We trust our pet’s life with a pet food. To gain our trust, we need some information from the manufacturer. Here is a list of the most important questions to ask your pet food manufacturer (and why you want answers).
The top two answers you need from your pet food manufacturer are to these questions…
1. Are meat and vegetable (and fruit if applicable) ingredients certified human edible? (USDA inspected and approved for human consumption.)
2. What is the country of origin of all ingredients? including each supplement?
Why you want the answers to these questions…
Question 1. Unlike human food, pet food can be made using waste ingredients. Just about every type of waste is allowed in pet food – risky waste such as diseased animal tissue food safety law does not allow into human food and/or risky chemical or mold contaminated vegetables food safety law does not allow in human food.
Some manufacturers have become wise on how to avoid this question. Some will respond they legally are not allowed to call their ingredients human grade; ‘when the ingredients become a pet food we are not allowed to call the ingredients human grade’. Not true. Some will respond all ingredients are ‘sourced from a USDA inspected facility’. Not complete.
Push on – your question is…Are meat and vegetable (and fruit if applicable) ingredients certified human edible? It does not matter if the ingredients go into pet food, it does not matter if the supplier is inspected. Your question is are the actual ingredients used to make the pet food are certified human edible.
For me – no human edible ingredients…means no for my own pets. I will not give my pets anything made from pet grade feed ingredient waste.
Question 2. Many pet food ingredients are sourced from China. Not that everything from China is a risk, however for pet food consumers China sourced ingredients has caused thousands of pet deaths and illness.
Some manufacturers have become wise on how to avoid this question too. Many will neglect to provide country of origin of supplements. Some will claim ‘China is the only source…’ China is the only source for cheap bulk ingredients…but not the only source for all supplements.
For me – I would not give my pets a food or treat that contained a Chinese sourced ingredient. The history of risk associated with Chinese ingredients is not a risk I’m willing to take with my own pets.
The answers to these two questions will give you a wealth of information to base your pet food purchases on. But if you want to dig a little deeper…
3. Are ingredients transported and warehoused under food safety regulations?
4. Where are foods made? A Co-packer or company owned manufacturing? If a co-packer is used, is a representative on-site with each batch made? Does a representative inspect and approve each ingredient prior to manufacturing?
5. Do you require quality assurances from suppliers of ingredients? Are your foods GMO free? If so, what assurances do you require from your suppliers?
Why you might want to dig a little deeper…
Question 3. Currently, pet food regulations do not require pet food ingredients to be transported or warehoused under the same requirements ‘food’ is held to. Such as, pet food chicken is not required to be transported and warehoused under refrigeration. Imagine a truckload of chicken…in the summer…in a dirty trailer.
Question 4. Using a co-packer (a pet food manufacturing facility or human food manufacturing facility that manufactures for others) is not a bad thing. But it is information that the consumer deserves to know. It is a huge plus when a representative of the pet food brand is on-site overseeing the manufacture of their own food.
Question 5. Quality of ingredients is the foundation of a quality pet food. Learning what each manufacturer requires of ingredient suppliers gives some insight to quality control practices of the company. Non-GMO is a personal choice each pet food consumer has to decide on. GMO’s come with risks – Non-GMO comes with a higher price tag (human food as well).
For my own pets, I only provide them foods that are held to the same legal requirements as human food, I would not be concerned if the pet food used a co-packer (as long as they provide guarantees to oversight of manufacturing), and as best I can afford – I choose non-GMO.
Some pet food manufacturers will promptly and openly respond to your questions. Others will not respond in writing and will be evasive with answers. This cooperation with the consumer or lack of cooperation speaks volumes. Pay attention to how questions are responded to.
The important thing is to ask questions. You are putting your pet’s life at risk trusting a pet food. You deserve some answers.
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 2500 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
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The 2019 List of Pet Foods I would trust to feed my own pets