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THE WYSONG e-HEALTH LETTER
~Thoughts for Thinking People~
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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 prevent such.

    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 dollars loom.

    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 The 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 label.
    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.


The Wysong e-Health Letter is an educational newsletter. Opinions expressed are meant to be taken for their argumentative/intellectual interest value, and not interpreted as specific medical or legal direction for individual conditions or situations. The e-Health Letter does not represent all-inclusive knowledge, nor can it affirm or deny facts or data gathered from cited references. Before initiating any health action or changing existing therapies, individuals should read the references cited in the e-Health Letter or request them from Wysong Corporation (eHealthLetter@wysong.net), and seek and evaluate several alternative, competent viewpoints. The reader (not the Wysong e-Health Letter) must assume all responsibilities from the application of educational and often controversial information presented in the e-Health Letter.
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