Mitch Lipka’s Consumer Ally invited Hill’s Science Diet to respond to the blasting taken when GoodGuide.com rated a Science Diet Dog Food was rated the ‘best’. Here’s some “fact” shared by Science Diet and here’s some ‘rest of the story fact’.
When Science Diet was rated as the best dog and cat food, and when Mitch Lipka’s Consumer Ally wrote about the GoodGuide.com’s pet food reviews, Mitch Lipka learned just how passionate Pet Owners felt about that ‘best pet food’. It ends up Mr. Lipka received hundreds of strongly worded emails about his article; so strong that Consumer Ally asked Science Diet to respond to the criticism. From Consumer Ally’s follow up story, the following is Science Diet’s response…
“We at Hill’s are honored that a highly reputable rating service like The GoodGuide has awarded top ratings to Hill’s Science Diet pet foods. GoodGuide pursues a rigorous, scientific and unbiased methodology to provide consumers with the information they need to find the best products. We appreciate that GoodGuide’s rigorous assessment recognizes the extensive, mission-driven commitment we make to produce precisely-balanced nutrition in all of our products. We firmly believe that our products are the best available in the market today.
It is unfortunate that some comments made in this discussion have given credence to myths and false statements that should be corrected.
FACT: Corn and other grains used in Hill’s products, rather than serve as filler, are carefully selected by our veterinary nutritionists. They help deliver the precise balance of nutrients in each product that our research shows provides the optimal level for wellness.
For centuries, people and their animals have relied on corn as a superb source of the following nutrients:
• Highly digestible carbohydrates for energy
• Essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
• Beta-carotene, vitamin E and lutein – nature’s antioxidants
• Quality proteins for muscle and tissue growth
No single ingredient provides the best protein balance for your pet. That’s why Hill’s selects a combination of ingredients. The protein building blocks in corn are essential for pets and complement those in other ingredients to give dogs and cats the precise balance of nutrients needed for their health.
FACT: Science shows that ground corn is safely and easily digested by dogs and cats, and is not a common cause of adverse food reactions in pets. A review of published veterinary literature indicates corn has been implicated in fewer allergy cases than other common protein sources used in pet food such as beef, dairy products, wheat, chicken, egg, lamb or soy.
FACT: Hill’s is veterinarians’ number one pet food choice for their own pets. We have maintained a strong bond with veterinarians and fostered nutritional education from the start, when the company was founded by a veterinarian over 70 years ago. Today, we reach out to veterinarians around the world because it helps foster nutritional education that can benefit both pets and pet owners. Hill’s never pays veterinarians to recommend our product to their clients.
Hill’s does, on occasion, sponsor activities, educational initiatives or other programs for veterinary professionals. For example, Hill’s is proud to support a new teaching and learning center, which just opened in July 2010, called the Hill’s Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre. Part of Guelph University’s Ontario Veterinary College, the Centre is a full-service veterinary hospital that integrates preventive and general medicine with nutrition, behavior, public health, good citizenship, rehabilitation, communication and animal welfare.
FACT: We only use high-quality ingredients in the production of our pet food, and we carefully source all ingredients to ensure they meet that standard of quality.
Our ingredients include by-products, which are common ingredients found in both human and pet food. Chicken by-product meal is a high quality, very palatable, concentrated source of protein. The chickens are sourced from human grade processing plants. Meat by-products consist of the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat from slaughtered mammals.
Reckless statements online about our use of ingredients are false and suggest behavior at Hill’s that is contrary to our values as an organization of people dedicated to enhancing and lengthening the bond between people and their pets, and who also love our own pets.”
Science Diet repeatedly refers to myths and false statements found about pet food on the Internet. So let’s look at some of their facts and here’s a few more facts to follow.
Two of Science Diet’s FACTs addresses their use of corn and other grains. Science Diet states corn and other grains “are carefully selected by our veterinary nutritionists”. Science Diet states that corn is “safely and easily digested by dogs and cats”. They reference “published veterinary literature” stating corn is “not a common cause of adverse food reactions in pets”.
Here’s a FACT that Science Diet didn’t mention about corn and other grains; corn and other grains are prone to develop deadly mycotoxins. From the International Journal of Food Microbiology, Drs. Herman J. Boermans and Maxwell C.K. Leung published “Mycotoxins and the pet food industry: Toxicological evidence and risk assessment“ in 2007. This paper studied the risk of day to day consumption of small amounts of mycotoxins (amounts not detected in any pet food manufacturers quality control testing). They found this small day to day consumption can result in “chronic diseases such as liver and kidney fibrosis, infections resulting from immonosuppression and cancer.” This peer reviewed science shows any pet foods containing even small amounts of corn and other grains pose health risks to the pets that consume them.
Science Diet also addresses their use of by-products and meat by-products. They state “Our ingredients include by-products, which are common ingredients found in both human and pet food.” This statement is somewhat of a stretch. The AAFCO definition of Poultry by-product (same definition for chicken by-product) is “must consist of non-rendered clean parts of carcasses of slaughtered poultry such as heads, feet, viscera, free from fecal content and foreign matter except in such trace amounts as might occur unavoidably in good factory practice.” Perhaps some humans around the world consume food containing chicken intestines free from fecal content, but I doubt it’s being served at many Super Bowl parties.
Science Diet was straight forward defending their use of by-products, but one ingredient common to the majority of Science Diet pet foods (and many other pet foods) that wasn’t mentioned was Animal Fat.
Here is the AAFCO definition of the pet food ingredient Animal Fat. “Animal Fat is obtained from the tissues of mammals and/or poultry in the commercial processes of rendering or extracting.” Sounds innocent enough doesn’t it? Well…here’s some FACT about the pet food ingredient Animal Fat.
In 2002 the FDA/CVM published “Risk from Pentobarbital in Dog Food”. The following are excerpts from this FDA report…
“During the 1990s, FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) received reports from veterinarians that pentobarbital, an anesthetizing agent used for dogs and other animals, seemed to be losing its effectiveness in dogs. Based on these reports, CVM officials decided to investigate a plausible theory that the dogs were exposed to pentobarbital through dog food, and that this exposure was making them less responsive to pentobarbital when it was used as a drug.”
“There appear to be associations between rendered or hydrolyzed ingredients and the presence of pentobarbital in dog food. The ingredients Meat and Bone Meal (MBM), Beef and Bone Meal (BBM), Animal Fat (AF), and Animal Digest (AD) are rendered or hydrolyzed from animal sources that could include euthanized animals.”
FACT (FDA determiniation – not mine) The commonly used pet food ingredient Animal Fat “could include euthanized animals.”
And further FACT on this topic, there has been NO conclusive scientific evidence to prove or disprove that euthanized dogs and cats are the source of the pentobarbital found in some pet foods. The FDA/CVM reported that the source pentobarbital found in dog foods could be from three possible species; dog, cats, and/or horses. (At taxpayer expense) The FDA/CVM developed species source testing in an effort to determine exactly what animal was euthanized, rendered, and then became a pet food testing positive for pentobarbital. Their testing found no dog DNA and no cat DNA. The FDA/CVM made the proud statement “The results demonstrated a complete absence of material that would have been derived from euthanized dogs or cats.”
So the source of the pentobarbital found in dog food must be euthanized horses, right? Wrong. FDA/CVM testing found no horse DNA either. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/FDAVeterinarianNewsletter/UCM055628.pdf (page 8)
Thus, the FDA/CVM testing was inconclusive. Since no DNA was discovered from the three possible species of animals that are routinely euthanized with the drug pentobarbital, the question still remains. Do rendered dogs and cats become common pet food ingredients animal fat, meat and bone meat, and animal digest?
FACT. Any food – pet food or human food – would be considered adulterated and thus prohibited by Federal law if it contained the remains of a euthanized animal. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is very clear on this. FACT is, the FDA provides the pet food industry with the opportunity to violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act via FDA Compliance Policies, allowing any pet food to contain diseased animals and euthanized animals.
And one more FACT…no pet food company that uses the pet food ingredients determined by FDA testing that “could contain euthanized animals” has publically provided negative pentobarbital test results of their pet foods to prove their foods do not contain this lethal drug or euthanized animals.
Lots of FACTS and a lot of remaining questions.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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