diabetes and other diseases in pets in America, which is directly from feeding commercial pet kibble:
It is imperative that every pet (dog and cat) owner read this article.
A healthy long-lived dog/cat will result from owners who educate themselves
and make every effort to feed their pet the best to avoid cancer and other diseases.
" What's Really in Pet Food "
"Plump whole chickens, choice cuts of beef, fresh grains, and all the
wholesome nutrition your dog or cat will ever need."
These are the images pet food manufacturers promulgate through the media and
advertising. This is what the $11 billion per year U.S. pet food industry wants
consumers to believe they are buying when they purchase their products.
This report explores the differences between what consumers think they are buying
and what they are actually getting. It focuses in very general terms on the most
visible name brands -- the pet food labels that are mass-distributed to supermarkets
and discount stores -- but there are many highly respected brands that may be guilty
of the same offenses.
What most consumers don't know is that the pet food industry is an extension of the
human food and agriculture industries. Pet food provides a market for slaughterhouse
offal, grains considered "unfit for human consumption," and similar waste products
to be turned into profit. This waste includes intestines, udders, esophagi, and
possibly diseased and cancerous animal parts.
Three of the five major pet food companies in the United States are subsidiaries of
major multinational companies: Nestlé (Alpo, Fancy Feast, Friskies, Mighty Dog),
Heinz (9 Lives, Amore, Gravy Train, Kibbles n Bits, Recipe, Vets), Colgate-Palmolive
(Hill's Science Diet Pet Food). Other leading companies are Procter & Gamble
(Eukanuba and Iams), Mars (Kal Kan, Mealtime, Pedigree, Sheba), and Nutro. From a
business standpoint, multinational companies owning pet food manufacturing companies
is an ideal relationship. The multinationals have a captive market in which to
capitalize on their waste products, and the pet food manufacturers have a reliable
source from which to purchase their bulk materials.
There are hundreds of different pet foods available in this country. And while many
of the foods on the market are virtually the same, not all of the pet food manufacturing
companies use poor quality and potentially dangerous ingredients.
Although the purchase price of pet food does not always determine whether a pet food
is good or bad, the price is often a good indicator of quality. It would be impossible
for a company that sells a generic brand of dog food at $9.95 for a 40-lb. bag to use
quality protein and grain in its food. The cost of purchasing quality ingredients
would be much higher than the selling price.
The protein used in pet food comes from a variety of sources. When cattle, swine,
chickens, lambs, or any number of other animals are slaughtered, the choice cuts
such as lean muscle tissue are trimmed away from the carcass for human consumption.
However, about 50% of every food-producing animal does not get used in human foods.
Whatever remains of the carcass -- bones, blood, intestines, lungs, ligaments, and
almost all the other parts not generally consumed by humans -- is used in pet food,
animal feed, and other products. These "other parts" are known as "by-products" or
other names on pet food labels. The ambiguous labels list the ingredients, but do
not provide a definition for the products listed.
The Pet Food Institute -- the trade association of pet food manufacturers --
acknowledges the use of by-products in pet foods as additional income for
processors and farmers: "The growth of the pet food industry not only provided
pet owners with better foods for their pets, but also created profitable
additional markets for American farm products and for the byproducts of the meat
packing, poultry, and other food industries which prepare food for human consumption.
"1 Many of these remnants provide a questionable source of nourishment for our
animals. The nutritional quality of meat and poultry by-products, meals, and
digests can vary from batch to batch. James Morris and Quinton Rogers, two
professors with the Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Calif
at Davis Veterinary School of Medicine, assert that, "There is virtually no
information on the bioavailability of nutrients for companion animals in many
of the common dietary ingredients used in pet foods.
These ingredients are generally by-products of the meat, poultry and fishing
industries, with the potential for a wide variation in nutrient composition.
Claims of nutritional adequacy of pet foods based on the current Association
of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) nutrient allowances ('profiles')
do not give assurances of nutritional adequacy and will not until ingredients
are analyzed and bioavailability values are incorporated."2 Meat and poultry
meals, by-product meals, and meat-and-bone meal are common ingredients in pet
foods. The term "meal" means that these materials are not used fresh, but have
been rendered. What is rendering? Rendering, as defined by Webster's Dictionary,
is "to process as for industrial use: to render livestock carcasses and to extract
oil from fat, blubber, etc., by melting." Home-made chicken soup, with its thick
layer of fat that forms over the top when the soup is cooled, is a sort of mini-
rendering process. Rendering separates fat-soluble from water-soluble and solid
materials, and kills bacterial contaminants, but may alter or destroy some of the
natural enzymes and proteins found in the raw ingredients.
What can the feeding of such products do to your companion animal?
Some veterinarians claim that feeding slaughterhouse wastes to animals increases
their risk of getting cancer and other degenerative diseases. The cooking methods
used by pet food manufacturers - such as rendering and extruding (a heat-and-
pressure system used to "puff" dry foods into nuggets or kibbles) -- do not
necessarily destroy the hormones used to fatten livestock or increase milk
production, or drugs such as antibiotics or the barbiturates which are used to
Animal and Poultry Fat
You may have noticed a unique, pungent odor when you open a new bag of pet food
-- what is the source of that delightful smell? It is most often rendered animal
fat, restaurant grease, or other oils too rancid or deemed inedible for humans.
Restaurant grease has become a major component of feed grade animal fat over the
last fifteen years. This grease, often held in fifty-gallon drums, is usually kept
outside for weeks, exposed to extreme temperatures with no regard for its future use.
"Fat blenders" or rendering companies then pick up this used grease and mix the
different types of fat together, stabilize them with powerful antioxidants to retard
further spoilage, and then sell the blended products to pet food companies and other
end users. 3 These fats are sprayed directly onto dried kibbles or extruded pellets
to make an otherwise bland or distasteful product palatable. The fat also acts as a
binding agent to which manufacturers add other flavor enhancers such as digests. Pet
food scientists have discovered that animals love the taste of these sprayed fats.
Manufacturers are masters at getting a dog or a cat to eat something she would
normally turn up her nose at. Wheat, Soy, Corn, Peanut Hulls, and Other Vegetable
Protein. The amount of grain products used in pet food has risen over the last decade.
Once considered filler by the pet food industry, cereal and grain products now
replace a considerable proportion of the meat that was used in the first commercial
pet foods. The availability of nutrients in these products is dependent upon the
digestibility of the grain. The amount and type of carbohydrate in pet food
determines the amount of nutrient value the animal actually gets. Dogs and cats can
almost completely absorb carbohydrates from some grains, such as white rice. Up to
20% of the nutritional value of other grains can escape digestion. The availability
of nutrients for wheat, beans, and oats is poor. The nutrients in potatoes and corn
are far less available than those in rice. Some ingredients, such as peanut hulls
and even straw are used for filler or fiber, and have no significant nutritional
value. Two of the top three ingredients in pet foods, particularly dry foods, are
almost always some form of grain products. Pedigree Performance Food for Dogs lists
Ground Corn, Chicken By-Product Meal, and Corn Gluten Meal as its top three
ingredients. 9 Lives Crunchy Meals for cats lists Ground Yellow Corn, Corn Gluten
Meal, and Poultry By-Product Meal as its first three ingredients.
Since cats are true carnivores -- they must eat meat to fulfill certain physiological
needs -- one may wonder why we are feeding a corn-based product to them. The answer
is that corn is much cheaper than meat. In 1995, Nature's Recipe pulled thousands of
tons of dog food off the shelf after consumers complained that their dogs were
vomiting and losing their appetite. Nature's Recipe's loss amounted to $20 million.
The problem was a fungus that produced vomitoxin (an aflatoxin or "mycotoxin," a toxic
substance produced by mold) contaminating the wheat. In 1999, another fungal toxin
triggered the recall of dry dog food made by Doane Pet Care at one of its plants,
including Ol' Roy (Wal-Mart's brand) and 53 other brands. This time, the toxin killed
25 dogs. Although it caused many dogs to vomit, stop eating, and have diarrhea,
vomitoxin is a milder toxin than most. The more dangerous mycotoxins can cause weight
loss, liver damage, lameness, and even death as in the Doane case. The Nature's Recipe
incident prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to intervene. Dina Butcher,
Agriculture Policy Advisor for North Dakota Governor Ed Schafer, concluded that the
discovery of vomitoxin in Nature's Recipe wasn't much of a threat to the human
population because "the grain that would go into pet food is not a high quality grain.
"3 Soy is another common ingredient that is sometimes used as a protein and energy
source in pet food. Manufacturers also use it to add bulk so that when an animal eats
a product containing soy he will feel more sated. While soy has been linked to gas in
some dogs, other dogs do quite well. Vegetarian dog foods use soy as a protein source.
Additives and Preservatives
Many chemicals are added to commercial pet foods to improve the taste, stability,
characteristics, or appearance of the food. Additives provide no nutritional value.
Additives include emulsifiers to prevent water and fat from separating, antioxidants
to prevent fat from turning rancid, and artificial colors and flavors to make the
product more attractive to consumers and more palatable to their companion animals.
Adding chemicals to food originated thousands of years ago with spices, natural
preservatives, and ripening agents. In the last 40 years, however, the number of food
additives has greatly increased. All commercial pet foods contain preservatives. Some
of these are added to ingredients or raw materials by the suppliers, and others may
be added by the manufacturer. Because manufacturers need to ensure that dry foods have
a long shelf life to remain edible after shipping and prolonged storage, fats included
in pet foods are preserved with either synthetic or "natural" preservatives. Synthetic
preservatives include butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene
(BHT), propyl gallate, propylene glycol (also used as a less-toxic version of
automotive antifreeze), and ethoxyquin. For these antioxidants, there is little
information documenting their toxicity, safety, or chronic use in pet foods that may
be eaten every day for the life of the animal.
Potentially cancer-causing agents such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are permitted at
relatively low levels. The use of these chemicals in pet foods has not been thoroughly
studied, and long term build-up of these agents may ultimately be harmful. Due to
questionable data in the original study on its safety, ethoxyquin's manufacturer,
Monsanto, was required to perform a new, more rigorous study. This was completed in
1996. Even though Monsanto found no significant toxicity associated with its own
product, in July 1997, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine requested that
manufacturers voluntarily reduce the maximum level for ethoxyquin by half, to 75 parts
per million. While some pet food critics and veterinarians believe that ethoxyquin is
a major cause of disease, skin problems, and infertility in dogs, others claim it is
the safest, strongest, most stable preservative available for pet food. Ethoxyquin is
only approved for use in human food for preserving spices, such as cayenne and chili
powder, at a level of 100 ppm -- but it would be very difficult to consume as much
chili powder every day as a dog would eat dry food. Ethoxyquin has never been tested
for safety in cats. Some manufacturers have responded to consumer concern, and are
now using "natural" preservatives such as Vitamin C (ascorbate), Vitamin E (mixed
tocopherols), and oils of rosemary, clove, or other spices, to preserve the fats in
their products. Other ingredients, however, may be individually preserved. Fish meal,
and some prepared vitamin mixtures used to supplement pet food, contain chemical
preservatives. This means that your companion animal may be eating food containing
several types of preservatives. Not all of these are required to be disclosed on the
label. However, due to consumer pressure, preservatives used in fat are now required
to be listed on the label.
Additives in Processed Pet Foods
Flour treating agents
Oxidizing and reducing agents
pH control agents
Surface active agents
Surface finishing agents
While the law requires studies of direct toxicity of these additives and preservatives, they
have not been tested for their potential synergistic effects on each other once ingested.
Some authors have suggested that dangerous interactions occur among some of the common
synthetic preservatives. 4 Natural preservatives do not provide as long a shelf life as
chemical preservatives, but they do not carry the unanswered questions about their safety.
"How is Commerical Pet Food Manufactured?"
us with any questions you might have and I will be happy to help you anyway I can.