Some new “rawhide alternatives” being marketed appear to me to simply be rawhide renamed
The chew traditionally called rawhide is a by -product of the leather industry. Hides are sourced at slaughter and sent to a tannery where they are dehaired and fleshed ( the fat layer under the skin is removed). What remains is the dermis. Another word for dermis is corium. The tanner splits the corium into upper and lower layers, The upper is used to make leather, the lower is used as a source of collagen for sausage casings, drug capsules, supplements, gelatin etc , to make rawhide chews, and now apparently some “rawhide alternative”. chews.
AAFCO doesn’t define the word “rawhide”, Merriam Webster defines it, in this context, as “untanned cattle skin”
I find the reasons given from the manufacturers of chews made of full thickness cattle skin or corium, as to why their product is not rawhide, interesting.
Company A appears to report that their untanned cattle skin product is not rawhide because it is sourced from the head of the cow and they seem to define hide as skin as coming from the trunk of the cow. Additionally, they seem to say that since their product is full thickness skin, and rawhide is the lower split.of the corium, their product is not rawhide. Finally, it looks like they are saying their product doesn’t use chemicals in processing. Not sure what is meant by this, since technically, water is a chemical
Company B seems to say their collagen chew isn’t rawhide because rawhide consists of all layers of the skin and their product is only the lower split of corium. Note that their definition of what is rawhide looks to be the opposite definition than that of company A
Company C’s collagen chew appears to me to be identical to company B in size , shape, color, and country of origin making me wonder if they are the same chew being imported by two different companies. When asked if their product was corium, customer service said the answer to my question would be emailed to me. The email stated that all information was proprietary. Under magnification their product appears to me to be a tangle of fibers which is how corium and traditionally labeled rawhide also appears to me.
Company D said the raw material they use in their “rawhide alternative” chews is corium which is also used for human food production, and that no hide is used in their products. I don’t know how they are defining “hide” but it seems they may be defining hide as the top split of the corium and then claiming that the bottom split is hide free. A tannery resides at the same address as this chew maker, who also appears to market beef hide chews under a different brand name , which look to me to be the same in appearance to their “hide free” chews .
Company E , unlike A-D, doesn’t seem to claim their collagen chew is a “rawhide alternative” or say it is not hide. It is labeled “collagen from beefhide”. This company also makes several brands of chews labeled as beefhide.
It seems to me, that what the above products have in common, is that they are all appear to be made from either full thickness or partial thickness untanned cattle skin
In my opinion it is very unethical when companies claim that that chews that they apparently making of full or partial thickness untanned cattle skin are rawhide alternatives. From discussions with distributors and shop owners , I’d consider some to be disingenuous . Even after passing along to them the information from the manufacturers that certain chews are made of the corium , the same material that traditional rawhides are formed from or full thickness cattle skin, I continue to see them market the product as a hide free rawhide alternative.
I wonder what will happen to companies that label their corium dog chews as rawhide, which is how chews made from corium have traditionally always been labeled. I see some shop owners say they will not sell chews labeled as rawhide, stating that rawhide is dangerous, yet they sell these “alternatives” and other stores stop selling rawhide because sales of the chews labeled as alternative outsell those labeled as rawhide, which I think is in part due to the “bad press” on rawhide.
Interesting to me, is that recently a class action was filed against a company alleging that the chews they market as an alternative to rawhide are actually hide ,and a paper was published in which two of the seven dog chews that were examined, labeled as”rawhide free” appeared to be mislabeled.
Unfortunately, it seems that I can not rely on product labeling to accurately describe what a product is, nor can I count on regulatory bodies to remove mislabeled products from the market.
Would love to hear others thoughts on the issue.crazy4catsMember
This is very concerning to me. Companies seem to be purposefully manipulating ingredient labels that could possibly hurt our pets all in the name of greed! They are making so much money on these fake no hide chews. They are extremely expensive and people are paying for them!
I really hope the class action lawsuit can make a dent in this issue!
Also makes me suspect of anything I buy!
Thank you for the heads up, Aimee!pugmomsandyModerator
Here is the current class action lawsuit against Earth Animals regarding their so called “No Hide Chews”.
My understanding, at least in the state I reside in, is that chews do not have to comply with AAFCO labeling unless they also make a claim that could be considered a nutritional claim. This could be something like “easily digestible” or “source of protein”. I think it is up to the feed control official to decide if the product is making a nutritional claim. This could be why, in my opinion, there is no AAFCO definition for the term”rawhide”. I think, that without a definition, this opens the door for manufacturers to market their hide based products as “rawhide free” when making a nutritional claim
This isn’t to say though that a chew, such as rawhide, because it doesn’t have to meet AAFCO labeling is not regulated. Rawhide is considered “food” by the FDA and so it has to comply with the FD&C act of 1938 and can come under regulation if adulterated.
It seems to me that many are confused on this point, resulting in people reporting/saying that rawhide is not regulated and since it is not regulated ,it may be a source of significant levels of toxins. In actuality the risk is likely no different than other sources of pet food.. This misunderstanding, in my opinion, is then exploited and used to market “rawhide alternatives” , which in some cases appear to be made of the same tissue as rawhide, yet are being sold at a much higher price point . I think consumers are willing to pay this higher price because they think this product is “safe” and chews labeled as rawhide are not safe.
I posted back a few days ago but it never showed up here , so at some point this may be a duplicate post. Interestingly when I tried to search for more info on the class action suit I found a different suit filed by Sage Fulfillment LLC involving Earth Animal Ventures
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