Tuesday, August 2, 2011

3 Questions to Ask the Company that Makes Your Pet’s Food

Yet another pet food recall, this time from Nestlé Purina PetCare, has pet owners once again reviewing what they feed their animal companions. Recently the company announced the voluntary recall of its Purina ONE Vibrant Maturity 7+ Dry Cat Food because some bags of the product have been found to be contaminated with Salmonella.¹ Most pet food recalls that have occurred over the past ten years have been due to either pathogenic bacteria contamination, like salmonella or e. coli, or due to synthetic additives, such as melamine (synthetic protein) or a man-made vitamin or mineral.  

So how are we to protect our pets from possible sickness or death? Researching and understanding pet food
options will go a long way toward helping you pick the best food for your dog or cat.  Here are three questions to ask the company that makes your pet’s food:
1.       Where Do the Ingredients in Your Pet Food Come From?
Not too long ago, Susan Thixon, the force behind TruthAboutPetFood.com, asked pet food companies “What is the country of origin of ingredients in your pet foods?  All ingredients.” Of the over 50 companies contacted, 23 completely ignored the request. Of those that did respond, only eight included the country of origin of their added vitamins and minerals in their initial response. The rest required an additional follow up email asking again. Some finally answered but others still did not. For all the details, you can read Susan’s entire blog post on the topic, as well as the additional experiences of customers in the comments section.¹
Nature’s Logic works with vendors that can supply ingredients from the USA and other countries with good food safety practices, such as New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and Europe. We also require that our vendors can guarantee that the ingredients do not come from China, and that they are tested to be GMO-free and contain no chemical preservatives, herbicides, or insecticides.
2.       How Do You Ensure the Quality & Safety of Your Pet’s Food?
This gets to the contamination issue that led to this latest Purina recall. Nature’s Logic avoids potential quality and contamination problems in two key ways. First, we source and purchase all of our own ingredients, instead of allowing our manufacturing partners to make those decisions. Second, we use meats, poultry, fish, fruits, and vegetables that come from human-edible processing facilities. All our manufacturing plants are registered with the US Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. They are all AIB³ Certified and several are EU (European Union) Certified.
Nature’s Logic also tests every batch of food to ensure that it meets our specifications. In addition, our ingredients and finished foods are tested to ensure there are no harmful bacteria, like Salmonella or E. coli. They are also tested for potential rancidity, aflatoxins, and vomitoxins. The company has also done random testing for fluoride. 
3.       Does Your Pet Food Contain Hidden Toxins?
If a pet food claims to be “natural with added vitamins and minerals,” those vitamins and minerals are NOT natural. This statement is actually a disclaimer, required by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), to alert pet parents that the product contains synthetic nutrients. All added vitamins, those not coming from the food itself, contain processing aids and carriers, and many also contain chemical preservatives. Corn oil, starch, sucrose, mineral oil, and gelatin are all used in processing synthetic vitamins. Examples of carriers used include corncobs and rice hulls. Sodium aluminum is a man-made, synthetic substance commonly used as an anti-caking agent. Many fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, often contain the chemical preservative BHT. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Vitamin D3, published by BASF which manufactures it (http://www.natureslogic.com/pdf/MSDS/D3.pdf) shows that the synthetic vitamin also contains sucrose, gelatin, starch, sodium aluminocilicate, and BHT. 
Similarly, added minerals bring with them heavy metal contaminants such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. These hidden ingredients are allowed in mineral supplements added to animal feed and pet foods. There are hundreds of examples and variations of these man-made mineral supplements, including sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide or zinc amino acid complex, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, iron oxide or iron proteinate, magnesium amino acid complex, potassium amino acid complex, and manganese amino acid complex.  In an attempt to manage these contaminants, the AAFCO Official Publication has an entire chapter on “Contaminant Levels Permitted in Mineral Feed Ingredients: http://www.natureslogic.com/pdf/ContaminantLevels.pdf.
The best way to avoid these unwanted ingredients is to feed your pets foods without added synthetic or man-made ingredients. Nature’s Logic is the only full-line, commercial pet food with no chemically-synthesized nutrients. For more information about our 100% natural food for dogs and cats, visit www.natureslogic.com.
What questions would you add to this list? 

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