Pet Food Fraud Again

Two years ago a study found eight of 21 pet foods contained an animal protein ingredient that wasn’t listed in the pet food label.  Now, another study has been released finding 20 of 52 pet foods contained an animal protein not listed on the label.  When will authorities hold manufacturers accountable?

In September 2012 ELISA Technologies found almost 50% of pet foods tested were mislabeled.

“We found eight foods that tested positive for an animal protein not listed on the ingredient label: two instances of undeclared beef/sheep, five of pork and one of deer.  Conversely, in two instances, foods claiming to contain venison tested negative for deer content but positive for beef, sheep or pork.  Overall, there were 12 instances of mislabeling in 10 of the dog foods tested; two foods had more than one labeling issue.”

In September 2014, Chapman University in southern California released the results of their study finding “Of the 52 products tested, 31 were labeled correctly, 20 were potentially mislabeled, and one contained a non-specific meat ingredient that could not be verified.”

Concern: one pet food “contained a non-specific meat ingredient that could not be verified”.  The study did DNA testing for beef, goat, lamb, chicken, goose, turkey, pork, and horse.  So what was the ‘could not be verified meat’ ingredient?

Quotes from the Chapman University Research…

“Although regulations exist for pet foods, increases in international trade and globalization of the food supply have amplified the potential for food fraud to occur,” said Rosalee Hellberg, Ph.D., and co-author on the study.”

Chicken was the most common meat species found in the pet food products.  Pork was the second most common meat species detected, and beef, turkey and lamb followed, respectively.  Goose was the least common meat species detected.  None of the products tested positive for horsemeat.

Of the 20 potentially mislabeled products, 13 were dog food and 7 were cat food.  Of these 20, 16 contained meat species that were not included on the product label, with pork being the most common undeclared meat species.  In three of the cases of potential mislabeling, one or two meat species were substituted for other meat species.

In the study, DNA was extracted from each product and tested for the presence of eight meat species: beef, goat, lamb, chicken, goose, turkey, pork, and horse.

While a seemingly high percentage of pet foods were found to be potentially mislabeled in this study, the manner in which mislabeling occurred is not clear; nor is it clear as to whether the mislabeling was accidental or intentional and at which points in the production chain it took place.

For consumers, it doesn’t matter whether the mislabeling occurred as accidental or intentional. What does matter is the consumer is being lied to.

Of significant concern is: “pork being the most common undeclared meat species” found in the pet foods tested.  In the last two years, the U.S. has suffered an incredible blow to its pork industry.  Millions of baby pigs have died due to PED virus (Porcine epidemic diarrhea).  As we know, other diseased, dying, disabled, and dead animal bodies are processed into pet food… is pet food where the PED virus dead baby pigs went to?  Were these sick animals the source of undeclared pork in these pet foods?  Consumers deserve answers.

The following email was sent to FDA…

Chapman University just released a report on research performed at the University that found 20 of 52 pet foods tested to be mislabeled.  This is 38% – a significant portion – of foods tested were found to contain a animal protein source not listed on the label.  Of additional concern, due to the PED virus, “pork was the most common undeclared meat species.”
Link to Chapman University report:

What assurance can FDA provide consumers their pets are safe from eating mislabeled foods?  What action will FDA take to protect pet food consumers from pet food fraud?  Can FDA provide consumers with assurance pets are not at risk to a PED type virus that could spread to cats and dogs?

We hope FDA will take swift action to stop pet food fraud.

On behalf of pet food consumers –

Susan Thixton

I suspect a response will be slow from FDA on this one as the research did not provide pet food product names and the seriousness of the subject.  In the meantime, there is really nothing we can do.  Without regulatory action – testing and enforcement of mislabeling regulations – consumers and our pets are at the mercy of the pet foods we trust.  Whenever anything new is learned on this – it will be shared.

Sincere thank you to Chapman University for their research!

Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
Is your dog or cat eating risk ingredients?  Chinese imports?  Petsumer Report tells the ‘rest of the story’ on over 2500 cat foods, dog foods,  and pet treats.  30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.




  2014 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods.  Click Here


Have you read Buyer Beware?  Click Here

Cooking for pets made easy, Dinner PAWsible

Find Healthy Pet Foods in Your Area Click Here


Leave a comment

Filed under diet, education

Please Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s