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The Two Percent of Pet Food that is Hated by Regulatory

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  1. TwoSedonaBums

    Very simple… If Monsanto made raw pet food, everything would be cool.

    1. Debi

      So too true !!!!!! may be a problem getting the smart, informed throngs to buy it tho.

  2. Amy

    Maybe the raw pet food manufacturers need to start buying the FDA lunch, talk, and make friends?

    1. Terry L.

      Exactly! Apparently the only thing that matters is how those folks in regulatory positions respond to is wooing by lobbyists. It not only includes lunches, but other generous perks, campaigning for appointees and campaign contributions to those elected – – it’s all about quid pro quo. It sickens me.

      It’s extremely difficult for my wife and I to find safe pet food.

  3. Sharon Bilotta-Testa

    No point contacting FDA…waste of time no point contacting ANY pet food company..they will only tell you whay you want to hear…if you do not believe what Pet Fooled knows,says and is 100% accurate then no point of you trying to change what many of us have already done and that’s either making your own pet food or buying raw..if not for Susan and the documentary of Pet Fooled we’d still be wasting OUR money on the crap the pet food industry makes and the ridiculous myth behind ALL of them!

  4. Bill McQuade

    Headline needs changing Susan. Swap “agenda” for the word “bias”


    My pets look amazing and I have feed them Primal brand raw sincee they were tiny!!!
    That speaks for itself…
    9year old dog and cat!!!

  6. Caron

    I agree with you, I think it’s the greed of big pet food and fuddy duddies.
    The best thing that could ever happen is everyone make their own raw or cooked food or just buy raw.
    One can only dream.

  7. Reader

    Raw feeders are going to be coming out of the woodwork over this article. But here goes.

    The point of the article is clearly understood! Required reading for the uninformed and unaware. Meaning, consistency in the regulation of any PF regarding safety and integrity must be enforced. No excuses. Personally, my dog eats raw for 1 of 2 daily meals. A brand well vetted from Susan’s 2017 List! In addition to having spoken with the product Rep, personally.

    In terms of keeping our discussions here, fair and balanced, it’s easy to jump to a conspiracy theory. However doing that kind of thinking, is a disservice to the main message of this website, for the reason that it is already (and unfairly) accused of being alarmist. So, in terms of how “Regulation” views traditional PF versus the greater bioavailability of raw, there could be a couple of other factors at work here.

    For example, knowing what “Regulation” already does about the PFI, applying those kinds of mistakes in the production of raw products, is even more dangerous! Granted, the ingredients are simplified. But just as much in need of quality AND sourcing integrity! As consumers, we’ve been very lucky so far, that a horrible bad batch of meat hasn’t gotten involved. And unless the company has been vetted by Susan, how sure can we be that raw meat is otherwise fit for human consumption? Just because the company tells us so … oh sure. Also a lot of raw food is cured in a manner reducing the ultimate benefit of uncooked protein. And owners who can literally throw a whole raw chicken leg into the feed bowl, certainly have more courage than myself. But I know it works especially for large breeds. And I know in the wild everything is consumed. The difference being, that all of it is virtually fresh and uncompromised.

    It IS good that raw food is highly tested! It should be, it needs to be. Because an error would have a greater ramification. So my guess is, this idea is what alarms both “Regulation” and Vets. Statistically speaking non-raw poses a higher risk, because (by volume and purchasing) more of it is made and sold. While we understand those risk factors, somehow our pets have “survived” issues of salmonella. Though (and in perfect agreement) am not believing that doing so, is optimal course of ideal survival.

    But the other side of this issue is all about handling! Really, … there is a difference between tearing off the cellophane from a package of chicken (hopefully rinsing it off in the sink) and throwing it into the baking pan or onto the grill! Good hygiene for the purpose of humans, has been taught by every responsible parent and caregiver! Because (quite frankly) a failure actually does make PEOPLE sick, and that’s what really matters, right.

    And yet, have you ever watched how average people feed their pets? These are the kinds of people still hauling out 35 pound bags of Ole Roy and the House Brand from huge discount stores! If they don’t care about their pet, at that level, regarding product quality and integrity, then they don’t care about their pet. Or more realistically, they are uneducated about the issue. Even more to the point, they are uneducated about pet nutrition in general. I wouldn’t want these naïve folks to be throwing raw chicken outside in the plastic food bowl, on a 90 degree day. Hoping it’s been readily consumed. Then forgetting about cleaning the bowl! And heaven only knows, what happens in between those steps!

    The other concern is a dog eating a bowl of raw food, then handling toys and (potentially) licking the face and hands of some kid. From that health standpoint, it does seem plausible for warnings to be issued. And (apples to oranges) two wrongs in the world of PF, don’t make either one less of an issue. Good quality and the safety of any kind of PF should be the norm. All of it should be equally regulated. And raw PF food should be qualified with an understanding of mandatory handling instructions! It is all about education. Which (for some reason) Vets don’t even want to bother with. Because (IMO) a mistake with raw food can be far more serious, than a bad batch of kibble or canned. The result causing (so-called) 24 hour human or kennel flu (even though there’s no such thing).

    1. Sharon Bilotta-Testa

      The people who choose to buy cheapest pet food are either making too little having a difficult time just getting by or think that at least it’s better than nothing…considering how many of us saw Pet Fooled and know how decisive ALL the major pet food industries are at least there are close to 1 million that made drastic changes on what we will and are feeding are pets and us 1 million will inform every pet owner to watch Pet Fooled and decide to also make the same decision!!!

      1. Reader

        I think you meant deceptive instead of decisive, but no matter, point well taken!

    2. Michael

      While you made some very good points, mandatory handling instructions and having the “average person” feed raw and how education is the key factor. However you are completely wrong about an “error in raw would have greater ramification” and the result of a bad batch of kibble causing only a ( so called) 24 hour flu. Perhaps you aren’t aware of the class action law suits filed against Beneful making thousands of dogs sick and die. I think if you spoke to those dog owners they would disagree about the seriousness or ramification.
      It is very simple, the benefits of raw feeding far outweigh any slim risk that is virtually eliminated thru proper handling. This also depends on the raw manufacturer and their level of sourcing and handling. Which I believe needs to be tested and regulated , and is. The issue an focus of this article is the double standard of the FDA/CVM, and instead of educating coming out against the feeding of raw and that something is amiss.

      so while you made some good points you also added to the misinformation being spread in these forums.

      1. Reader

        Thank you for reading my comment. Most just skip over the long ones. You’re correct! I didn’t mean to dismiss any pet illness. But it certainly read that way! There is no “degree” of permissible risk in PF. Thank you for your correction. And yes, am aware of Beneful (and others). And while I’m the last person on earth to defend such an inferior product, at issue is a particular toxicity.

        Raw (for a lot of reasons) can be an adjunct to rotational feeding. But it shouldn’t “need” to be the only alternative for other forms, JUST because other forms are of such inferior quality! There have been a few relatively higher quality brands (such as Mulligan Stew) but they couldn’t afford to stay in business. And were honest enough to not lower their standards for sourcing and processing!

        The article is about the double standard of “regulation.” One aspect of the discussion includes the question of WHY the double standard exists.

        Some would say, because the general PFI (and Vets) are squashing competition. And to do that, they unfairly lobby the FDA for permissions and exceptions that don’t apply to raw. (I get that). And yet, more manufacturers could (and are) entering into the raw PF market, because of growing awareness. So I suggested “regulation” focuses on raw PF, as they do on human grade raw food.

        The question can still be asked. Which is going to make you sicker, more quickly. A handful of bacteria ridden raw meat or a handful of cereal with inferior grain? Which doesn’t mean there shouldn’t also be a requirement for safe handling instructions on raw PF packages, just like human food products. But it doesn’t fix the whole problem.

        IMO “regulation” doesn’t trust pet owners to be vigilant enough. Dogs are NOT treated like family. And the FDA is NOT in the business of education. Which includes what defines a quality product, how it should be balanced, what curing means, and how feeding in the home requires oversight. Period. If every raw food product was of the caliber as those on Susan’s 2017 – not problem. But we KNOW they aren’t. And a “safe handling” label on a package isn’t the equivalent of doing required research!

        So in the interest of NOT misinforming readers of this site, they need to understand feeding raw PF is a responsibility! And a greater one than scooping out highly processed dry or canned stuff and forgetting about it!

      2. Sharon Bilotta-Testa

        And to think that Beneful Iams and several other brands of cheap crap made the list of Best dog food..I know several dog owners who believe this as they been only feeding this awful crap for years BUT wonder why their dogs have skin dieses cancer kidney stones and so many other ailments…

    3. Em

      Just a small correction, but rinsing of poultry is now discouraged because of the spread/splattering of bacteria.

    4. Acacia Rogers

      You may not be taking one important thing into account. Carnivores digestive systems are equipped to handle some raw-present bacteria. The safety standards of most raw brands, thus far, are far higher that that of most kibble brands. The pros vastly outweigh the cons. Regulation on everything should be stringent and safe raw handling practices should always be taken seriously, but these regulatory officials are wrongly saying “don’t buy raw” not “be careful with raw” or “research your raw” or “wash hands thoroughly when handling raw” or “keep raw frozen/refrigerated”. no. its “Don’t feed raw its not safe!”.. This is a fallacy and our carnivore pets are far healthier when raw fed basically 100% of the time. The only reason for this bias is for the benefit of big pet food, not the benefit of our pets. No. Question. About it.

      1. Reader

        Speaking of opinion:

        Having been introduced to a canine prey model diet 18 years ago, and both of mine greatly benefitted. The person who introduced me (responsible feeding many dogs) never delegated the task. Because the responsibility for handling the ingredients was very clear, and mistakes were detrimental.

        So far it seems manufacturing raw food is safe. But limited. Though some forms of precaution compromise pure bioavailability. Even so, would we be comfortable with companies like Purina, Mars Petcare and Evangers selling truly raw food? When it costs more to manufacture, requires higher quality sourcing, stringent safety and testing standards. So far companies (like those mentioned) have demonstrated ZERO concern for pets and people. Why wouldn’t Regulation understand this same reality as well. And perhaps that is their real bias.

        If Regulation can’t control (ensure) what’s currently on the market (and for more reasons than even the public understands) then why would Regulation encourage the expansion raw food popularity to be added to their list of concerns. It’s not their job to provide safe handling instructions. The message isn’t “don’t feed raw because it’s bad for your dog.” The message is “there’s not enough control over PF manufacturing as it is” and “the general public isn’t informed enough to compensate!” Practical, permissible and beneficial are separate issues. While the PFI may be avoiding competition, and Vets don’t want to see an increase in (poor handling) complications, Regulators don’t have time to be biased for no reason at all.. Right or wrong, they just don’t have the band-width to expand their oversight.

        The fallacy is accepting as a “solution” that 100% raw feeding is the ONLY alternative to products using inferior ingredients and processing methods. Which is like saying, walking (much more healthy) is the only alternative to unsafe transportation, which is the result of insufficient oversight and penalties!

        1. Michael

          Actually the message from the FDA clear “FDA does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets” However they don’t have the confirmed cases/ statistics to back up or warrant the effort put forth for close to 30 recalls over the last 7 years. The FDA’s overzealous concern about Raw ( 2%) as big bad wolf, when Kibble has caused more fatalities of dogs and sick humans…( last time I checked kibble is cooked ).
          Regarding whether its the FDA’s job to provide safe handling instructions… The USDA provides such instructions so why can’t the FDA? The USDA doesn’t even consider Salmonella an adulterant. Poultry farms are allowed to sell Poultry with over 50% positive rates while the FDA has a Zero tolerance. Figure that one out. Sounds like Pet food is under the wrong jurisdiction to me.
          You touch upon the fact that the general public isn’t informed enough. You are correct, so the question is why not educate about safe handling and feeding, rather than put out a statement that includes “significant health risks”. Those are powerful words aimed at causing concern about feeding this type of diet. Are their risks, absolutely, however so minimal and with proper handling and education those risks are all but eliminated. The money, time and effort wasted on these recalls just doesn’t add up.

      2. T Allen

        Make sure to emphasize “to handle SOME raw-present bacteria” because most people do not realize how many genetic mutations, due to overcrowding and toxins, have been created in the last 50 years! These super bugs, of all kinds, are capable of killing animals as well as people. Otherwise I heartily agree with the rest of your comment!

  8. Catherine

    I think you should send this to the CDC!
    Not that they would pay any attention, but it is a mystery to me what they have to gain from this HAZARDOUS misleading of the public.
    I understand the FDA sorta – they get funded by the pet food industry (if that isn’t the most ridiculous situation ever…)

  9. T Allen

    Part of the issue is liability. USDA requires warning labels for human meats. Keep it cold, wash your hands. and COOK thoroughly! The reason for those mandatory labels is that they know that the meat is contaminated with salmonella and listeria. They work to keep the numbers down but there is no such thing as zero bacteria raw meat! If that low bacteria raw meat is improperly handled or prepared people /animals can get sick, very sick. Knowing how the meat by products for pet food are mishandled they are rightly concerned that those products are potentially dangerous if the companies are not very careful. That said, if you can feed your family home prepared chicken without them getting sick than you have the skills to feed your animals raw meat as well.

    1. Michelle Smith Unroe

      The FDA tolerance for bacteria is much higher in meats for human consumption than in raw for pets.

  10. Michelle Smith Unroe

    Not only are inspectors looking for expired raw product at the retail level, they are pulling test samples from there too then holding manufacturers responsible for any excessive levels of contamination. This is after the product has been shipped to and from distributors and handled at the retail level as well, allowing multiple opportunities for the product to thaw, none of which are under direct control by the manufacturer.

  11. Michael

    To Michelle… you are correct. USDA has a 3 tiered protocol for compliance and are allowed to sell chicken with over 50% positive rate of salmonella. FDA has a Zero tolerance. This is about Jurisdiction and Common sense and the FDA/CVM need to simply allow Raw Pet food to be labeled as Human Raw meat is labeled with common sense safe handling
    and cooking ( if desired )

    1. Reader

      Except … that we can’t be sure ALL raw pet food is suitable for human consumption, no matter what’s claimed.

      Evangers just proved that.

      Disclaimer: I do feed my dog raw PF. But I’ve known a couple to get exceptionally sick from it. sorry, I know you don’t want to hear that.

  12. Acacia Rogers

    The veterinary industry has a lot to do with it too. Raw diets make healthy pets. Healthy pets don’t need veterinary services as much, and thus the veterinary industry looses money the more pets are raw or “human grade” fed.

    1. Reader

      Would a doctor ignore your sugar addiction to protect his revenue stream. I agree Vets should be open minded about feeding, and judge the pet as the result of that success. But disagree that an ethical Vet doesn’t want to see a pet healthy. Much less needs to make money from an unhealthy one. Have you any idea what a Vet goes through consulting with a very distressed owner when a pet is failing.

  13. Michael

    To “reader” Vets are required less than 20 hours of nutritional training. I don’t think its about ethics its more about the lack of self or furthering their education on nutrition. They are in the business of fixing and not preventive medicine. While many younger vets are now thinking outside the box ( or 40lb kibble bag ), its going to take another decade or two before we see real change with more
    nutritional minded veterinarians.

  14. Ms. B Dawson

    Here’s another angle of attack on raw diets. Tufts has long criticized raw diets, once even quoting one of their vets saying “raw diets aren’t natural for dogs” in their newsletter. They have just published a survey on Therapy Animal programs that says too many hospitals, nursing homes, etc. aren’t making sure the animals are not putting patients at risk of zoonotic diseases. They state the following in their press release:

    “….This risk is especially high when health, grooming and hand-washing protocols are not carefully used. Another potential risk could come from therapy animals eating raw meat-based diets or treats, which are at high risk of being contaminated with bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium. These pathogens may pose risks to both humans and animals, and especially immunocompromised patients….”

    The survey results state in part, “…70 percent allowed therapy animals eating raw meat diets to visit facilities and only 19 percent prohibited them (the remaining 11 percent chose not to answer)…”. Notice how this is written – ONLY 19 percent. Makes you think these are the only programs who are doing it right, doesn’t it? How long before some congressperson picks up on that and passes legislation banning raw fed animals from therapy programs?

    The full survey can be found here:

    1. tallen

      Thanks for posting! I sent the authors a letter requesting the hard data they had to back up these “facts”. Along with a list of research references disputing their claim(s). 🙂

    2. Pacific Sun

      PF advocates (us) are already identified as being emotional extremists! Let’s not further promote the idea by assuming there’s a grand conspiracy against raw diets. There is (instead) a fear of people not doing it responsibly. And it’s not the Vet’s job to monitor the situation either, when there are too many variables.

      Therapy animals are permitted in a medical setting on an exceptional basis. The primary concern is patient welfare, by understanding a range of circumstantial risk exists. But people over-generalize in their thinking, assuming that because feeding raw in the home poses no problems, it doesn’t anywhere else. Let’s say an owner feeds a raw meal, just before entering a medical facility, and the dog doing it’s therapy work with patients. Assume further, the dog has barely digested the contents. Not very likely, but theoretically “possible.” Doesn’t the facility own the liability for allowing Therapy dogs on it’s property?

      Government should NOT be involved in prohibiting anything, pet wise. Or it will lead to a lot of unwanted situations! So to prevent that from happening, owners need to be proactive about taking extra precaution in the name of patient confidence. That setting is no place to try and “prove” a point at the expense of others. Dogs aren’t supposed to be licking the hand of a patient (but it happens). A child puts a hand in their mouth. Or a patient might have a skin lesion, even a blister. We assume pathogens from raw feeding don’t survive in a dog’s mouth. Yet as raw feeders (I am too), we advise exceptional cleanliness at all points. Personally I don’t want the remnants of a dog (that’s just chewed up chicken necks) slobbering on me either.

      Medicine is science based, and would respond to a scientific study proving the predominant safety of raw feeding in the medical/patient setting. If such a report does exist, then let the that speak for itself. Keep the lawmakers at bay … using facts and proof!

      1. tallen

        I sent a comment stating that exact sentiment to the authors of the study. Asked for a reply but not holding my breath. This was soft science and we need hard facts (of which I can’t find any) to back up these claims. here’s some data I sent in the email, FYI.
        1. More people have been sickened by salmonella from eating dry food than raw.

        2. The FDA’s own data show more food recalls of dry kibble than raw for Salmonella.

        3. ALL dogs have zoonotic bacteria in their mouths.

        4. ALL dogs mouths have zoonotic parasites and diseases due to fecal-oral contamination.

        Here’s a 2012 Research paper that lists the microbiome of dogs mouths. 99% likelyhood none of these dogs were raw fed.

        Here’s the list of species they found, not including the 80% unnamed oral taxa. Table S4

        1. Pacific Sun

          T Allen writes: “That said, if you can feed your family home prepared chicken without them getting sick then you have the skills to feed your animals raw meat as well.” Yes, responsible pet owners fall into this category!! I wholeheartedly agree!

          I get it, and your point is WELL taken. The fact that kibble is also a risk, is certainly a relevant factor as well! And we all know these companies should be held responsible. In that sense, there’s hardly a decent defense for saying the feeding of “kibble” is safer than feeding “raw” when your dog enters a medical facility, for therapeutic services! Point very well taken!! And should be stressed!

          Still, we don’t want to discourage the use of therapy dogs. And we don’t want legislative intervention, citing ANY kind of risk that the dog naturally brings with it, by what it’s fed. I am saying that “RAW” feeding is just an added alarm bell! And I think that if kibble were equally examined, as is the expectation of raw food, it still wouldn’t help our cause. Except to recommend that the PFI clean up their act, for so many valid reasons!

          The main issue, of which this discussion constructively plays into, is for advocating the merits of “human grade, edible” ingredients over “livestock” feed, period. You are correct, that the argument must be clearly stated. It doesn’t help at all, that the consumption of kibble is any more or less safe, than other diets! Exactly. And perhaps this IS the best opportunity for stressing that point.

          I just know, that the last thing we want to happen, is banning the therapeutic value dogs bring into the healing/comforting process of medical recovery situations. Perhaps then, we need to broaden our argument, and make the facts (as you’ve presented them) even more widespread, in order to support the general reform of the PFI. Thank you for that post! And for making that point!!

      2. Ms. B Dawson

        You’re points are well taken, PacSun, but…. I don’t see a grand conspiracy theory.

        I see entrenched bias based on the information taught in Vet schools. If you trace the authors of the nutrition books used, you will find a large percentage have strong ties to major pet food companies such as Royal Canin and back in the day, Science Diet & Iams (I’ve been in the industry since 1992).

        As a biologist, I was taught that bad data is worse than no data at all. I see bad data used in many, many fields today. The curriculum in colleges is often heavily influenced by political necessity to please those who donate or to avoid controversy. Veterinary & medical schools are heavily financed by the pharmaceutical industry who build labs and provide grant money for research; pet food companies provide scholarships. This shades what is taught just as surely as the victors write the history.

        When surveys such as this are publicized by prestigious schools like Tufts, they will be taken as fact, not opinion. A survey merely collects the opinions of those surveyed and is a snapshot of what the respondents have done or believe. This was not a STUDY. The authors compiled the responses and put forth a hypothesis, i.e.. because 19% percent of therapy dogs eat raw food there is the potential for increased risk of transmission of zoonotic disease.

        This is a valid HYPOTHESIS but it has no STUDIES to back it one way or the other, at least none that I know of. How many facilities who read this will see an out of proportion risk (and the potential for a lawsuit) even though to date the absence of widespread policies banning raw fed dogs would seem to indicate there is no increased risk. Dogs, after all, lick their butts, drink out of toilets and sniff all over potentially contaminated surfaces.

        This survey adds to the growing list of unsupported concerns against raw diets. And THAT’s what bothered me. That’s not emotional or conspiratorial; it’s cold, logical analysis. This information was put out by influential people with delineated educations thinking absolutely that they are doing the right thing to protect people based on what they have been taught. Those with differing opinions need to respectfully challenge at every opportunity, lest something that is questionable be repeated so often that it becomes true.

        Will Rogers once quipped, “There is nothing so stupid as an educated man…if you can get him off the thing he is educated in.”.

        1. tallen

          Write to the authors and see if you can get a response!

          Could Therapy Animal Visitation Pose Health Risks at Patient Facilities?
          Taraneh Pettinato
          Associate Director of Public Relations
          Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University
          (508) 839-7910 office
          (603) 801-1677 mobile

        2. Pacific Sun

          Appreciate your clarification which puts me In full agreement with PFI’s influence over Vet schools and veterinarians. Very unfortunate, and unfair. If only truly objective, independent third party sponsored science existed! We’d actually be making some progress for a change.

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