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recent study shows that cat food might contain ingredients not listed
on the label and may be missing ingredients the label says are there.
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
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!