The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : The Pet Food Swindle: Popular Brands Contain High Quantities of Meat that is Not on the Label Including Cans of 'Beef' that Are Really Up to 63 Per Cent Chicken

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Pet Food Swindle: Popular Brands Contain High Quantities of Meat that is Not on the Label Including Cans of 'Beef' that Are Really Up to 63 Per Cent Chicken

Whether it is tasty beef or succulent chicken, only the best will do for our beloved pets. But many dog and cat foods are not all they seem.

Research by vets has shown many popular canned foods contain high quantities of meat not on the label.

One beef stew dog food was found to be predominantly chicken.

Of the 17 pet foods subjected to DNA testing at Nottingham University, 14 contained meats that were not spelled out on the can.

Researcher Kin-Chow Chang, a fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, said misleading labeling could put dogs and cats at risk of serious allergic reactions.

Latest figures show Britons spend 1billion a year on more than 400,000 tons of canned pet food. More than three quarters of the nation’s eight million cats and almost half of the nine million dogs eat canned food.

Professor Chang tested ten popular dog foods and seven types of cat food for DNA of cows, pigs, chickens and horses. 

None of the cans had horsemeat in them, but most contained beef, pork or chicken despite it not being mentioned on the label. Some of the ‘beef’ foods actually contained more pork or chicken.

For instance, 63 per cent of meat detected in Bakers As Good As It Looks Succulent Stew ‘with beef’ was chicken and 22 per cent was pork. Only 15 per cent was beef.

Pedigree dog food labeled as being ‘with beef’ had far more chicken and pork than beef, and 81 per cent of the meat detected in Felix Complete cat food was chicken or pork – despite it being the ‘beef’ version.

But not all brands were criticized – all of Encore’s chicken breast cat food was determined to be the meat labeled. 

Professor Chang said the research suggested ‘a considerable mismatch in the labeling standard of the pet food industry and what the purchaser would reasonably expect’.

He added: ‘In a human situation, this would be completely unacceptable. If I was to buy a tin of ham, I wouldn’t want to be eating rabbit as well.’

The foods complied with the law, which allows the phrase ‘with beef’, even if beef is not the main meat.

But writing in journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, Professor Chang called on manufacturers to make labels clearer, allowing ‘more informed choices … particularly important for pets with food allergies, reduce the risk of product misinterpretation … and avoid potential religious concerns’.

Cats Protection’s Maggie Roberts said pet food makers follow guidance laid down by the EU, adding: ‘It may be beneficial for these guidelines to be amended so the information is clearer … to allow people to make a more informed choice.’

The Pet Food Manufacturers Association said makers may use meat from different animals as supply levels fluctuate but the nutritional quality does not vary.


As good as it looks? 63 per cent of meat detected in Bakers As Good As It Looks Succulent Stew ‘with beef’ was chicken and 22 per cent was pork. Only 15 per cent was beef.
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