The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently unveiled a new online video aimed at educating consumers about the food they buy for their pets. But the government effort prompted a harsh response from a pet food industry critic, who posted her own video challenging many of the FDA’s statements.
The FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), based in Rockville, Md., produced “FDA and Pet Food,” a nearly six-minute-long video that outlines what information is required by law to be on pet food packaging. For instance, all ingredients must be listed on the label, and the “common or usual” name for each ingredient must be used.
“The rules for listing and naming ingredients allow purchasers to know what was used to make the product and to compare ingredients in one brand of food to another,” the video’s narrator, CVM veterinarian Bill Burkholder, tells viewers.
In addition, a product can’t be called a “complete diet” unless it supplies all of the nutrients an animal needs, Burkholder says.
But in a five-minute “Response to FDA Pet Food Video,” Susan Thixton of TruthaboutPetFood.com calls the CVM video “full of misleading statements.” For example, Thixton says the FDA allows pet food manufacturers to violate federal law so their products can contain human food tainted by rodent, roach or bird feces.
Thixton also says many ingredients are “hidden behind safer-sounding names,” such as byproduct meal, meat and bone meal, animal fat and animal digest, when the actual ingredients are things like cow intestines, diseased poultry, roadkill and used restaurant grease.
“A consumer must become their own private detective to learn the truth about what they’re feeding their pet,” she says.
The CVM declined to comment on Thixton’s video, but Kurt Gallagher, spokesman for the Pet Food Institute, an industry group in Washington, D.C., called her comments “rife with inaccuracies and misrepresentations.” He told nextooze.com March 22 that federal law requires pet food to be “wholesome,” “free of harmful or deleterious substances” and “truthfully labeled.”
“Pet food is the most highly regulated food product, with the exception of infant formula,” Gallagher said.
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