A recent study was the first to assess the mineral composition of a range of dry and wet pet foods described as ‘complete’ and which are available to customers in the UK.
USA – Heavy Metals in Pet Food
Minerals include heavy metals. I recently wrote an article about the heavy metal content in American pet food. That article, too, was based upon a study and the findings were arguably shocking. Heavy metals are present at too high a level for the food to be safe according to many. This is because the regulations are lax and the standards too low.
It begged the question as to what the standards were like in the UK. The UK is still part of the European Union. Recommended maximum levels of undesirable or heavy elements such as arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead, in pet food is regulated by the EU directive 2002/32/EC. It is likely that this regulation will be incorporated into UK law after UK leave the European Union.
UK Pet Foods Non-compliant
I have to cut to the chase because the study is extensive. It would bore readers. In conclusion the study found that a majority of the wet and dry pet foods tested were non-compliant with current European recommendations. To quote:
“Many had either insufficient, excessive or inappropriate balance of minerals which, if fed exclusively for a long period of time, could underpin a host of clinical diseases in dogs and cats including skeletal, neurological, or dermatological disease. Furthermore, foods with relatively high levels of fish or fish derivatives also had high levels of undesirable metal elements such as arsenic… which accumulate in internal organs [causing disease].”
Long Term – Same Food
An important point is that a lot of cat and dog owners feed their pets the same sort of food i.e. the same brand all the time. They don’t mix it up. Therefore if that particular brand of food is non-compliant and high in heavy metals there is obviously a greater chance of the pet being poisoned. A number of surveys indicate that up to 50% of dog owners and about 20% of cat owners supplement pet food with treats. However these treats are rarely balanced diets.
Level on Non-compliance
Apparently, 94% of wet cat foods are non-compliant with EU guidelines and 61% of dry cat food were non-compliant. These are very high percentages and if pets are fed certain foods over a long period of time it could impact their health.
UK No Better Than USA
The question I have in my mind is whether the EU regulations are tighter than American regulations. The study I’m referring to states that the EU guidelines are largely based upon the original National Research Council recommendations in the USA. However, for toxic elements such as arsenic, mercury, cadmium and lead EU regulations are in place under the EU directive mentioned above.
My personal thoughts about this is that the EU guidelines are good and therefore, without checking, tighter than those present in America. However, as mentioned, UK pet food is non-compliant with EU standards on mineral composition. Therefore it is impossible to state that the position regarding heavy metals in pet food is better in the UK than in the USA.