Pet Food Name Games

Although pet food manufacturers are prohibited by regulation to make reference to grade or quality of ingredients, some pet food manufacturers are doing just that using the name of the pet food to imply quality.  Are these pet food names legal?  Are they true?  

There are two very clear cut types of pet food ingredients.  One type of ingredient is similar to the very same ingredients you would purchase for any member of your family at the grocery.  The other type of ingredient is similar to what you carry out in the trash each week (and much worse).  In the pet food industry, these ingredients are known as 'human grade' or 'pet grade'.  

Trouble is, AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) do not allow quality minded pet food manufacturers the opportunity to separate themselves from the profit minded pet food manufacturers (using pet grade ingredients and waste ingredients).  Pet Food regulations specifically state no reference to grade or quality of ingredient is allowed on a pet food label.

Ahhh, but is it?  Below are some actual names of pet foods.  Do you think the names of these pet foods imply ingredients are human grade?  (bold added)

Rotisserie Chicken Flavor 
Naturally Wild Country Grown 
Turkey and Multigrain 
Mixed Grill with Chicken and Beef in Gravy (are the foods grilled?)
Chicken Medley 
 Turkey Tuscany in a Savory Sauce with Long Grain Rice and GardenGreens 
Choice Cuts 
Chicken Dinner in Gravy 

Rotisserie clearly implies human food.  Grill?  Simmered?  Country Grown?  All of these slick marketing terms are meant to influence a pet owners purchase; meant to imply human food.  

And by the way, none of these pet food HAVE TO include actual 'rotisserie chicken' or 'country grown turkey' or any other of the implied human quality references.  The chicken can never come close to a rotisserie and the turkey can be factory farmed and never see light of day in its lifetime.  Actually, the chicken or turkey included in the pet food could be diseased and rejected for use in human food but allowed for use in pet food including these fluffy human food referenced pet food names.

For starters, please pay no attention to any pet food commercial or any words on a pet food label other than the Ingredient List and the Guaranteed Analysis.  Don't be pulled into the marketing game.

Next, maybe we need to become the squeaky wheel.   On every pet food shopping trip, take a picture with your cell phone of a pet food that clearly implies a reference to grade or quality with the name or somewhere on the packaging.  Then report that pet food to your State Department of Agriculture pet food representative (these are the individuals that make up AAFCO - those that develop the regulations governing pet food).  Maybe with thousands of complaints, day in and day out, AAFCO will get the point that pet owners are sick of their games allowing some pet food to cheat the rules and cheat Pet Owners.

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