|© Olga Sapegina | Dreamstime.com|
In the December issue of Petfood Industry magazine, veterinarian David A. Dzanis, a consultant on nutrition and pet food labeling and regulation, reports on a study done by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay (a form of DNA testing). The study found "a notable percentage of pet foods contained materials from species of animals not identified in their respective ingredient declarations."
The findings, Dzanis says, are similar to those found in European study done in 2013 that used both PCR and microscopic methods of analysis. That study focused on products intended for use in elimination trials for diagnosing food allergies.
The most recent study looked at 52 products. Undeclared species, usually pork, showed up in 16. But that's not surprising, Dzanis says, considering the opportunity for cross-contact in food production facilities.
What's more concerning was that in seven of the foods tested, a listed ingredient was missing. So there may have been no beef DNA in a product that, according to the label, contains beef.
"I understand that many ingredients may look similar upon visual inspection, so mistakes can happen, but whether deliberate or not, or whether it occurs at the manufacturer or supplier level, there's really no good excuse," Dzanis writes.
He urges pet food manufacturers "to practice due diligence in ensuring that what is declared on the label is in the product, and what is not declared is not in the product. Irrespective of any true safety concern or degree of enforcement priority," he says, "it's reasonable for people to expect to get what they pay for."
I don't know about you, but I'm rethinking making my cats' food. At least I'd know what's in it!