Should pet food manufacturers be more transparent about their products? Today, the plethora of cat food brands and the variety of flavors marketed for sale makes it much easier for kitty guardians to help our fur-family members from getting bored with their everyday hum-drum dinners. But in order for cats to remain healthy they must eat regularly. Being able to serve up several choices of diffferent foods to our kitties can whet both their appetites and mealtime enjoyment.
Although variety is the spice of life, how do we really know precisely what kinds of ingredients are contained in our cat’s food? How can we be absolutely certain that the food we are giving our kitties is not only nutritionally complete, but that it’s safe?
But before you say, “The label lists it’s ingredients”, read on McDuff!
I am an avid cat food label reader. But I must admit that when I ran across an article on the Truth about Pet Food website, I was completely stunned while I devoured all the information it contained. I was so aghast by what I was reading, that my chin literally dropped to my chest.
While I am not at all savy about the regulations concerning cat food products manufactured and sold outside the United States, I am relatively sure that some of the things I learned about how these products are made and what goes into them most likely applies to countries outside the United States.
For example: here in the USA, for any preservatives added to ingredients in the food that are made by the ingredient supplier – not by the manufacturer – there is no law that requires the name of that preservative to be listed on the product label.
What makes this even more worrisome is that ethoxyquin, a fat preservative that is added to many popular brands of dog food is considered by canine experts to be “dangerous”. Ethoxyquin is used to harden rubber and it is also a pesticide. This chemical is not legal for use in human food products, however the Food and Drug Administration considers it safe in “small quantities”. What are “small quantities”?
You can bet your bottom dollar that if it ain’t safe for humans, how can it be safe as a preservative in dog food? Will pet food manufactures add this ingredient to cat food too?
Don’t we, as pet food purchasers, have the right to know that there is no requirement to list processing aids such as this one, which is potentially dangerous? This being the case, is it fair that we are not informed that this preservative is contained in the product?
There are some food dyes used in the manufacture of pet foods to make the product more appealing to the eye. But these dyes have no nutritional value to our pets and some may also be risky; some causing tumors and cancers.
Those beautiful mouth-watering vegetable photos on some cans and bags of cat food may look extremely nutritious and inviting. Since regulations pertaining to pets here in the United States do not require any standards for these ingredients, what you see may certainly not be what you get.
Furthermore, according to The Truth About Pet Food, while Federal law prohibits the use of dead, diseased, dying or disabled livestock, (4 D animals) for human consumption, the FDA allows 4 D meats to be used as a meat source in pet food. Without providing a warning on the label on the product’s meat source, pet food manufactures can outright claim that their food is “made with real beef, real chicken or pork”. It may be real alright – but did these sources come from healthy animals?
Additionally, due to the absence of crucial regulations requiring manufacturers to list precisely what type and kind of meat is contained in their products, the word “chicken” on the label might actually end up containing a very small percentage of muscle and organ meat. In reality the majority of the “meat” may be from only the animal’s skin and bones.
When it comes to manufacturing pet food, stricter regulations must be put in place in all countries around the world to help ensure that we are feeding our companion animals only the best quality food and not feeding them products that may even shorten their lives. What do you think? Share your opinion in a comment.
Photo credit: Flickr User Annie Mole