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November 1, 2016
FRAUD, INCOMPETENCE, AND NONSENSE IN THE PET FOOD INDUSTRY
Many merits claimed by pet food companies have nothing to do with safe and healthy nutrition, but a lot to do with selling. In a marketplace where anyone can start a pet food brand, companies are desperate for something to set them apart.
Here are some of the current, often outrageous, claims to fame by pet food companies. Consider these in terms of the motives, ethics, and competency of the producers.
"100% COMPLETE AND BALANCED"– This leads consumers to believe they should feed the food exclusively. However, the claim is false and has led to disease and death.
'LOVE PETS"– Loving pets does not speak for the qualifications necessary to make the best pet foods.
"WE ARE FIRST"– No proof is ever provided.
"QUALITY INGREDIENTS"– Quality is not defined and, upon examination, the ingredients look essentially the same as in other brands.
"PREMIUM"– The term is not defined. It is a mere boast.
"GRAIN-FREE"– This implies the food is higher in meat but that is not true since grains are simply replaced with other starch sources nutritionally inferior to grains.
"GRAIN-FREE DECREASES OBESITY"– There is no credible evidence that this is true.
"HAND TRIMMED"– Hand trimming has nothing to do with nutritional value. In fact, machine trimming can capture more nutrient value.
"LIMITED INGREDIENTS"– Limiting ingredients does not improve nutritional value, it reduces it.
"NO SOY"– No scientific proof nor empirical evidence that pet foods with soy are dangerous.
"SPECIAL DIETS"– There is no proof that pets fed properly need special diets based upon breed, size, age, etc.
"REAL MEAT"– No pet foods use unreal meats.
OFFICIAL STAMPS– Official looking insignias designating, "Voted #1," "Natural Pet Food," "Award Winning," "Member of..." etc., are a product of graphics or are bought and have nothing to do with merit.
"NO FILLERS"– A filler is a non-nutritional ingredient that adds no nutritional or health benefit. Pet food companies do not use such things.
"NO BY-PRODUCTS"– But by-products can be the most nutritional part of an ingredient. Meat by-products are what carnivores eat in the wild. Not using by-products means the waste of millions of tons of healthy food and more needless farming and food animal slaughter.
"CURES AND PREVENTS DISEASE, CANCER, EXTENDS LIFE," ETC.– Such claims are never proven and are also illegal.
"BIOLOGICALLY APPROPRIATE"– Living prey for a carnivore to catch and consume is the only truly biologically appropriate food. Heat processed foods do not qualify.
"FRESH WHOLE RAW PREY"– No food on the market actually contains, or could contain fresh whole prey. It would simply rot.
"HAND MADE IN A KITCHEN"– Commercially viable, properly processed products cannot be made in a "kitchen."
"NEST LAID EGGS"–There are no sources of such eggs in a quantity that would be commercially viable.
"LOCALLY RAISED"– No pet food containing a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc., can be produced in a locale that produces all such ingredients.
"REGIONAL INGREDIENTS"– No pet food containing a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc., can be produced in a region (short of pretty much the whole country) that produces all such ingredients.
"WILD GAME MEATS"– Wild game is harvested by hunters with licenses. There is no commercial source of such hunted wild meat.
"EASIER TO DIGEST"– Simply claiming a food is easier to digest does not make it so.
"LEADING HOLISTIC VETERINARIAN"– There is no specific training to be a holistic veterinarian, nor is there any official ranking of such veterinarians.
"PREMIUM PROTEINS TO PREVENT ALLERGY"– There is no evidence that premium protein (what that might be is not defined) prevents allergies. An animal can be allergic to any protein.
"PIONEERED LOW TEMPERATURE PROCESSING"– Low temperature is not defined, nor is the specific pioneering technology explained.
"NOT DENATURED"– Ingredients used by health conscious producers either do not contain denaturants, or contain safe, even beneficial, denaturants such as ground bone. No evidence is provided that pets have been harmed by denaturants.
"MADE IN THE USA"– Where a product is made cannot be equated with quality and safety. All countries have made both safe and unsafe products.
"HIGH INDUSTRY RANKING"– There is no such thing as a ranking bestowed by the pet food industry.
"PUREST PREMIUM MAKER"– These words are not defined nor is this prestigious ranking explained.
"PROBIOTICS ALLOW ALL FOOD VALUE TO BE ABSORBED"– Probiotics do not function to allow all the food value to be absorbed.
"PLAIN WHITE BAG SO MORE MONEY IS USED FOR QUALITY INGREDIENTS"– Nutritious natural foods are subject to degradation by mold, insects, and oxidation. A plain paper bag is therefore a danger, not a solution, to health and nutrition.
"NO-GLUTENS"– True gluten sensitivity is rare.
"YEARS OF EXHAUSTIVE RESEARCH"– However, no evidence is given of who the experts are, their credentials, the type of research, the scientific articles published, or the results.
"SLOW COOKED AT LOW TEMPERATURE"– The opposite, high temperature, short time (HTST) cooking is proven to preserve more nutrients.
"MEAT IS SOURCED FROM PROCESSORS THAT MAKE THE MEAT FOR YOUR DINNER TABLE"– All meat used in pet foods comes from processors that produce meats for human consumption.
"EXCLUSIVE NUTRIENT PROTECTION TECHNOLOGY"– No explanation is given of what the technology is or how it is exclusive.
"MORE REAL MEAT AND ORGANS THAN OTHER BRANDS"– Since companies do not reveal their formulations, this claim cannot be known to be true. Moreover, there is no such thing as unreal meat and organs.
"UNIQUE SLOW COOKING METHOD MAKES CARBOHYDRATES MORE DIGESTIBLE"– The unique method is not described. Moreover, high temperature, short time cooking (HTST) is the proven better way to improve digestibility of carbohydrates.
"SLOW COOKING AT LOW TEMPERATURE CREATES PRECISE PASTEURIZATION"– Pasteurization requires high, not low temperatures.
"COLD FORMED"– No information is given as to what "cold" means in terms of temperature, or how the food is formed without the application of heat.
"WE USE MEAT MEALS, NOT BY-PRODUCTS"– Meat by-products are nutritionally superior to meat meals.
"PURE INGREDIENTS"– No definition is given of what a pure ingredient is.
"ONLY ALKALINE DIET IN THE WORLD, THIS CAUSES MORE OXYGEN IN THE BLOOD AND BETTER DNA REPAIR– No proof is provided for these unscientific claims.
"NO SYNTHETICS"– However, this food is synthetically processed resulting in nutrient destruction that can be reversed with synthetic vitamins.
"SHELTER SUPPORT AND OTHER DONATIONS"– Philanthropy is irrelevant to nutrition and health or the competence to produce the best pet foods that foster it.
"PELLETS ARE MORE DIGESTIBLE AND PALATABLE"– HTST extrusion is a superior processing method.
"FREEZE DRIED"– Most companies who sell freeze dried pet foods use heat above 118 degrees (making the food not raw), or will not reveal the temperature used in their freeze driers.
"LOW TEMPERATURE MOISTURE TECHNOLOGY TO PRESERVE PROTEIN"– This technology is not revealed nor is evidence given that protein is preserved by it any better than by other pet food technology.
"100-600 QUALITY CONTROL TESTS AND CHECKS– What those 100–600 tests are is not revealed, or how that many test is compatible with economically feasible production.
"A VEGETARIAN PET FOOD IS MORE HUMANE"– Pets are obligate carnivores and to not feed them animal-based foods risks their health–which is not humane.
"A BLOOD NUTRITIONIST AND INTENSE RESEARCH AND STUDIES ABOUT BLOOD NUTRITION"– There is no such thing as a blood nutritionist, and the intense research and studies are not described.
"LOW TEMP COOKING AND CONTAINS TAPIOCA AND POTATOES"– Starch sources such as tapioca and potato require high temperature cooking in order to make the starches digestible and to inactivate toxins and antinutritional factors.
ENDORSED BY A CELEBRITY– Being a celebrity has nothing to do with competence in nutrition and health.
"LEGALLY YOU MUST FEED THIS BRAND"– Forcing consumers to sign legal contracts agreeing to feed only one food will likely cause health problems, not prevent them.
"INGREDIENTS ARE CAREFULLY WASHED BEFORE PROCESSING"– Foods claiming this use meat meals which are dried powders that cannot be washed. Moreover, pet food safety has to do with sterility through and after processing, not washing prior to processing.
"TESTED FOR MICRO-TOXINS"– There are tests for mycotoxins (those produced by molds), but not "micro-toxins."
"FREEZE DRIED WITH TAPIOCA"– Tapioca, in order to be safe and digestible, must be cooked at much higher temperatures than 118 degrees, which is the high limit for raw.
"FARM RAISED INGREDIENTS"– All primary ingredients in all pet foods are raised on farms.
"PASTEURIZED AT LOW TEMPERATURE"– By definition, pasteurization is at high temperature, 160 degrees F at the least.
"FREEZE DRIED WHOLE FLAXSEEDS"– Whole flaxseeds cannot be digested by carnivores.
"PERFECTLY BALANCED"– Nobody knows what perfect nutrition is. Feeding one food meal after meal is a prescription for nutritional problems, not health.
"EXCEEDS HUMAN GRADE"– How a food can exceed human grade is not explained, nor is it explained why non-human grade meat meals are in the product, nor does human grade equate with better nutrition.
"ADVANCED RESEARCH"– What that advanced research is, what the results are, who did it, and where the reports are in the scientific literature is not stated.
"FOREFRONT OF HOLISTIC FOOD"-– Who, other than the company making the claim, agrees, is not stated, nor is holistic defined.
"NEVER FROZEN"– Feezing ingredients is about the best way to preserve nutritional value.
"WORLD LEADER OF SCIENTIFIC ADVANCES"– No proof is given that they are the leader, nor are their foods any different than hundreds of others.
"OUR SLOW BAKING RETAINS 100% OF PROTEINS, VITAMINS, AND MINERALS ...THIS BAKING IS FAR SUPERIOR TO EXTRUSION WHICH IS LIKE MICROWAVING."– No processing can retain all nutrients, and extrusion is not at all like microwaving.
"NO PROCESSING AIDS LIKE CARRAGEENAN, GUAR OR XANTHAN GUMS"– No proof is given that these natural ingredients create anything but benefit for pets.
"OPTI-COOK METHOD"– No detail is given of what this method is or proof that it is superior to conventional pet food processing.
"COMPARISON CHART"– Every brand can create a chart to show how their food is superior to all others.
"NO SYNTHETIC VITAMIN AND MINERAL FORTIFIERS"– Processing destroys and alters nutrients making fortification essential.
"AAFCO PROVEN"– AAFCO proven pet foods have resulted in the disease and death of thousands of pets.
"RAW BOOSTED"– The purported raw elements used in the food are incidental in terms of quantity and are processed in excess of 118 degrees, making them not raw.
"FIRST HUMANE AND ETHICAL PET FOOD"– Increasing animal production and slaughter of humanely raised farm animals in order to provide pet food is not more humane than using nutritious industry ingredients that would otherwise go to waste.
"USE INULINE (SIC) AS PROBIOTIC AND ANTIOXYDANTS (SIC)"– Inulin (correct spelling) is not a probotic, it is a prebiotic, and antioxidants (correct spelling) are common in all pet foods.
"SPECIAL DIETS FOR BREEDS, AGE, INDOORS, ETC."– Other than in rare genetic cases, all carnivores need the same basic nutrition, not the same "special" food at every meal.
"CAREFULLY CHOSEN AND METICULOUSLY COOKED– But the food is prepared and processed no differently than any mass produced pet food.
"ALL THE NUTRIENTS INTACT"– All processing using heat (necessary for pathogen control and digestibility of grains and legumes) destroys and alters nutrients.
"EXTENSIVE RESEARCH TO EXCEED RECOMMENDED LEVELS"– Extensive research is not necessary to increase nutrients above recommended levels, and exceeding levels of some nutrients can cause harm, not benefit.
"IMPECCABLE REPUTATION FOR FOOD SAFETY"– Reputation with whom? No food should be fed continuously because of a claim of safety.
"REAL MEAT FIRST" There is no such thing as unreal meat, nor does having it as the first ingredient mean it is predominant.
"HIGHEST QUALITY PROTEIN"– This is not defined, nor is proof given that the food contains the highest quality protein.
"THE SCIENCE OF COMPLETE AND BALANCED NUTRITION"– No scientist knows complete anything, and feeding so-called complete foods at every meal, has caused enormous health damage.
"100% OF PROFIT IS DONATED"– Their "profit" is calculated after wages, salaries, bonuses, etc. are subtracted. Healthy pet food is not about philanthropy, it is about competence.
"NEXT BEST THING TO FEEDING RAW"– This food is essentially the same as all other non-raw foods in the market.
"CUTTING EDGE FOOD UNLIKE ANYTHING IN THE WORLD"– This food is essentially the same as all other dry extruded foods in the marketplace.
"ALL THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF RAW IN DRY FORM"– These foods are cooked and therefore cannot have raw benefits.
"UNIQUE INGREDIENTS FOUND NOWHERE ELSE"– Unique ingredients are not synonymous with the best and most healthful ingredients. Moreover, all ingredients are universally available.
"THE MOST ADVANCED MODERN NUTRITIONAL KNOWLEDGE"– What that knowledge is or what the credentials of the scientists are who found it and implement it in the product are not revealed.
"GOOD FOR 3-4 MONTHS AFTER EXPIRATION DATE"– All nutritious foods degrade with time. The more nutritious, the faster they degrade. Long expiration dates mean low nutrition and high toxins.
"PATENT PENDING FREEZE DRIED PROBIOTICS"– Freeze dried or otherwise stabilized probiotics have been available for over a century and are not patentable.
"CHELATED VITAMINS"– Minerals can be chelated, not vitamins.
"KELP FROM NON-PETROLEUM WATERS"– Petroleum contaminates all oceans to some degree since it is constantly released from deep sea vents.
"NEVER A RECALL"– All food can harbor toxins and pathogens, so not having a recall only means products have not yet been caught by regulatory officials.
"USE PHARMACEUTICAL VITAMINS AS USED BY HUMANS"– All vitamins are the same molecularly, and vitamin manufacturers provide the same vitamins for human or animal use.
"RAW INSPIRED BAKED FOODS"– Rawness cannot inspire baking since baking is the opposite of rawness.
The Wysong Healthletter is now well into its third decade of continuous publication. It is offered free to help you make a better you and a better world.
I long ago came to realize that the most worthy role of any doctor is to teach people how not to need them. This led me away from practice where treating symptoms is the primary tool and a misinformed public has come to expect magic bullet cures. But no disease is ever caused by the lack of a drug, and no treatment—save that for trauma or defect—ever improves an organism. Medical intervention is, in fact, now the number one cause of death and suffering in our modern world.
Illness, in large part, comes from wrong thinking. Health requires an open-minded, fact-based philosophy of life and an ambition to make yourself the best you can be. Thoughtlessly following convention and laziness are irreconcilable with health.
Wellness requires a deep respect for the great unknowns of life and the power of natural healing forces. Pretending that we can command nature and that the body is a mere machine that can be manipulated with impunity by "experts" is an illusion of both professionals and the public.
So it is my hope that this newsletter will help you to take control of your own health destiny, trust the healing powers within and in nature, and understand that ultimately wellbeing is about what you do to yourself, not what someone else can do to you.
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