I recently came across the following paper
Histologic Examination of Canned Beef Dog Food : What Does it Really contain ?
From the abstract “The percentage of meat content ranged from 0.2 to 13.6% (median 1.3%). There was no correlation between meat content and the calculated cost per ounce of food (range $0.04–$0.47; median $0.15).”
Twelve brands were tested and in five of them “beef” was the first ingredient, in one brand “beef” was the second ingredient coming after “beef broth”and in the other brands “beef” was the 5-7th ingredient.
I would have liked to have known how the products were labeled. “Beef”, “dinner” or “recipe” , “with” or “flavor”
But even so I was surprised to see that products whose first ingredient was beef could have such a low estimated muscle content. Estimated muscle content among brands whose first ingredient was “beef” ranged from 1.2% -13.6 % And the estimated muscle content of the brand whose first ingredient was beef broth and the second was beef was only 0.5%
I think this study reaffirms that for me that trying to decipher what is in the can based on labeled ingredients is an exercise that can be pointless.crazy4catsParticipant
Interesting article, Aimee. I wish there was an easy way to decipher what is in the can!Mutts and CatsParticipant
I know this Topic is quite old, but I sure find it interesting and wish it would come back to life for more discussion. Aimee and crazy4cats – any newly discovered atrocities to add? Anyone else?
Hi M & C,
There are several papers published that use DNA testing to confirm or refute labeled ingredients. If soy DNA is found in a soy free food, it could be because of contamination and not willful substitution. However, when labeled ingredients are not detected by DNA that is valid concern since this technology can pick up trace amounts.
My understanding is that quantitative DNA analysis is available but more costly. Recently a paper was published that used this method and found in some cases significant amounts of chicken in chicken free foods and in other cases did not find any chicken in foods labeled to contain chicken.
This same publisher was the one to publish the paper on the microscopic examination of dog chews. Similar to this one the authors compared what they saw under the microcop to what was reported on the label.Mutts and CatsParticipant
Hi Aimee. I find this so disturbing and it makes me furious. Plus it is frightening that one has to be so careful which companies they trust.
Are you aware of any recent articles that provide the brand names tested?
That tandfonline link you provided only allows me to see the abstract of course, and the price for purchasing access to the full article was quite shocking. I think it was $58 for just the one article ???!!! Or maybe that was a membership.
Do you know of any memberships out there offering access to in depth food reviews (reasonable in cost) that would be a good resource for an inquiring pet owner like me?
When I bought the 2023 Susan Thixton List I noticed that she offers a membership called Petsumer Report that sounds interesting, and I think it was only around $20 a year. But I’m not exactly sure what kind of information that will provide. I guess if I could learn which companies to stay away from, that would be worth it.
Hi M & C,
In my experience authors usually do not provide the names of the products they have tested. Sometimes a list of ingredients is provided and by searching on those ingredients you can make an educated guess as to what product was tested. This may be because the purpose is not to call out any one product, whose ownership and formulations can change quickly, but to provide overall assessment of what is available.
Also consider how litigious this industry has become. Veterinaries are being threatened for advising their clients or for making associations that implicate products. Recall Earth Animal threated to sue one of the authors of the dog chew paper, and as I recall a veterinarian down under was threatened with a lawsuit after making an association between a company’s products and a neurologic condition in cats. The veterinary nutritionist I consulted with shared that they had been threatened with lawsuits several times for dispensing nutritional advice. For all these reasons, authors and publishers may shy away from providing names.
I did read a paper on veterinary probiotics which listed brands. As I recall ~ 25 brands were tested and the only ones that were correctly labeled were the ones made by Iams and Purina.
I also recall an article testing thiamin levels in canned cat foods and a significant number were below AAFCO and I believe all were manufactured by small companies.
Yeah $58 for one article. I have the full text on that article and the dog chew one too. Sometimes you can get them through a library. Sometimes I’ve found them available for free at websites other than the publisher by searching on google scholar and some through the vet if published by JAVMA. Other times I buck up and buy them.
I do not know of any membership that has access to in depth unbiased information.
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