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What is Real Meat?

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  1. Mollie Morrissette

    Fabulous article Susan! I love what you said about the PFI not being aware of the dictionary definition of ‘real’. Bottom line: The word is used as a marketing tool. Words like: natural, holistic, cage free, organic, green, healthy, eco-friendly, etc. are utterly meaningless (BS). Unless, of course, it is Certified Organic or Animal Welfare Approved, or they signed the Pledge. And even then…one must remain skeptical, cynical, analytical and vigilant. Is that jaded? Perhaps. But if consumers knew what we know, they would storm the pet food mfgs with pitchforks and torches demanding for their surrender. I’ll keep my skepticism, thank you, as long as the PFI, AAFCO, and the FDA continue to put consumers, pets and animals at risk. Thanks again Susan for all your hard work!

  2. Peter

    And remember that the “answer” you get when contacting any of these businesses may vary, depending on the who and when with respect to the “representative” that you get at any given time. Most aren’t trained well, and many read from scripts that they are given as FAQ manuals.

  3. MARTY


    1. Kristin


      I’m sure Susan would appreciate your help in contacting more of those pet food companies that use the term “Real”. I look forward to hearing your findings.

  4. Dianne

    It would be interesting to find out which of the brands can state they are GMO free. If any say they are and yet are owned by Monsanto or any of its wholly owned subsidiaries I would be extremely skeptical. Along with any of the other garbage included, GMO is or should be another serious issue given the new research coming out.

  5. KAH

    Advertising agencies are smart. When they conduct focus groups (and I’ve been in many) they test how consumers react to verbal and image queues (messaging). A likely question from them would be … when you hear the word “real” (meat) what comes to mind? The likely responses often include opposite connotations. Therefore companies can get away with using the word because the opposite of real is fake and artificial. No matter how compromised the ingredient is, short of being a synthetic, there is some element of real-ness to it. As long as you have a customer thinking real, it’s easy to make the bridge over to favorable and positive! What you seldom hear a PF company use are the words “whole, unadulterated, pure, uncompromised, original, minimally processed, genuine, grade A quality, primary and organic” (in the sense of being fundamental). Susan is correct in that the only definitions that really matter are whether the ingredients are USDA inspected and approved, human grade quality, non-diseased and unspoiled. While fruits and veggies can certainly be “seconds” in the sense of not being retail sale worthy, seconds is not meant to be the same as rotten and moldy.

  6. b

    I remember reading a book about Pet Food by a researcher.
    She clearly stated that if it says MEAT or ANIMAL MEAT that is from dead dogs and dead cats picked up for free from animal shelters.

    I talked to someone who was in the business of picking up dead dogs and cats from kill shelters. They deliver the dead dogs and cats to rendering plants for commercial pet food factories like purina, iams, eucanuba, science diet, etc, where the dead dogs and cats are cooked and their protein is used for commercial pet food as it is the cheapest free animal protein available for high profits in pet food.
    Ingredient on pet food packages call it Animal Protein, Meat, Animal Meat, etc.

  7. Linda

    Susan, What a HUGE effort you continue to make on behalf of all our dear, beloved pets. Thank you for all you do, Linda & Rufus

  8. Jay Smith

    After wading through all of this, you still have to answer the question about what “made with” means. In our research, we realized (when things stopped making sense in the nutritional analysis and cost containment comparisons we were doing) that “made with” (to many of these manufacturers) is OK to say whether you use 1% or 20% of the actual product your “real” term is supposed to describe.

    Trying to nail these players down became so tiring that, finally, we learned to ask “does your (chicken, beef, turkey, etc.) contain anything except lean muscle cuts, as in does it contain carcass, cartilage, sinew, waste processing materials or other non-muscle meat portions in any quantity?”

    We received few replies, and even a few hang-ups from Customer Service people.

  9. pam

    have been battling with what to feed my two rottweiler pups who are 10 months and 8 months of age. Every time I read articles I get even more disappointed of frustrated with the of feeding them something that is bad for their health. I spoke with a Rottweiler breeder who recommended the 4Health Dog Food Products sold at TSC stores. Cannot find out where this food comes from. Cannot get any solid answers. Anyone out their have the answer?

    1. Marscha

      If this helps…I make my own food for my two pug puppies. Ground beef, rice, peas, carrots, and add 1/2 tsp fine ground egg shells for calcium. Their coats shine, they are more playful. My youngest pug was express her anal glands on my furniture, floor, couch. Once I made my own food …..never any issues again.

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