How Common are Mislabeled Ingredients in Pet Food?

Mislabeled ingredients in pet food

A recent study conducted by ELISA Technologies analyzed the ingredients in pet food as shown on the package label with the actual ingredients found in the food.  The results were startling. 

The study showed that 10 pet foods had mislabeled ingredients.  Only 21 pet foods were  included in the study.  Two of the pet foods had more than one mislabeled ingredient.

In some cases, venison is shown on the label.  But venison is not found in the food.  This hurts consumers who are trying to eliminate protein sources that causing allergic reactions to their pets.

Other foods claim to have no gluten.  This is very important to many consumers.  But some foods that make this claim actually include gluten.

The published an article that discusses this study.  It seems to take the side of manufacturers of pet food, saying that mislabeled ingredients are unintentional on the part of these manufacturers.

I personally believe that this statement does not seriously consider the interest of the consumer.  With the numerous recalls of pet foods over the last few years, consumers are much more aware of the ingredients as shown on the package.

I read the article put out by  It is entitled “Are your petfood labels accurate?

Here is a quote from the article:

We found eight foods that tested positive for an animal protein not listed on the ingredient label: two instances of undeclared beef/sheep, five of pork and one of deer. Conversely, in two instances, foods claiming to contain venison tested negative for deer content but positive for beef, sheep or pork. Two foods used a general term, meat and bone meal, rather than listing a specific protein source. Both of these foods tested positive only for pork content, but these were not considered instances of mislabeling.

A recent survey of 21 commercial dog foods showed 12 instances of mislabeling in 10 of the products tested (two foods had more than one labeling issue).

Twelve of the 21 foods tested listed no gluten source (wheat, rye, barley or related grains) in their ingredient list, and five were specifically labeled as gluten-free or grain-free. Five of the 12 foods with no listed gluten source, including two of those foods promoted as gluten- or grain-free, tested positive for gluten at greater than 80 ppm. This level is far above FDA’s proposed limit of 20 ppm for gluten-free labeling in human foods.

Overall, there were 12 instances of mislabeling in 10 of the dog foods tested; two foods had more than one labeling issue (Table 1). As in the human food industry, this type of mislabeling is typically not intentional on the part of the manufacturer. Rather, it is most often the result of mistakes during formulation or the receipt of mislabeled product from a supplier.

The complete article can be found here.

I feel that these mislabeled ingredients in pet food are actually lies offered by pet food vendors to consumers.  Consumers deserve better.  I feel that these pet foods with mislabeled ingredients should be banned.  What do you think?  Thanks for your comments.

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