WYSONG e-HEALTH LETTER
~Thoughts for Thinking People~
THE "BELIEVE WHAT IS ON THE LABEL" MYTH
(Dr. W.) You would hope that pet food labeling and literature
would not be misleading. You would think regulators would
Yes, there are regulations, regulators and
people in pet food companies who are honest.; But it's like
taxes – where in spite of laws and even, sometimes, draconian
enforcement – lies, cheating and fraud abound. If there
is a way for the system to be maneuvered for personal advantage,
count on it.
So it can also be in the pet food industry.
A well-developed conscience does not necessarily preside where
Producers can put anything in their products.
Nobody is analyzing products to see what is there. Regulators
don't camp out in pet food factories, and only rarely spot-check
retail products for things like percent protein and fat to see
if they match label guarantees. That's the long and short
of it. They don't analyze to see if something is in the
food that is not on the label. They don't analyze the food
to see if what is claimed on the label is actually there either.
Such analyses would stretch the limit of technology and be far
beyond the budget of any regulatory agency.
So what is the consumer left with? Only
what is said. Words must be trusted. But since those
words are not really controlled, the real trust must be placed
in the people who are producing the product. And how do
you develop trust in them? Back to words.
There is no other measure other than results. But nutrition
is not an instantaneous process, and results may not appear for
years. So we're back to words again.
How can words be trusted? Intuition and
common sense are excellent but underused tools. Instead,
too much reliance is placed on government, experts and herd instinct
– following the crowd.
Do the label and literature reflect serious science and advice,
or are they mere marketing folderol? (Care must be taken here
also because marketing can be disguised as science. See
Truth About Pet Foods.) Are the leaders in the company,
the ones who make the decisions about what goes in the product,
competent nutritionally, medically and in food science? (Remember,
you are not just buying food, you are buying health.) Or are they
just business people trying to create a bottom line? Do
they just name drop "doctors" and other professionals,
or are these "experts" really competent in the field,
and are they making the decisions about what goes in the products?
Does the label highlight official looking seals,
stamps and insignias? "Human Grade," "Organic,"
"Natural," "AAFCO Approved," "100% Complete"
and "USDA Approved" may or may not carry any meaning.
For example, essentially all pet foods have to be approved by
AAFCO and use USDA inspected ingredients. To highlight this
as if the product were unique is misleading. Additionally,
saying a product contains natural, organic or human grade ingredients
says nothing about how much. One teaspoon of such ingredients
in one hundred tons of finished product, and the claim can be
made. Don't ask producers to tell you how much is there
because they will tell you that is proprietary information.
So you are back to that trust and intuition measure.
Does the label contain about every imaginable
currently popular ingredient or phrase? Does it make all
kinds of claims without the appropriate scientific documentation?
In short, does the label seem honest, competent and helpful, or
does it sound more like:
"It slices, it dices, it makes julienne fries, it's a desert
topping, wart remover and a floor polish!"
You must discern if you are being treated like
a consumer patsy, a mere profit center, an unintelligent, frivolous
and impulsive buyer. Such discernment is perhaps the best
measure of product merit, for it reveals the motives behind the
Until consumers will stop being led by glitz,
glitter and pretense, unworthy trinket gewgaws will continue to
flood commercial shelves. Health is the ultimate victim
of this nonsense.
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