorus (P), and minimum and maximum Calcium (C). The Calcium (Ca) level shall not be more than 2.2 times the actual Phosphorus (P) level. If the product bears a name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto.
    -This ingredient is equivalent to poultry byproducts, except they are rendered so that most of the water and fat
    has been removed to make a concentrated protein or mineral ingredient.

    Meat Byproducts: the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially de-fatted low temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hoofs. It shall be suitable for use in animal feed. If it bears a name descriptive of its kind, it must correspond thereto.
    -To put it another way, meat byproducts are most parts of an animal other than its muscle tissue—including the
    internal organs and bones.
    -Byproducts include some of parts that some Americans eat (such as livers, kidneys and tripe), but also parts
    that they typically do not. Although the USDA does not deem certain byproducts, such as udders and lungs,
    edible for human consumption, they can be perfectly safe and nutritious for other animals.
    -As with meat, unless the byproducts are derived from cattle, pigs, sheep or goats, the species must be

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      If you read the definitions you copied and pasted in your comment you’ll notice the definitions say “exclusive of any added hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents, except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices”. The key phrase is “exclusive of any added”. In other words the hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents IN/ON the animal rendered is accepted, just not any “ADDED” hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents. I’ve been at AAFCO meetings where this was discussed. You can choose to not believe it/me – but it’s true.

    2. Peter

      Uh… Allison… no. What you describe is more the PFI playbook of ingredient definition. Mars Inc. defines pig hair (those stiff plastic-like wires in their leading brand of dry food) as “natural,” and therefore a good thing, asserting that dogs would actually prefer garbage to “muscle meats” because they are ” a more highly concentrated source of essential nutrients,” (supposedly dogs make that distinction, themselves). The term “clean” is simply used falsely by Mars Inc.; and the term “etc.” implies that the by-products are only internal organs. Mars also carefully describes “artificial preservatives” as “essential” and that “filler (ingredients)” are appropriate because they have a “specific purpose” in their products.

      But what else can you expect, from a company (US $17B sales in 2016) that holds a patent (US 7,575,771 B2) for a procedure to process offal (dictionary definition: “garbage/refuse/rubbish” and: “waste or by-product”) into pet food?

      Allison, “feather meal” is an accepted ingredient, there are companies that make a business building machines to grind chicken feathers as a pet food ingredient. According to AAFCO “Standard Names and Definitions,” animal waste (literally: “chicken s***), in “Poultry Litter” must not contain “metal, glass (or) nails.” Does that standard of exclusion make you feel better? OK… so no “metal, glass (or) nails”… but realize that dead rodents present in the factory farm environment can legitimately be ground into poultry litter. “Hog hair,” as a similarly categorized by-product, is regarded the same way.

      I could go on and on…

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