QUALITY CONTROL AND LABEL LIES
Was Melamine On Your Pet Food
Barbara J. Andrews
Update – This 1996 column was uncannily predictive of the escalation
Food Recalls. Melamine is just one example of Quality Control failure.
If there's one thing dog people love to
talk about and worry about, it's nutrition. There are thousands of authoritative
articles. There's this little
problem though. Most pets are nutritionally SICK.
By 2010, genetically engineered and modified foods had permeated the food
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.
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
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
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
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
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....
Genetically Modified Frankenfoods
Dog Eat Dog
Dog Food Ingredients