Without a doubt – this is the biggest difference in pet foods. Food or feed. And I believe this is our best tool to help teach others about the difference in pet foods.
We all have our stories of trying to help another pet food consumer learn the differences of quality of pet foods. One of the best I’ve heard was a consumer in a wholesale club (either Sam’s or Costco I believe) – shopper A noticed a huge bag of pet food in another shoppers cart that was…of questionable quality. This educated pet food consumer reached into her wallet – pulled out a $5 bill and walked over to the other shopper. Shopper A said to shopper B: “I’ll give you $5.00 if you don’t buy that pet food.” And it worked – shopper B listened to shopper A and in turn put back on the shelf the questionable pet food.
But as all of our experiences to share our own ‘truth’ tell us – we aren’t always successful in trying to educate other pet food consumers. Many times, said shopper B is leery of our unsolicited advice. It’s hard to share a wealth of pet food education into a brief few seconds that you have someone’s attention.
Recently, my Mom was trying to help a friend learn a bit more about pet food. My Mom is a bit more informed than many pet food consumers (she is forced to listen to me drag on about pet food), but overall she is the typical educated pet food consumer. She knows why she gives her little dog a food grade (not feed grade) pet food, but can’t quite explain it well to someone else. So she asked me what she could share with her friend to help sway them.
I quickly told Mom “explain to them the difference between food and feed”. Presto! Mom was empowered with an easy to explain and easy to understand difference of pet food. And then my own Presto! happened – if my Mom understood this so quickly and felt so good about explaining this difference to her friend…so could everyone else that wants to help others ‘get’ the differences in pet foods.
I plan on adding more tools in the future for consumers to share the Food, Not Feed explanation to quality of pet foods – but to start…
Food meat must be USDA inspected and approved for human consumption (human edible). On the other hand feed can include…
“No regulatory action will be considered for animal feed ingredients resulting from the ordinary rendering process of industry, including those using animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, provided they are not otherwise in violation of the law.”
“Pet food consisting of material from diseased animals or animals which have died otherwise than by slaughter, which is in violation of 402(a)(5) will not ordinarily be actionable, if it is not otherwise in violation of the law. It will be considered fit for animal consumption.”
Food ingredients must meet food safety requirements – they cannot be contaminated by filth or drugs or pesticides. Feed on the other hand can include…
“FDA does not object to the diversion to animal feed of human food adulterated with rodent, roach, or bird excreta.”
“The *Center* will consider the requests for diversion of food considered adulterated for human use in all situations where the diverted food will be acceptable for its intended animal food use. Such situations may include:
a. Pesticide contamination in excess of the permitted tolerance or action level.
b. Pesticide contamination where the pesticide involved is unapproved for use on a food or feed commodity.
c. Contamination by industrial chemicals.
d. Contamination by natural toxicants.
e. Contamination by filth.
f. Microbiological contamination.
g. Over tolerance or unpermitted drug residues.”
And unfortunately for consumers – there is no way (almost) by looking at the label to determine if a pet food is feed or food. Existing pet food regulations do not allow companies to disclose to the consumer if ingredients are feed or food quality. The exception is pet foods made in a human food manufacturing facility. The best for consumers is to call or email the manufacturer and ask if meat and vegetable ingredients are human edible. If they cannot or do not assure you ingredients are human edible – you can safely assume they are feed grade (those that use food are proud of it and more than willing to explain the quality). Do not assume your pet’s food is food grade. Ask.
Our pets deserve food, not feed. Tell a friend.
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