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What’s in your pets’ food may be killing them

Dead and diseased animals are allowed in pet food.
Dead and diseased animals are allowed in pet food.

Susan Thixton has long been a pet food advocate and keeps the pressure on the USDA and pet food companies to provide uncontaminated, safe food for pets to consume. She lobbies for legislation protecting pets from non-healthy ingredients, often to a deaf federal ear. Each year she compiles a very short list (out of over 1900 offerings) of Most Trusted Pet Foods. For 2014 only 22 products made the List. See for lots of great information, to sign up for the newsletter, and more.

Here are some of the latest disgusting allowables that are permitted in food American pets eat.

1. 4D animals. Diseased, Dead, Dying, Disabled. The FDA allows 4D animals in pet food, although federal law prohibits it. If a label says a product contains meat, such as chicken or beef, it may be from 4D animals. No warning is required on the label.

2. Cats are carnivores and their food must be meat. Dogs can survive on a part non meat diet, but only thrive on a meat diet. Pet foods frequently contain vegetables. People think of freshly picked garden variety produce. In reality, pet food often contains old, dried, decaying produce unfit for human consumption. Should pets eat it?

3. Food dyes are allowed in pet foods. They can cause tumors and cancer. Do pets care what color their food is? No, it is included for human appeal.

4. Preservatives added to pet food by the manufacturer are not required to be written on labels. One of the common ones is carrageenan, made from red sea kelp. It is linked to digestive problems and immune deficiencies.

5. Much of the process of pet food production is called “proprietary”, meaning manufacturers and pet food companies protect revealing included ingredients. Although some say “Made in the USA”, ingredients can come from other countries, including China. Look for pet food labeled “USA sourced ingredients.”

6. Accuracy in percentage labeling is not accurate. A pet food’s actual percentages of included ingredients may be off from what the label state. That may be why many pet foods just list the ingredients without percentages.

7. Meats rejected for human consumption are allowed in pet foods by the FDA. This information may not be included in labeling. When contaminated pet foods are recalled, notice to the general public is not required, although many companies do issue a recall notice.

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