Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Wellness Petfood Recall: Too Little, Too Much, or Just Right?

Yet another pet food recall has many people concerned about the quality and safety of the foods they feed their companion animals. The February 28, 2011 Wellness voluntary recall of certain lots of its canned cat foods was due to inadequate levels of thiamine, or Vitamin B1. The company states that cats fed only product with inadequate levels of thiamine for several weeks may be at risk for developing a thiamine deficiency.¹

The Wellness cat food recall shows us just one of the problems associated with the practice of adding man-made vitamins and minerals to pet food. In the Wellness case, it was too little Vitamin B1. In the Blue Buffalo dog food recall of October 2010, too much Vitamin D was present, creating the potential for toxicity. With the exception of Nature’s Logic, all commercial pet food manufacturers producing dry kibble or canned food add chemically-synthesized vitamins and minerals to their foods.
Pet food companies add these man-made nutrients to achieve the nutrient profiles established by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), the primary body regulating the production of pet food. By adding man-made nutrients instead of using whole food ingredients, manufacturers can achieve the recommended levels less expensively, creating more profit for the pet food company. If the actual food used to make Wellness cat formulas had enough natural Vitamin B1, and other essential nutrients, they wouldn’t have to add synthetic ones.

Even companies marketing “natural” pet foods do this. While, “Natural with added vitamins, minerals, and other trace nutrients” might look like a positive benefit to most people shopping for pet food, is actually a disclaimer. It is intended to inform consumers that this particular product does not contain natural vitamins, minerals, and trace nutrients, but instead contains chemically-synthesized forms. This is the only way pet food manufacturers that use man-made nutrients can use the word “natural” on their foods.

Pet parents should be aware that added synthetic vitamins and minerals in pet foods are not good for their pets. The reason AAFCO insists on the disclaimer is that chemically-synthesized nutrients actually pose a potential health threat for pets. Many are derived from substances such as coal tar or by-products of industrial metal production. They were not designed to be consumed in every meal, but instead were intended to correct deficiencies in the feed given for a limited time to food-chain animals, such as cattle. Studies showing links to adverse health effects can be found in two books published by the National Academy of Sciences: Vitamin Tolerance of Animals and Mineral Tolerance of Domestic Animals.

Whole food ingredients are the only safe sources of vitamins and minerals for pets. Nature’s Logic® natural pet foods do not have to display the AAFCO disclaimer found on all other dry and canned foods. Our foods provide pets with essential and complete nutrition, substantiated for all life stages, using only 100% natural ingredients. The company has created the first and only full-line kibble, canned, and raw frozen pet food in the world with no chemically-synthesized vitamins, minerals or other trace nutrients. For more information about Nature's Logic raw, canned, or dry foods for cats and dogs, visit http://www.natureslogic.com/.

1. http://www.wellnesspetfood.com/letter.aspx

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