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The Pay Per View Regulation of Pet Food

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  1. Cannoliamo

    As a pet owner who has to spend many hours learning about the different ingredients that are marketed for and sold as cat food, there appears to be a huge difference between human and pet food dietary understanding. Human food is based on specific identifiable ingredients that are IN the food, where as pet food is a hodgepodge of food processing waste (much of it rendered and unidentifiable) and any food-related ingredient that isn’t specifically forbidden as harmful to pets. The AAFCO standards are more oriented to exclusion of certain food processing waste materials as opposed to the inclusion of known healthy dietary ingredients.

    Even the labels say things like .. “Contains NO wheat gluten or soy, no poultry by-product meal, and no artificial flavors or colors” as if that makes it a good food. I’ve spoken to many AAFCO and pet food representatives, some of whom are nutritionists, but I’ve yet to find a CDR Certified Registered Pet Food DIETICIAN for cats and dogs who can explain the dietetics of specific pet foods and their ingredients. It’s as if the pet foods have never been studied for what IS know to be healthy and nutritious in a diet, but only for what is NOT acceptable in a food. Many of the proteins, fats and carbohydrates are not even specified on the label. I’ve found that the pet food industry in general is FAR more afraid of consumers learning the actual food sources and actual ingredients than human food manufacturers are and are FAR more secretive and nebulous in their labels and ingredients, including many unidentified food sources. It is close to impossible to develop a known healthy diet for my cats.

    Frustrating to say the least.

  2. Cheryl Bond

    This is so OUTRAGEOUS‼️ It’s a complete misuse of our taxpayer dollars. I just can’t believe what they can get away with! AAFCO being a privately owned company, should not be bleeding a government agency that we taxpayers pay for, & then make us pay yet again! This is nonsense & they should not be allowed to get away with this! All information should be able to be accessed by the consumers & taxpayers funding the report.

    What, if anything can be done to oppose this Susan? Can you start a petition, or FOIA request? It’s so maddening that they can get away with, seemingly anything they damn well want to!

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      I think everyone contacting their State Attorney General on this – that their State Department of Agriculture participates in this government work (without providing the public access) is a good start. I’m also going to consult with one of the big legal aid consumer organizations to see if they would be interested in filing a lawsuit for consumers.

      1. Jackie Earnshaw, CPDT-KA

        Thank you. i was going to ask about action steps we can take. Will do. And thanks to you Susan for moving forward with a potential lawsuit.

  3. Susan Hayes

    Susan – FYI, below is the response I received after emailing the Arizona Department of Agriculture (using
    your suggested letter — and thank you for providing it). I have not responded.


    Director Killian has asked that I respond to your email. Feed is a complicated issue that has terms that have been developed for over 100 years. The purpose in this ever growing industry was to ensure that feed provided the needed animal nutrients and to define what it was so people couldn’t cheat and consumers would have uniformity and knowledge on what things were. Recently there has been the trend for premium meals made for pets from food people eat. These items would normally be recognized as safe. However, they still need to meet the nutrient requirements of the animals.

    We have the AAFCO publication available here in the office for anyone who cares to come and look at it. This is a copyrighted document so therefore, we cannot put it up on the web. I am certain you are aware if you do an internet search you will find many of the definitions. I know this is not what you are requesting but it is the best we can do at this time.

    I understand your request and we will keep it in mind as we attend the AAFCO meetings and discussions about terms, of any sort arise. Will a consumer understand it, if it is human edible ingredients – do people recognize this. Currently this is how poultry products are defined. Poultry is non-rendered chicken – basically the muscle meat. Poultry by products are non-rendered other stuff. Meat meal would be rendered products. Terms have been developed over years through lots of discussion and compromise. This involves input from states across the country, stakeholders – industry and non-government groups. It is a compromise, but one we as a regulatory agency try to keep all of our constituency in mind.

    Jack Peterson
    Associate Director, ESD
    Arizona Department of Agriculture
    1688 W Adams Street
    Phoenix, AZ 85007

    1. Susan Thixton Author

      Thank you for sharing and thank you for writing them. But it wasn’t quite honest with his definitions. He needs to re-read the definitions.

      1. landsharkinnc

        Uninformed, incorrect, yes, but I hate to think that the answers were deliberately, intentionally dishonest . He probably 1. hasn’t read ALL the definitions and 2. would not understand what those definitions actually meant anyway!

  4. tag

    When my dog had bladder stone surgery it was recommended by the vet to feed a very expensive diet so this wouldn’t happen again. I actually bought a couple of cans and he wouldn’t touch it. I took every ingredient in it and did my own research and trust me soon found there was NO WAY I would ever feed this garbage to my pet. What I did do was study just what caused stones to form and followed a diet plan away from those foods. My baby died 6 months ago but he never had stones again. Bottom line. Do your own research because the vets and the food manufactures are not going to do it for you.

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