How Do You Feel About Pet Food Corporations in 2010?

It’s only been 3 years since the massive pet food recalls of 2007 but anytime is a good time for a refresher.  I’ve already blogged quite a bit on things I learned due to the recalls, including:

  • My thoughts at the one year anniversary of the pet food recalls
  • Why the AAFCO stamp of approval is worthless
  • The similarities between the pet food and peanut butter recalls
  • A list of things I think are worth avoiding in pet food
  • The only product I can recommend

Basically, I was left with a strong feeling of distrust after learning about the widespread pet food industry practices which resulted in the deaths and tragic illnesses of thousands of pets in this country.  That feeling remains as strong as ever because the pet food companies didn’t say, “This is unacceptable!  We’re going to do a complete overhaul and come back with new, transparent practices that will restore consumer confidence.”  Far from it.  What they said was more along the lines of,  “Circle the wagons boys!  Consumers are daring to ask questions.  Screw that!”

As far as I know, not one significant thing in the practices of the pet food industry as a whole has changed for the better since all those pets suffered and died.  Therefore, the potential for a recurrence is plausible to my mind.  And indeed, we have regularly seen pet food products recalled, though on a smaller scale, in the years since.  Granted, recalls are going to happen, but the reasons that they happen and how they are handled by the pet food companies  are very similar to 2007.  There have been a few isolated cases where I thought recalls were handled well – for example Orijen – but the large corporations still deny problems, rely on secrecy and employ the “proprietary information“, duck and cover business model.

Overall, I would say my opinion of pet food corporations has changed little since 2007.  How about you – do you feel things in the pet food industry are better, worse or about the same?

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9 Comments

  1. Kim

     /  June 7, 2010

    It’s funny you mention Orijen. Champion’s products are the base for our diets here for both the dogs and cats. I had been feeding raw for about 12 years, and was at a tradeshow where Champion was testing the waters. I suggested that I was interested in the product, and mentioned that I was from Alberta, where their factories are located.

    Their sales rep immediately offered me a tour of the factory, which I took them up on about six months later. I was thoroughly impressed by every aspect of their business, including their transparency. They actually let me sit there while they ran a batch through all of their testing procedures.

    My suggestion is this – find foods that have European Union certification. Not only is the manufacturer certified, but every single supplier must have certification as well. All foods must be passed fit for human consumption before they are put through the production process. EU renews it’s certification quarterly.

    Lots of companies have EU certification, but few of them promote this fact – although this is slowly changing.

    Reply
    • I did a search to see if I could find a list of pet foods that are EU certified but the only one I’ve come across so far costs $18 for a one year subscription. Will keep looking.

      Reply
      • Kim

         /  June 7, 2010

        I know that there was originally a basic list put up on itchmo.com/forums. However, I seem to be unable to find it now. The list was put together simply by calling every company they could and asking them.

        I’ll see what I can do to find it.

  2. Via Google, these are the brands I found that are EU certified:
    Nature’s Logic, Proformance, Fromm

    I’m sure there are more but companies don’t seem too interested in advertising the point.

    Reply
  3. Kim

     /  June 7, 2010

    I know that Champion, Canidae, Nature’s Harvest and PLB International all have EU APHIS as well.

    I’ve emailed the USDA directly to try and get a list.

    See, that’s what I don’t get. The EU standard is the gold standard of pet food regulations. If a food I produced met EU specifications, as did all of my suppliers, I would be shouting this fact from the rooftops. Only Champion seems to advertise their certification.

    Reply
  4. I cannot say I had much of an opinion on the pet food industry four or five years ago when I was still feeding kibble to my dog. It was just something you did because everyone else did it that way and the vets told you that’s how it was done.

    My opinion changed when Mina nearly died on a supposedly high-caliber kibble. It got me thinking – do I really understand what is in my dog’s food and can I do it any better? When I realized I could do it better or formulate a diet that meets AAFCO’s minimal standards, I figured why not?

    Reply
  5. I never buy dog food without something gnawing at the pit of my stomach–fear, guilt… because I know that not a whole lot has changed.

    Reply
  6. Grahund

     /  June 7, 2010

    Would you post a link or the contact information for the subscription to the list of EU certified providers?

    Reply
  7. Kim

     /  June 8, 2010

    Jan, I hear you. I’m limited to a handful of brands that I still have faith in, and this list seems to get smaller and smaller (thanks for selling out, Natura!).

    Reply

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