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Fooled by Pet food labels: Shoppers lured by promises of fine Ingredients

Shoppers are being fooled by ‘poetic license’ on pet food labeling that disguises what they are actually buying. Consumers are demanding more choices and better quality in their pet food. With this big boom of species specific, natural and organic pet food rushing to fill that need, we are starting to see many new brands selling fresh and frozen pet food. Most are sold in a tube that looks like a very large sausage package. These products are a slurry of meat by products, fillers or on a slice of toast. However, the small print reveals it is actually up to 80% water (moisture), 5 – 7% Meat protein, 4 – 7% Organ protein and under 3% natural sources of vitamins, anti-oxidants. These product have fine print suggesting that you

use supplements to assure that your pet receives a balance meal. Some even tell the customer that their product is not meant for daily use , only as a supplemental meal source.

Fooled by labels: Shoppers are being fooled by 'poetic license' on food labeling according to Which? Just 5% per cent is the prized grass fed beef meat and 9 per cent heart and liver. The industry is not required to list added water as an ingredient so the meat can show up as the first listed ingredient making you think you are buying a meaty product. A second example involves the phrase “ Complete and Balanced Meal.” The AAFCO has create the minimum standard for feeding our pets. As long as a product meets this lowly standard in can claim to be Complete and Balance. The list of ingredients of two of the top frozen foods barnds includes additional pork fat and 14 per chicken liver, which suggest a more accurate name would be pork, fat and chicken meal with grain beef. While potentially misleading, the labels are not illegal, according to the FDA and AAFCO.

Ingredients Chicken, Raw Ground Chicken Bone, Turkey, Turkey Liver, Turkey Heart, Apples, Carrots, Butternut Squash, Ground Flaxseeds, Montmorillonite Clay, Chicken Eggs, Broccoli, Lettuce, Spinach, Dried Kelp, Apple Cider Vinegar, Parsley, Honey, Salmon Oil, Olive Oil, Blueberries, Alfalfa Sprouts, Persimmons, Duck Eggs, Pheasant Eggs, Quail Eggs, Inulin, Rosemary, Sage, Clove. Guaranteed Analysis Crude Protein (min): 13.0%
Crude Fat (min): 6.0%
Crude Fiber (max): 2.0%
Moisture (max): 72.0%

A spokesman said: ‘There is no requirement s to what percentage of the ingredient the food must contain, solely that if it is labeled. So the 95% meat, organ and bone compared to the 72% water (moisture) isn’t in conflict. ‘Although this practice isn’t illegal, it is confusing to consumers. We want retailers and manufacturers to name their products clearly and accurately.’ Labeling has also been criticized in areas such as health and nutrition. A study published by trading standards last year found that ‘lean’ or ‘extra

lean’ mince sold by stores could contain more fat than the standard product. And research by campaign group The Food Commission in 2008 identified a host of vegetable products containing ingredients that had never been anywhere near a farmer’s field or orchard.

The above photo has been extensively passed around recently, and for good reason: it's a peek into the rarely-seen world of mechanically separated meat, or Advanced Meat Recovery (AMR) used by the frozen dog and cat food industry as well as fast human food companies. The resulting paste goes on to become the main ingredient in many of America's favorite mass-produced and processed frozen pet food meat-like foods products: medallions, beef patties and tube food. It is also used in human foods like bologna, hot dogs, salami, pepperoni, Slim Jim-like jerkys, and of course the ever-polarizing chicken nugget.

When these companies receive this paste full of bi-products chemicals and

fillers they do not have to list them on their ingredient list because the law states if they did not personally add the bi-products, preservatives and fillers made by a secondary rendering plant they do not have to put these ingredients on their list of manufactured ingredients. This way they can make you believe that this slop or hot doggish slurry is natural and some how a better alternative to a whole food diet. The USDA now requires human foods with mechanically separated poultry to be labeled as containing "mechanically separated chicken or turkey" in their ingredients lists but not pet food. Mechanically separated meat may apply to turkey, chicken, and pork. The largest of the frozen pet food brands do not always want to invest a big chunk of their operational budgets in making a quality product, safe meat or making sure that their products are truly complete and balanced natural food. Instead they put their money into marketing and advertising to mislead the consumer into believing that they are producing a raw species specific diet that will extent your pets life. (Much like high end kibble companies are doing) Consumer Reports' October issue runs the results of their pet food survey, and determined that there was little to not difference nutritionally between the low end kibble and canned food and the high end "organic/natural kibble, canned or frozen food. Recent price hike amongst the three top frozen food companies angered consumers What was an issue of capitalism and supply & demand instead was past off as an increase of price to supposedly raise the quality of their product and/or the increased price of quality human grade meat. The ingredients stayed the same, the processed stayed the same and the only measurable change was the packaging, advertising message, company literature and the price. The demand went up and so did the price. They were also the companies involved in the recent recalls.

These companies are just an natural extension of the mega farm pet food divisions that use farm waste product to feed our animals. In my nutrition seminars and cooking classes I leave these frozen dog and cat products out to thaw, then tell the audience to smell, break open and taste the product to see how close to real meat they think it is. All three of these leading frozen pet food companies claim that there are vegetables in the formulation but you can not find a trace of them when you break the product up and look. All of them are over 65% water and require nutritional supplements to have a shoot of being called a "healthy meal" rather than what they are, saltwater infused sub human grade meat stuffed into a tube or frozen into little slices. In the last five years I have talked to over 200 hundred pet store owners would claim to know about animal nutrition and the products they sell. They all have had seminars for their staff given by a sales rep and read what is said on the package and company literature. Very few if any do any research beyond that. In my base town of Los Angeles there are high-end dog boutiques that don't even know the federal regulations of what can be put on a label and how the manufactures can legally lie to the customer. I say all this to impress upon you to please do your own homework. Dig deeper than the popular blogs. Talk to qualified veterinary nutritionist or holistic veterinarian and animal nutritionists. If you truly care for your pet companion, want them to achieve and maintain optimum health, cut down on vet bills and want to extend the life of your dog or cat it is worth the time. I believe that the Raw food camp in order to protect their theory go to extreme in saying no carbs, no grain no fruit but turns around and says that certain vitamins and minerals need to be added for optimum health. My feeling is that these elements are best provided by their natural source rather than a manmade pill or liquid. (Nature or other wise) The Key is to determine in what quantity and quality to add these ingredients to the protein source/mixture? PNS's Veterinary Prescriptive Services likes to use one of several blood tests to determine what is needed for that individual pet and then create a rotation diet plan around that science.

Any number of health conditions may call for a change in a diet plan for your cat or dog. You will need the right recipe or formulation to address these specific needs. The positive impact of proper nutrition on health and disease is well established in all animals. Appropriate feeding throughout all life stages can help prevent diet-associated diseases, as well as to assist in the management of other diseases. For example, diets formulated for dogs and cats with chronic kidney disease have been shown to provide significant benefits. Optimum nutrition enhances your pets' quality and quantity of life, and is integral to optimal animal wellness. Incorporating nutritional assessment into regular animal care is critical for maintaining pets' health, as well as their response to disease and injury. It requires little to no additional time or cost and provides a new service and level of care to your pet. We work with you to provide the best individual nutrition diet plan and handmade organic whole food meals for your client. So as you can see it is not as simple as “your cat or dog is a carnivore and they ate meat and bones a thousand years ago and they should now.� balance must be provided and guess work or googling animal nutrition is not going to get it done. Is a raw meat and bone diet better than commercially processed food? Absolutely. Is the best over all choice for the life span of

your pet? No. It could be a part of your pet’s diet plan but not the base. The preaching of no grains, vegetables or carbs by some raw food camps are missing some great sources for whole food bio-available nutrition. Hers are just a few examples: * Brown Rice: A healthy, easily digestible carbohydrate source. * Ginger: Good for osteoarthritis pain. * Tomato: Provide lycopene and is a very power antioxidant. * Sweet Potato: Easily digestible carbohydrate when boiled. An excellent source of betacarotene. Do not get fooled again! Deceptive advertisements and pretty packaging Are what the game seems to be all about for most of the brands in the pet food industry. For more information about proper whole food diet planning, veterinary prescriptive nutrition diet planning or a nutritional consultation contact me.


The pet food industry is fooling you with deceptive advertsing, labeling and packaging. How do you recognize it and what to do about it.

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