Dog Food & Label Lingo
Labels Lie, concealing genetically modified ingredients, inappropriate herbs, MSG, and "meat meal" which may be anything from road kill and slaughter house waste to euthanized pets in dog food.
QUALITY CONTROL, LABEL LIES
Was Melamine On Your Pet Food Labels?
Jan 2015 Update – This 1996 column was uncannily predictive of the escalation in Dog Food Recalls, melamine, imported "ingredients" and overall deceit in both human and pet food labeling.
If there's one thing dog people love to talk about, its Canine Nutrition. There are thousands of authoritative articles and everyone is an expert. Problem is, most pets are nutritionally SICK. By 2010, genetically engineered (GMO), steroids, and imported ingredients has permeated human and pet food supplies. Ref #1 Frankenfoods
First, some elementary stuff. Pet food research facilities have established what constitutes good canine nutrition. Problem is, the lab technician's idea of "good nutrition" may not jibe with your dog's instincts and what nature intended. Your dog will eat whatever you give him because he is hungry. That does not mean it is what he wants or what’s best for him; "dog food" is his only alternative to starvation.
It is up to you to figure out what your dog needs. Most of you have. While we might be able to make a better mixture than commercial rations, hardly anyone has the time so let's assume that we all use some amount of kibble.
There's a basic premise about commercially prepared foods. You are as likely to get total nutrition from a bag as you are to get it from a box of cereal. Would you raise your child on nothing but dry cereal? A healthy diet must include "live" foods such as fruits and veggies, and yes, meat. Dogs are carnivores. They need fresh meat, fish, and poultry. It must be wholesome, which equates to uncontaminated with drugs, growth hormones, chemicals or DDD meat, i.e. dead, diseased, or dying. And please, not your neighbor's pet that the vet put to sleep. Dog Eat Dog ref #2.
Companion animals generally DO NOT receive wholesome food, no matter what the label says. Zoo animals are given fresh meat and/or veggies and fruit along with their commercial rations. No tiger ever turned down fresh meat. They "wolf" it down. What about your dog or cat? Does he seem disinterested in the food bowl? Any good vet would agree that domesticated meat eaters are experiencing ever-increasing problems associated with diet. How can that be? You read labels and demand purity and quality.
Aha, now there's a problem - labels. In order for the manufacturer to provide a premium product, he must know the ingredients are as represented. Those ingredients must reach your pet in a stable form which is still of benefit to the animal. I have good friends in the pet food business. They sincerely believe their product is all it's cracked up to be. I hope they are reading this because they are living in a make-believe world.
The problem is quality control. I used to think that the good folks in the lab coats KNEW what was in the product. Then one day I had reason to be curious about a couple of ingredients. That's when I discovered things aren’t always what they seem to be.
The U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) is considered the "standard" whereby nutrient products are tested. The problem is that only 64 of the more than 2,000 pages in the book actually deal with assays, the procedure which validates the content of a particular substance. The USP book gives no assay methods for testing common nutrients such as amino acids, herbs, or plant extracts.
There's more. Multi-nutrient products such as pet food or vitamin powders are practically impossible to assay. If there’s a combination of physiologically active substances, the USP book cautions that assays results will be compromised.
There doesn't seem to be any other source that details assay procedures for nutrients. HPLC (High-Pressure Liquid Chromatography) machines are most commonly used for assays. They must be re-calibrated by running standard reference materials. Then exactly the right solutions and solvent must be used and the raw data carefully calculated, analyzed, and interpreted. That takes time. A lot of time. And there's no margin for error or the results will be off. And it has to be repeated for each different ingredient.....
In other words, it rarely happens!!! Instead, the pet food company buyer trusts the seller is selling what he says he's selling. The CEO trusts that the buyer got what he bought and that the company chemist knows what's really in the product. The chemist at the research lab doesn’t think about the results being compromised by ingredients that aren't in the product or those that are but shouldn't be.
What does this mean? Oh not much, unless you're a label reader, concerned about what's in that product. If you are trying to check pet food ingredients Ref #3, you expect accuracy but that may be hard to ascertain because the pet food manufacturer doesn't even know for sure or worse yet, may not care!
My solution? Aw heck, I'm back to chopping veggies and planting herbs and looking for healthy butcher beef. I'm even thinking about raising some chickens and expanding the garden....
Ref #2 Dog Eat Dog
Ref #3 Dog Food Ingredients
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