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There is always risk associated with eating. It becomes confusing because marketing exploits risks to secure sales. All companies do it: ingredient A has problem X so buy food which uses ingredient B, left out is that ingredient B also contains X Applying to aflatoxin, it can be present in grains, aflatoxin producing molds can also affect ingredients commonly used in grain free diets, they are ubiquitous. Aflatoxins are in milk, eggs, meat, you name it they are there. The commodity most commonly affected is corn; peanuts are also commonly affected. I personally do not avoid corn or peanuts in my diet, nor do I avoid them in my dog’s diet. It comes down to company sourcing and quality control. Corn from company A no concern, Corn from company B, nope not buying it.
It could be that both company A and B tell me they are using food grades 1 and 2 corn, test all incoming batches and test post- production so why do I feel comfortable with company A and not B? I make a decision based on how they respond to my questions, statements they make on their websites, how they responded to recalls, FDA inspection reports, if I feel they show a vested interest in animal health through funding research and employment of veterinary nutritionist… etc. No company is perfect, they all have warts but if I see a pattern of misinformation they are off my list. Years ago, I found information about a company which I found alarming, so I eliminated them. More recently, as I recall it, the company described their meats using word like “kosher” and “human grade”, yet they were found to be apparently sourcing from a dead stock removal service.
To address “human grade” I’d say both Tuft’s and Thixton are correct. It isn’t that those things Thixton talks about can’t happen or never happen, but in terms of tonnage, there are just not very many diseased, died otherwise than by slaughter animals around to support the amount of product needed by the pet food industry. Large companies have leverage and contracts with slaughterhouse with integrated rendering and can specify their own terms such as no 4D meat. Smaller companies may not enjoy the same. But by far the vast majority of products available to the pet industry are from animals slaughtered for human consumption. Things like milk lines in livers that get them banned from human consumption are not dangerous just unsightly. The real concern is how are the products handled after harvest and this goes back to quality control and company standards. For me that is based on my own assessment of a company not a label claim which may or may not be true.
Do all Purina foods meet WSAVA. IMO Purina branded products do. Companies that Nestle-Purina owns, I honestly don’t know. They may be operating independently. Mars recently acquired or is the process of acquiring Champion. Does that mean that once the ink on the paper is dry Champion now meets WSAVA. Not in my book. Whether you continue with a legume and pea diet or not is your decision. I find the data linking diets high in peas and legumes to DCM compelling enough that I won’t feed them in any significant quantity. The added taurine is marketing, it doesn’t offset current DCM risk and I find it oft putting. If my dog needed a therapeutic diet that contained those ingredients, I’d screen for DCM every 6 months, especially after this most recent study was published. (To my untrained eye 2 of the 23 look to be in trouble in regard to contractability). But since the problem hasn’t been limited to pea and legume diets, until more is known, I’m sticking with diet types that have been shown to reverse the problem, Currently, the bulk of my dog’s diet is PPP. I have no problem with corn in the diet. If you considering switching and aflatoxin concerns you, consider using a formula without corn. Lots to choose from.