Pet Food Quality – You Can’t Tell Anything from the Label

Pet Food Quality – The label on the package should provide us with the information we need to know about the quality of the food we are buying.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.  If pet owners think that the label provides accurate information, they are badly mistaken.  The bottom line is that we really don’t know what is in the pet food that we buy. 

I have been following the work of Susan Thixton for a long time.  You need to visit her website to see what all she is doing.  I have referred many times to the posts she publishes.

She wants the federal government agencies, FDA and AAFCO, to properly report the quality of the pet food on the label.  She is doing an excellent job for us in pursuing this subject.

She recently attended AAFCO meeting.  The meeting is a followup to the questions she posed regarding unhealthy food for dogs.  She has written a few posts on the results of that meeting which lasted for at least 2 days.  She notes that she was treated very well by all government officials at the meeting.  However, she was able to voice her concerns on behalf of pet food consumers.

The post I am referring to is entitled, “Feedback to FDA on Pet Food Safety Video.”  In this post, she discusses a pet food safety video presented by the FDA.  The video was shown as a preview to the audience.

The video obviously contained several misleading statements regarding pet food quality as displayed on the pet food label.

The FDA representative asked that feedback regarding the video be sent to him.  Ms. Thixton’s post quotes much of her feedback to the FDA.

Here is a quote from the post:

Statements made in the video that struck me…
“pet food follows the same regulations as people food”
Nope, this is not a factual statement; that is unless ‘people food’ has FDA compliance policies that I’m not aware allowing 4D animals, euthanized animals, and rodent/bird feces infested ingredients into people food.  Pet food does not follow the same regulations as people food.  I guess it could be stated that pet food should follow the same regulations as people food – but certainly you must know they don’t.

“pet foods are truthfully labeled”
Again, no.  Pet food labels and advertisements are as misleading as it gets.  Images of choice cuts of meats, fresh vegetables on the label – turn the bag or can over and you see nothing that comes close to choice cuts of meat in the ingredient panel.  Again, it could be stated ‘pet foods should be truthfully labeled’ – certainly you know many of them are not.

“everything used to make the food must be listed on the label”
No again.  Additives to ingredients added by the ingredient supplier do not have to be listed on the label.  The perfect (and dangerous) example is ethoxyquin added to fish meals and fish oils.  Fish meal suppliers add ethoxyquin prior to the meal becoming a pet food ingredient – ‘e’ is not listed on the label.

In reference to the video urging consumers/petsumers to report a pet food related incident, the statement the FDA can then take “quick action to eliminate the problem” is a concern.  While I agree all pet food related or suspect pet food/treat related incidents should be reported to FDA and to State Dept of Agriculture (and by the way I encourage everyone to do this) – the statement the FDA takes ‘quick action’ to eliminate the problem is not factual – at least not from a pet parent perspective.  I have personally followed up with dozens and dozens of pet owners that have reported a pet food/treat related incident to FDA.  Many of them shared that the FDA investigator was very kind and helpful – however, almost 100% of them have also shared that no follow up or no ‘quick action’ occurred.  All of these pet owners were left with a sick pet or a dead pet, significant vet bills, and no action by FDA.  Making that statement in the video would do nothing but hurt countless thousands of pet parents.

The entire post can be read here.  I highly encourage you to read the complete post.  Ms. Thixton gives more feedback than what is quoted above.

I feel that Ms. Thixton should be commended on the job she is doing.  We should all join together in sending her encouraging comments.

We’ve talked about this before.  Do you feel that the label on the package gives you accurate information on pet food quality?  I certainly don’t.


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