The new buzz word of pet food is…’clean’. “Clean label” and “Clean food”. Beware of the buzz.
Mars Petcare has introduced a new pet food with the trademarked tag line “Nutro. Feed Clean.” From a press release announcing the pet food: “The NUTRO. FEED CLEAN™ philosophy adapts the human clean eating trend to pets with pet food recipes that are simple, purposeful and trustworthy and made with real, recognizable, non-GMO ingredients as close to their native form as possible.”
What does ‘clean’ mean? Mars Petcare defines it as “incorporating whole fruits and vegetables, recognizable ingredients and products with short/simple ingredient lists into a diet and avoiding artificial flavors, colors and preservatives.”
Does Mars Petcare ‘feed clean’ pet food follow it’s own definition of clean?
Mars Petcare ‘feed clean’ pet food is called “Wholesome Essentials”. These pet foods are feed grade – they are not a human grade or food grade pet food. Being feed grade means the ingredients can be sourced from inferior quality – such as USDA condemned animal material. Would you consider USDA condemned animal material ‘clean’? Mars Petcare also incorporates another buzz word into a Wholesome Essentials pet food name – ‘Farm-Raised Chicken, Brown Rice and Sweet Potato Recipe’. “Farm Raised” is buzz that has no official meaning. USDA condemned chicken can be ‘farm raised’ (and it could be factory farm raised where birds have little to no quality of life and fed recycled waste feed).
Another buzz of ‘clean’ in pet food comes from a non-profit group called the “Clean Label Project“. The Clean Label Project website states the organization rates products using “data and science to reveal the true contents of America’s best-selling consumer products.”
‘Clean’ from this website we can assume means free of toxins such as heavy metals, BPA and pesticides. Clean Label Project provides the results of testing on more than 900 pet foods and rates them according to results. But the Clean Label Project takes no consideration of pet food ingredient definitions and regulations into their ratings. Such as Beneful Dog Food…
The Clean Label Project provides Purina Beneful with its highest rating – five stars.
As well, this same dog food is rated high in “Purity” and “Product Value”…
On the Clean Label Project Beneful review page it states “Other sites perform label reviews to assess product quality. With the help of Ellipse Analytics, an independent analytical testing lab, Clean Label Project rates products based on laboratory tests for more than 75 environmental and industrial toxins such as toxic metals (arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury and nickel), antibiotic-residues, 60+ pesticide residues, BPA/BPS, melamine, mycotoxins, and acrylamides.”
But shouldn’t ingredients be considered too? A look at the ingredients of Beneful Originals with Real Beef we find the food contains – (and ‘real’ – “with Real Beef” – is another buzz word. Real has no legal meaning.)…
- includes 7 grain ingredients (of 16 food ingredients)
- includes chicken by-product meal which is allowed per ingredient legal definition to be sourced from dead/non-slaughtered chicken carcasses (DOA birds)
- includes poultry by-product meal – same as above
- includes poultry and pork digest which is allowed per ingredient legal definition to be sourced from dead/non-slaughtered poultry and pigs (DOA animals)
- contains more salt than spinach, peas and carrots
While testing is great and needed, is a pet food ‘clean’ or ‘pure’ or a ‘value’ if it contains inferior quality ingredients? Is this really helping pet food consumers?
Originally the Clean Label Project website included ratings on pet foods for ‘nutritional superiority’ – and it listed multiple brands that few educated pet food consumers would consider ‘nutritionally superior’. TruthaboutPetFood.com sent questions to the organization regarding their nutritional ratings. Two weeks later the organization responded with “We decided to remove the nutritional superiority aspect of our rating system as there are no label laws within the pet food industry.”
Unfortunately, the organization is wrong about label laws. There are many laws governing pet food labels.
Last year the pet food buzz word was ‘sustainable’, this year it’s ‘clean’. Be wary of pet food buzz words.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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The 2019 List of Pet Foods I would trust to feed my own pets