China-Free Dog Food? Don’t Count On It

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These days, I keep reading around the Internet about how this or that dog food is completely free of Chinese ingredients.

And frankly, I’m puzzled.

After all, there are so many basic pet food ingredients that today are no longer even made here in North America.

Take vitamin C, for example. In just a little over a decade, Chinese manufacturers have cornered over 90% of the U.S. market for this common vitamin.1

And it’s not just the vitamin C market that’s been affected. It’s the rest of the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries, too.

According to a recent post in the Seattle Times, China now makes…

  • 70 percent of the world’s penicillin
  • 50 percent of the earth’s aspirin
  • 35 percent of its acetaminophen (generic Tylenol)
  • The bulk of the world’s vitamins A, B12, C and E

The Problem with Chinese Ingredients

Today, it’s nearly impossible to find a U.S. manufacturer for some essential vitamin and mineral supplements. So, even if a pet food company insists on using 100% domestic ingredients, that noble goal can be elusive.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying Chinese ingredients are automatically inferior to our own.

But let’s face it, in spite of continued promises for reform by the Chinese government, the country’s ongoing saga of food safety scandals persists unabated.

Yet most consumers still believe there’s a law protecting them from pet foods containing foreign-made ingredients?

The Shocking Truth About
Country of Origin Labeling Laws

Here in the U.S., current country of origin labeling laws are either weak or non-existent. They offer little protection to consumers, especially when it comes to the source of a dog food’s ingredients.

For a product to be labeled “Made in the USA” (or for that matter, any other country), regulations require only that the product be “all or virtually all” made in that country.

Nowhere do labeling rules mandate the identification of sources of the individual components that were used to make a product.

So, even though a company reports they manufacture a dog food completely in a U.S. or Canadian facility, there’s no way to assure a consumer the ingredients weren’t sourced from a foreign producer.

Why China-Free Today Can’t Guarantee
It’ll Be China-Free Tomorrow

And there’s no requirement to inform consumers of a change of any ingredient’s country of origin either.

So, a recipe claim made today is never a guarantee the same will be true tomorrow.

Even though a manufacturer or a well-meaning third-party writer may report a dog food company’s products are “100% China Free” or “Made in the USA”, there’s nothing to legally guarantee the next batch of raw materials can’t come from a different source.

And that’s precisely the reason The Dog Food Advisor relies solely on government-regulated pet food labels and intentionally ignores virtually everything else.

It would be misleading to our readers for us to do otherwise.

Unverifiable Claims Are Useless

Isn’t it possible your dog’s food is different? That it’s 100% free of Chinese ingredients?

Of course. It’s likely some pet foods actually are.

But let’s be logical. Let’s talk about probability.

If human vitamins are mostly sourced from Chinese suppliers, what are the chances the profit-driven pet food industry will still be able to get their hands on the few American-made supplements still available?

And what’s the likelihood these same companies would be willing to pay the top prices required to get them?

Sure. Anything’s possible.

After all, even a broken clock is right twice a day.

  1. China Corners Vitamin Market, Seattle Times, 6/3/2007
  • MJ C

    FROMM – it states it on their website. Nothing from China. Nothing. http://frommfamily.com/about/question-and-answer/ingredients/no-china-ingredients/

  • schrodie

    That may have been an auto-correct error, DDK. I’ve found that many foreign and Latin words get corrected to the closest English word.

  • schrodie

    I see that your post was made on Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 9:25 pm. Hover over the gray ‘date’ text next to a user name and it will show the date and time of your post. When I posted this reply, the date text next to your name read ’7 months ago’. The hover text told me exactly when you made the post. :)

    Posted on Sunday 6/22/2014 9:26 am (by my clock)

  • linda555555

    Seriously?? Bwahaha calling americans stupid is smart to you?

  • linda555555

    sad but true

  • Dr J

    The arsenic content depends on the origin of the rice.

  • linda555555

    Brown rice has more arsenic.

  • Penelope Rusch

    spoken like a real man, grow up people and remember this is for the animals and there health!

  • James Quiring

    My puppy died from a product supposedly made in the us

  • nano

    1st of all what is printed on the label is part of the ingredient list, don’t be fooled. All products have master ingredient list. You also should be aware that US is run by big business where ethics are shelved. Look up neonicotinoids, a pesticide that is killing bees, animals and people, developed by the Chinese bought by Bayer, Monsanto, and Basf. Banned in Eu but still used throughout the US. What about GMO, are pets developing cancer and odd diseases more then ever? Just make yourself aware and don’t think the Government necessarily has your best interest in mind.- Money, money MONEY

  • nano

    on my computer through my software it definitely shows the age of the posting next to the name as in case, posting was 5 mths ago

  • LabsRawesome
  • Aloveoflabs Mike Sharp

    So all the ingredients used in Merrick is produced stateside?

  • LabsRawesome

    Aloveoflabs Mike Sharp , Merrick is China Free.

  • LabsRawesome

    Hi cindylmn, Merrick is China Free.

  • Betsy Greer

    Another Canadian food I think is great is Horizon. I used to use Horizon Legacy, but can’t any longer as one of mine has developed an intolerance, but I think Horizon makes wonderful products. It’s also pretty affordable for such a high quality food. Maybe a good one to rotate with Orijen.

  • Dr J

    Try Canadian companies, since Canada is stricter in Dog food manufacturing than the US of A. I feed Orijen and the 4 dogs we have do most excellently on this.

  • cindylmn

    Hi, I am new to this site and I have that same question about which dog foods are made entirely in the US.
    I had purchased C.E.T. dog chews and asked the manufacuring company, Verbacvet, if this product was made in the US. Below is their reply. I’m not sure how I feel about Mexico having a hand in this that is why I subscribed to this website so to get a better understanding for the betterment of my dog. Thanks for your time.
    “C.E.T. ® ENZYMATIC ORAL HYGIENE CHEWS for Dogs and C.E.T. ® HEXTRA® PREMIUM CHEWS are manufactured in Mexico using current Good Manufacturing Practices.
    The cattle hides used to make dental chews for Virbac come from North America.
    The cleaning and preparation process used in making the chew takes care to ensure that the finished product is safe and effective for pets when used as directed. This quality is monitored both in the manufacturing facility and by Virbac again before shipping to customers.
    The C.E.T chews have a long history of excellent quality and safety. Virbac strongly believes that C.E.T. chews are an excellent choice to help people provide home dental preventive care for their dogs.”

  • Aloveoflabs Mike Sharp

    That’s great. I will check it out today! Thanks Betsy I appreciate the information.

  • Betsy Greer

    You’re in luck Mike! After months of anticipation, Dr. Mike has just launched the new Editor’s Choice list today! The list includes ingredient sourcing and recall history for the manufacturer. There is a $14.99 fee for an annual membership, but there new information monthly. Check it out!: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/editors-choice-member-home/

  • Aloveoflabs Mike Sharp

    Are there any quality dog foods made in the US that contain ALL ingredients from the US and none from foreign suppliers?

  • Paw Paws

    all I can say is WOW :|

  • Pattyvaughn

    I read the 23 page FDA report on the Chinese chicken jerky fiasco and I have to say that I was quite impressed. They have tested for everything they have a test for and even created new tests because of this whole thing. They still can’t figure out what is wrong with the things, but not for lack of trying.

  • Pattyvaughn

    LOL!! I thought you were admitting something!

  • georgeydog

    That should read “when” suppliers lie

  • Georgeydog

    I have been through FDA audits. Not a fun thing. Very detailed. They do a better job then you would think. But we suppliers lie, it takes a while to track that down. This is ten fold when the supplier is a closed door government in the first place. Still the inspectors are doing good work.

  • Pattyvaughn

    It has nothing to do with trusting the government, and everything to do with trusting(or not) dog food manufacturers. Neither have a good history, but they are useful for comparison purposes.

  • Alpha Dog Food

    “And that’s precisely the reason The Dog Food Advisor relies solely on government-regulated pet food labels and intentionally ignores virtually everything else.”

    That’s all well and good, but who really trusts the government?

  • Pattyvaughn

    Spambot much?

  • http://diabetesdigest.com/ NATURE MADE VITAMINS

    Our body utilizes vitamin D for bone growth. Furthermore, it helps your body absorb calcium. Sunlight is a main vitamin D source, but vitamin D can also be had through egg yolks, fish oil and milk. Carrots, pumpkin and sweet potatoes are sources of vitamin A.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Scroll down to the oldest comment and hover your mouse over the ##months ago and it should give you the date and time of that post. That post was made within hours of this page going up.

  • SoCalEaglesFan

    I wish people would habitually date the posts they put on the internet. I have no idea when this post was written. Could have been 10 years ago.

    This could be completely outdated information and it probably is in 2013. Without a date, people would be wise to ignore any information and advice found within this or any other post they come across on the internet.

    “Today” is not meaningful. An actual date, is.

  • Dr J

    Thank you so much for correcting my English…ehhh Latin….I do hope it makes you fell better….it is a blog not a Latin class. Anything else you would like to contribute to the topic….?

  • DDK

    It’s “ad-hominem” not “ad-hominy.”

  • Pingback: Avoid Recalls | The Dog Liberator™

  • LethaILily

    so says the guy on the internet. What companies were those?

  • http://DogFoodAdvisor.com/ Mike Sagman

    This community does not welcome discourteous behavior or name calling for any reason or at any time.

    I would appreciate the help of everyone when these kinds of comments are posted so that I can take appropriate action as soon as possible. Thank you for your help.

  • Bobs

    Is that why the tainted dog treats started back in 2007. The fda can’t find out from their tests what is killing all these dogs to this date.

  • Pingback: So which cat food companies don't buy from China? - Page 5 - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums

  • Brandon McBride

    I have done extensive research for my dog and cat, it is important to me specifically because my previous dog and cat where sickened by Chinese wheat in dog and cat food a few years ago, the food they where on was recalled but they where already sick. My previous dog, the poor thing had intestinal issues for the last 5 years of her life because of the damage done. They where on the most expensive food at petsmart at the time, but as I sadly found out price has very little to do with Chinese ingredient use. The food was nutromax and the worst thing was when i contacting the company they said they still intended to use the same Chinese supplier after the recall was over, but claimed they where sending quality control people to china, what a joke. My research has come up with a few companies that use no Chinese ingredients whatsoever. I have contacted the factories and seen the ingredient origin sheets, unfortunately they are more expensive then normal pet food, but i prefer to spend money on the pet not the vet. Fromm, Merrick, Ziwipeak, Orijen, Castor and Pollux, and Arcana are the ones with no china ingredients of any kind. Before you choose a food please call the company whatever food you choose, a lot of them like blue buffalo are very good foods, but they outsource there production to third parties and often don’t have control over mineral and vitamin origin.

  • Sugar

    The FDA does something vs. nothing, but a lot of people in the FDA have ties to the industry. A lot of them are bias or corrupt, sorry but it is true. Then they are overwhelmed as the market is so big and it all lacks oversight. The FDA has said some interesting things and have done good things, they at least do some testing, but much more needs to be done in terms of regulation.

  • Sugar

    It is because they have chemicals in China in the US they don’t know about and are unable to detect them. Also it is unclear how the chemicals interact together. I must applaud our local Walmart by not selling anymore any China Jerkey. Most of them they have here are human grade and all are sourced from the USA.

  • BlueWolf

    We do raise chickens here and now the Dept. of Agriculture is allowing American chickens to be exported to China, then imported back to us, as who only knows what! Also many of our vitamins are from China. Look into it.

  • BlueWolf

    So true about the FDA, just want to line their pockets. They don’t care about us, much less our pets.

  • BlueWolf

    Quality Control? That’s a laugh, isn’t it! They have tested all the food and have found several chemicals and illegal additives, but still can’t figure out what the Chinese have put in it that is killing our babies.

  • Sugar

    You are right about this! The FDA has stated that there are more chemicals out there esp. in China, than they can detect. No wonder they can’t find the cause as to why China jerkies kill dogs…stuff that gets imported goes through some testing, but they test only a few samples, not the entire shipment of course, and things are getting missed.
    Now they allow to have chicken shipped to China for processing and shipped back, what happened? Someone in the Gov. being paid off? How many people are going to lose their jobs here I wonder, and since when do we want more China products?

  • BlueWolf

    They’ve tested the foods and find small amounts of “bad stuff” in them. Still can’t find out exactly what it is that’s killing all the pets. You can be sure its not good! They also use tons of fertilizers, some not approved or have been outlawed in the U.S.

  • BlueWolf

    Where do they get the vitamins they add to the pet products. A large percentage of C, E, A and others are manufactured in China. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg..

  • BlueWolf

    Best idea yet. FRESH chicken before it has had a chance to be sent to China to be processed, then returned to the US. I’m sure it won’t tell us its been adulterated with chemicals and carcinogens in China, either. If they’ll do that to us, do you really think they care about our pets?

  • BlueWolf

    They actually inspect a minute amount of the imports. Plus, theu have all kinds of low-level chemicals and carcinogenics in many of the items they sell us. Next, American chicken to be shipped overseas courtesy of our Agriculture Department, then shipped back here–for HUMANS. Can only imagine what’s in the pet food. I’m really losing my desire for meat/poultry/fish.

  • Pattyvaughn

    Too true, but I’m all for the rules for posting here also. And they state that name calling is a no-no.

  • Dr J

    Patty, I have no interesting in flagging a comment, because the writer of such comments disqualifies themselves from being taken serious. I am all for free speech, because speech will show the character of the speaker…. :)

  • Pattyvaughn

    To flag a comment, hover over the upper right corner until a flag appears, then click on it, then click on yes.

  • Dr J

    Glad to see there is a civilized discussion going on, not. If anybody seriously thinks that I will be taking their post serious while they are using ad-hominy attacks they they are mistaken. No wonder our political system is broken, when we the people are unable to discuss something like dog food sourcing in a civilized manner. It is finally up to anybody to choose the dog food they want, unfortunately the dog has no say, but it is certainly counterproductive to use name calling, because somebody does not agree with ones own point of view.

  • Commonsense202

    So glad you are not a citizen, China man.

  • http://www.dfwpugs.com/ sandy

    Nature’s Logic is a good option too.

    http://natureslogic.com/ingredients/

  • c.durham

    products..

  • c. durham

    Went to the Pet’s Barn site, looks promising. Thanks for sharing Robert P.S.Just moved from Atl missing it. P.S.S. Interesting documentary about our trade with China and the produces we import titled ‘DEATH BY CHINA’ recommend.

  • Robert

    I was able to find a dog food company that used all USA ingredients. How do I know? Because I was able to speak to the owner of the dog food plant and he showed me his ingredient list and origin sheet.

    My dogs have done so well on it. It is called Activa by a company called Pet’s Barn. I discovered it when I was stationed at Ft. Bliss a few years back. I am just glad that I can still order it online now that I am back in Atlanta.

  • ron

    dog food yes supplements no! look what happened to diamond.

  • http://www.facebook.com/spotboyko Judy Boyko

    Your going to trust the goverment! How naive. The government doesnt care about pets and its starting to not care about people except how much money they can get out of everyones pockets. Pets are not on this governments priority list Im talking about the good ol USA! Its not the country it use to be people!

  • Jeff

    You’re a Clown who shoots off your Mouth,because you can be anyone or anything on the internet! Your a loud mouth that Works at a Pet Store so you think it makes you an expert on Dog treats! Go back to your PlayStation and STFU!

  • RatatoskMalice

    Yeah I wish I was a branch manager and marketing director of one of those chain stores. Sorry to burst your bubble princess but I don’t work there

  • Jeff

    Sorry! But you Work at Petsmart or Petco!

  • leasejr

    Oh Please, I worked at one of the largest Fortune 500 companies in the world in manufacture of consumer goods and dog food. It ain’t so….I worked in QA

  • Dr J

    Vance Decker,
    You may want to tune down you abrasive way of talking to the lot of us. You seem to blame people who care about their dogs to be responsible for the crap that China imports into this country. Now let me enlighten you. All of us here are not supporting any Chinese importers, if anything we are very much against the idea. I have 4 big dogs and I have had 2 of them for nearly 13 years and I have avoided any food that has not been sourced from the Americas. I do not feed them any supplements, nor do I take any supplements, because I believe that a basic healthy diet contains everything we or our dogs need. if you believe that your dog needs supplements you are not feeding your dog the right diet and probably you are not feeding yourself the right diet, either. The issue here is that China has cornered the market of supplements and I do not trust them as far as I could throw a 1000 pound block of shite…go on fed your poodle the supplements. I feed my dogs meat and high quality chow…verified Canadien, because they seem to care more about their pets than humans ;)

  • leasejr

    Corporate product supply does it this way, sample, ship immediately to trade and then get test results….oh my! salamanella! RECALL…..

  • Vance Decker

    Fine, but I’m responding to his dumb advice in this article.

    Government has done NOTHING to help regulate this industry and yet his solution is to look for government regulated dog food. How stupid do you think people are?

  • Storm’s Mom

    I hardly think Dr Mike’s wants to “make consumers think that resistance is futile and there is nothing they can do”!!! This blog would not EXIST if that were true!!! I would suggest you visit more pages of this blog..like this one, for starters: http://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-industry-exposed/pennys-tragic-story/

  • Vance Decker

    This blog is probably written in China. It’s designed to make consumers think that resistance is futile and there is nothing they can do.

    Well, one thing you can do, is actually find out where and how your dog food is manufactured, local farmers markets are one good way to meet the actual producer.

    Instead this dumb blog says that the best way is to only buy government regulated dog food????? The government is corrupt and incompetent.

  • Pattyvaughn

    There are also a few in the US, but it is rare. But this article doesn’t say that there aren’t any. It says

    “Of course. It’s likely some pet foods actually are.”

    It’s just rare and there is no legal guarartee it won’t change from batch to batch.

  • Keithroc

    Well this is not exactly true. There are certain brands of dog food from New Zealand that are 100% New Zealand products used. Also a few from Australia.

  • RatatoskMalice

    yeah, imported from Argentina as I stated, FYI Argentina is not in China, sorry to correct your amazing geography skills. No contradiction buddy, you just lack reading skills or basic knowledge of geography

  • US_petlover

    So funny. You wouldn’t fee your dog a food that was imported from China BUT you claim the imported is tested…for weeks! It’s a contradiction…

  • neezerfan

    I didn’t really think so.

  • Dr J

    Just to beat a dead horse. From the FDA web-page

    They have a bout 2000 staff available dealing with a 2 trillion dollar import scenario……

    Q: FDA inspects or samples less than 1 percent of all regulated
    products seeking entry into the United States. Why doesn’t the agency do
    more?

    A: The tremendous volume of imports—about $2 trillion worth
    of products each year from more than 230 countries—makes it impossible to physically examine every product entering the country. Instead, we use a targeted, risk-based approach.

  • RatatoskMalice

    or Maybe Pet owners should be more astute and responsible about what they feed their furbabies. I for one would never feed my dog anything that had preservatives or chemicals or was a chinese import.

  • RatatoskMalice

    How am I spreading misinformation? So I am guessing your work for the FDA or import pet products? Yes they test every food or treat related import that comes into the US, not each individual piece of dog food or each individual bully stick, but they test a small percentage of each shipment. a simple google search could show you that.

  • CranberryCoco

    Well no testing means companies don’t have any quality control. Companies could start doing what Evangers did with their canned food.

  • RatatoskMalice

    I never stated that they test every single individual product out of each shipment, but that they do test each import that comes into the USA.

  • Dr J

    Dream on, they test a small sample of the shipment before they clear it and that not even for every shipment. How large do you think the FDA labs are? Just think of the trillions of dollars in food imports every year. Actually to make your own USA certified dog food and dog treats is a doodle. Buy the meat or veggies from your local farm/butcher desicate it or bake it and Bob is your uncle.

  • Dr J

    I think this discussion is redundent based on the fact that we are dealing with a country that has CEO’s that do not care about the products for their own people/babies. Why should they give two hoots about our dogs. Plus has anybody ever looked at Asian fish farms. They are cesspools of dead and rotten fish, but hell people want to pay 2 bucks a pound for tapalia’s then you do not need to be surprised.

  • AlMax

    Just knowing China executed two guys for mixing melamine into baby formula for humans, is all the information I need to make me keep chinese products off my dog’s snack shelf.

  • catmom

    only 2% of pet food frim China is tested. If you are relying on the FDA to protect your pets OR yourself for that matter you are foolish.

  • Shawna

    I wouldn’t give the US too many props as it is US made ingredients that have been shown to be contaminated with the euthanasia drug pentobarbital… When it comes right down to the nitty gritty of it, you and I are the ones looking out for your and my dogs and families…

  • Nancy Post

    That’s not true. There is no law that states this.

  • Nancy Post

    There you go spreading misinformation again. There simply is NO WAY the FDA can test EVERY ITEM that comes into this country. It takes a small sampling (2%) and tests.

  • Nancy Post

    The quality of the products coming from China is way lower than the U.S quality. This is what is killing our pets. You must be a big importer of Chinese crap.

  • Shawna

    I do agree with you that something is better than nothing but it’s still VERY limited as to what they have the man power to accomplish. I found this on the FDA’s site.

    “Q: FDA inspects or samples less than 1 percent of all regulated
    products seeking entry into the United States. Why doesn’t the agency do
    more?

    A: The tremendous volume of imports—about $2 trillion worth
    of products each year from more than 230 countries—makes it impossible to physically examine every product entering the country. Instead, we use a targeted, risk-based approach.” http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm048631.htm

    Additionally, the FDA has a history of being on the side of corporate business when push comes to shove — as evidenced by many of their decisions.

  • Nancy Post

    Stop spreading misinformation.

  • Nancy Post

    No, it doesn’t.

  • Nancy Post

    No, the FDA certainly does not test all pet food being imprted. Only about 2%. The most recent scare is the jerky treats that came from China that has killed 600 U.S. pets and sickened thousands.

  • RatatoskMalice

    I wonder how many pets and possibly humans would have perished if FDA did no testing at all.

  • RatatoskMalice

    Unless they are being illegally imported all consumables have to go through fda testing. Does that mean they personally unwrap every single hard candy and test it? I doubt it. I’m sure they randomly test a little of each batch

  • RatatoskMalice

    Yeah, you could say I just work in a pet store if your want to be a condasending arrogant prick about it. In reality I am the branch manager/marketing director of two different pet related companies. Also was waiting for two weeks on some bully sticks to pass through from the fda back when I originally posted and we are still waiting on them. Been more than a couple weeks now.

  • whyIoughta

    BAM!

  • whyIoughta

    Well then, that proves we need one less gov’t agency that is expensive and ineffective.

  • tessaprn

    Well then maybe dog owners need to start suing the FDA for not doing an effective job.

  • tessaprn

    Well maybe the FDA needs to reorganize because they sure aren’t stopping dogs from dying from the supply of materials coming out of China,

  • Jeff

    So you work in a Pet store!

  • Chicken Lady

    I don’t know where you live, but I know for fact that Tyson grows chickens here in USA. I’ve seen the truck loads of live chickens heading to the plant in Kelso Washington. I’ve also looked into growing for them. So, I can’t say for fact that all their chicken is grown in USA, but I know that quite a bit is grown here.

  • Bob K

    RatatoskMalice – I am still skeptical on your claim that “all pet food”, perhaps it is because of the packing or its is considered raw or open meats or the country of origin. I know of many human foods that are canned, packaged that undergo no testing. Lots of imported cookies, candies, olive oils, cakes, come in from Europe with no testing.

  • RatatoskMalice

    Not to mention that was some of the most uneducated, ignorant writing I have read all day. But since when you ask “where is that going to get you China?” I would have to assume you forget that we are over one trillion dollars in debt to them so apparently it’s getting them somewhere

  • RatatoskMalice

    When treats or dog food are imported we don’t even get to see them until FDA is done with their tests.

  • neezerfan

    So each item has to be tested by the FDA for several weeks before it is sold?

  • RatatoskMalice

    I do various work for a large pet product distributor/manufacturer and its sister company which is a smaller online pet product store

  • InkedMarie

    Hi Ratatosk,
    What company do you work in?

  • RatatoskMalice

    I know this because I work In the pet product industry. Most of our products are made 100% in the USA. Though we have some more affordable bully sticks that we source from Argentina. When they get imported to the US it takes weeks for us to get them because of the FDA lab tests. That is where I get my information from

  • Bob K

    Blue Bird – Over 3000 US citizens die yearly from tainted food. The US food system is far from the best in the world for safety. Just think about all those people who become sick and never seek medical attention or just go to the local clinic in an emergency.