PET FOOD LABEL DECEPTION
Consumers want real food, honest labeling, and “Made In USA” or county of origin on labels as required by the new food law, and that includes pet foods.
August 1, 2012 | TheDogPress
Nel Liquorman, Health & Nutrition Editor
The public is rejecting the baloney spewed out by the food manufacturers. The corn industry told the FDA that consumers were confused about high fructose corn syrup and asked the FDA to allow them to rename it corn sugar. The request was denied but I found corn sugar already showing up on ingredient labels.
That speaks volumes about how the industry tries to re-label ingredients. The pet food industry also appears unwilling to accept the new food labeling law. And COOL? Country Of Origin Labels? Food companies and grocery stores with private brands use evasive terms such as: “Packed by, Distributed by, or Marketed by, followed by the company’s name and address. Nothing about “manufactured by”.
For the savvy shopper, this is unacceptable. One pet food label that is seemly nutritious food with limited ingredients is being rejected by consumers whose complaints are solely based on the fact that the label reveals the food is not made in the USA. This private brand (belonging to PetSmart) has offshored the manufacturing of their product to Thailand and consumers blame them in part for our bad economy but it’s also about food safety. In spite of claims of careful sourcing of ingredients, many pet owners wonder how pure the cat or dog food could be since it is made in a foreign country whose labeling requirements may not be enforced?
When manufacturers use the address of their company’s headquarters on the label instead of stating where the product was manufactured, consumers must ask why? Product of USA should be their proudest labeling declaration! If it doesn’t say that on your pet food label, it could have been made in a terrorist country or China which taught us a lesson about plastic in the dog food. 
For years I have reported that ingredients approved only for farm animal feed have been added to cat and dog food. Many such ingredients are really bad for pets. Consumers objected but despite complaints regarding the use of ingredients that are made for herbivores, ingredients inappropriate for carnivores, are still in pet foods. A few companies have begun making pet food with labeling which states “no soy, wheat, corn, artificial flavors/colors, or preservatives.”
Consumers understand food labels and are not fooled by questionable ingredients. For instance, natural only means that the ingredient started out in nature – but what was it? There is no plant or animal named “Natural” so how can there be a flavor from it? Is it an ingredient created by a food scientist? You find “natural flavor” on the label of most prepared foods for humans, dogs, and cats. Many manufacturers use pre-prepared ingredients, thus there’s no way for consumers to know what the actual ingredient contained. Could it be a preservative like ethoxyquin which becomes a toxin when added to pet food? We can only protect our pets and ourselves by rejecting anything with non-specific labeling.
Year after year, the FDA issues warnings for imported dog food  pharmaceuticals, clothing, toys, etc. Even so, most people don’t realize how much we import from other countries. Fred Lanting, an organic chemist who often travels to China to judge, rips the “silken curtain” off of these imports. Perhaps there needs to be a law that requires the country of origin to be printed in big readable print right under the brand name where it can’t be missed. Likely this would result in less offshoring of manufacturing jobs.
It would appear that the food industry learned little from the deadly melamine  that killed so many pets. Here’s some news for the pet food manufacturers and store brand owners who did not learn a lesson: Consumers are now watchdogs who check human and pet food labels! Ingredients and country of origin is a primary concern when any kind of food is purchased. Yet country of origin is usually stamped in an unlikely place causing difficulty finding or reading it. This is also a problem for major brands of frozen food, especially seafood. When labels are not easily found, the food is often from Mexico, China, Thailand, Pakistan, or some other country that we do not trust for food safety or even national safety.
Consumer concern does not end at the supermarket or pet food store. Many restaurants use imported products, for example fish, sometimes farm raised in China. These fish are not raised using the same standards that the USA uses. It is up to consumers to find out what they are being served!
Consumers are fighting back against companies that have sent jobs to other countries, import products and foods we should be making right here. We see who and what is making us and our pets sick while destroying our economy.
There is no doubt about it, consumers are becoming sensitized to what labels say about where our money is going and profits will be affected if manufacturers and retailers fail to listen!
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