The Problem With Chinese Ingredients
Today, its nearly impossible to find a U.S. manufacturer for some essential vitamin and mineral supplements. So, even if a pet food company insists on using 100% domestic ingredients, that noble goal can be elusive.
Now, dont get me wrong. Im not saying Chinese ingredients are automatically inferior to our own.
But lets face it, in spite of continued promises for reform by the Chinese government, the countrys ongoing saga of food safety scandals persists unabated.
Yet most consumers still believe theres a law protecting them from pet foods containing foreign-made ingredients?
Does It Mean Made In America Is A Safe Way To Go
No. Wrong again.
Country of origin labeling laws in the United States state that pet food products that are put together in the United States can be labeled as Made in the USA.
What does that mean for you? It means that your favorite pet food that is Made in the USA might still contain contaminated ingredients imported from China.
Has Royal Canin Ever Been Recalled
To date, Royal Canin has been recalled three times. The last recall was issued in 2007 during the series of melamine related pet food recalls.
Royal Canin is one of the most popular brands of pet food commercial sold in the United States. The brand is owned by Mars, Incorporated. This company also owns other popular brands of pet food such as Pedigree, Nutro, and Greenies.
Royal Canin offers a complete line of dog food and cat food products. The brand also features a complete line of veterinary prescription diets designed to treat a wide range of medical issues in dogs and cats.
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An Overview On Dry Dog Food
Dogs are like members of our families, so of course, we want to keep them as healthy and happy as possible. The foundation for that is proper nutrition. A consistent, high-quality diet is the key to keeping your dog looking and feeling great. Feeding your dog the best dog food will keep them functioning at their best and can ward off chronic diseases, leading to a longer life. Dry dog food is very common and convenient, as it does not require refrigeration.
Theres a ton of different types of dry dog food out there, so the choices can be overwhelming. You should look for dog food that is labeled as complete and balanced, which means the food contains the minimum amount of all the nutrients necessary for dogs. This standard is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Keep in mind that buzzwords like premium and immune supporting are not regulated and should not carry much weight in your choice.
Just as with human food, you want to make sure your dog is eating a diet with real, whole foods and one that is free from artificial preservatives and additives. Make sure your dogs food contains a high-quality animal protein source, like lamb, chicken or turkey. Leading brands, such as Orijen Tundra, contain multiple protein sources, including chicken, turkey, flounder and egg.
Pets Come First: David Cai
The reason why David Cai chose to work at Royal Canin, a division of Mars Petcare and pioneer of nutritional health for cats and dogs, was straightforward. It was because of his mothers dog Foodo, whom she loved dearly. Seeing how happy the pet made his mother, David figured it must be a genuine industry as well as the next logical step in his career.
I also believed in the Mars brand and its ability to provide me with continual growth, says the General Manager of Royal Canin China. During Davids seven years working at the company, he has not only grown the business but has also grown as an individual.
Born, raised and educated in Shanghai, David has worked across several industries for companies such as East Asia Co, Arc International, Heineken and Mars. The pet industry, on the other hand, is different. Its an industry of heart, he says.
I was and continue to be inspired by what Royal Canin said to me when I joined the company: We put cats and dogs first. Its simple, but its a powerful statement.
He recalls the company explaining to him that the reason it puts cats and dogs first is that Royal Canin doesnt only please pet owners it also believes pets have their own particular needs.
And as a pet owner himself, David was inspired. The mission statement is that we want to make a better world for pets, which is very much in line with my own goals, he explains.
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Whos Watching The Hen House
The million dollar question is, if pet food manufacturers cant prove the origin of their premixes, why dont they test every batch of food?
The answer might shock you: it is so cost prohibitive that its actually cheaper for them to pay the lawsuits from our dead pets than it is to test their product.
In January 2011, the FDA finally stepped in with their Food Safety Modernization Act. Some provisions took effect immediately but to date have had a minimal impact on most pet food manufacturers.
FSMA provisions already in effect include emergency FDA access to a companys records and mandatory recall authority for the FDA if a company refuses to voluntarily recall a product. The agency also has to find reasonable probability the product is adulterated and that consumption of the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.
As part of the focus on preventive controls, FSMA is planning an FDA inspection schedule. High-risk facilities, which FDA has yet to define, will be inspected at least every three years, while any facility not deemed high risk will be inspected at least every five years. Any sort of complaint or safety problem will increase the likelihood of more frequent inspections or re-inspections, for which the company will probably have to cover the costs.
As part of FSMAs Foreign Supplier Verification Program, every importer must establish a plan that verifies the foreign supplier complies with a hazard analysis and preventive controls program.
Is Beneful Dog Food Made In China
Beneful is a product of Purina, which has a factory in China. Purina also imports ingredients from this country.
The best you can do is to stay clear of dog foods from China. Especially, those that had a history of contamination like chicken and duck jerky products. You can try cooking your pets food yourself to ensure your dogs safety and health. If not, you can look for pet foods that have human-grade ingredients or those sourced from the US. It is also for your pets best interest if you purchase freshly-made and locally-produced products, instead.
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Facts About Dog Food Made In China
This post may contain affiliate links.
The chicken jerky treat recalls are in the past and we have a short memory. But when it comes to our dogs, it’s important to understand why those recalls happened and why they can happen again.
Building a solid, yet affordable product in the pet space isn’t easy or cheap, which is why brands are sourcing ingredients from China. The fact that China exports a lot of goods to America isn’t a surprise nor is it a bad thing. The boots I’m wearing, the mug I’m drinking tea from, and the hair on my head came from China.
I don’t have an issue or concern when it comes to my fashion. My issue is with food and treats for my dogs which originates from the tainted chicken jerky treats that harmed and killed so many pets.
Dogs are our family, our kids, and they count on us to be their voice at the pet store, at the veterinarian’s office, and when we’re on a walk.
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Homemade Dog Treat Recipes
If you’re interested in making dog treats at home, here are a couple of recipes I use:
Raw Feeding 101 – Learn to Transition Your Dog to Raw Dog Food
Custom Meal Plans by Perfectly Rawsome
Keep the Tail Wagging® is a personal blog and a minority/woman-owned business. I, Kimberly Gauthier , am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. For more details, visit the Affiliate Disclosure page. I am also a Brand Ambassador for DIG Direct, a division of Dog is Good.
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I Am Not a Veterinarian
I am not a veterinarian, canine/animal nutritionist, or dog trainer. I am a blogger, and all information shared is based on my personal experience with my dogs and research about raw feeding, canine health, and nutrition that I do for my dogs. Please do not use content from this blog in place of veterinarian care. I do not offer coaching or consultations the most I can do is share my personal experience.
Due to the personal nature of my blog, I do not accept guest posts nor do I participate in link exchanges, paid or otherwise.
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Dog Food Made In China Might Be Pulled From The Shelves Of Us Stores But
Back in 2014, Chinese-made jerky treats were fingered for containing melamine and causing the death of more than a thousand dogs. At the time, large pet food stores like Petco rushed to pull all Made in China treats from their shelves.
What you possibly dont recall, however, was that a similar anti-China sentiment was stirred up in 2007 when China was fingered for pet food tainted vegetable proteins.
Why should you care? Because, despite the 2007 recall, Chinese made or sourced products found their way back on the shelves of pet stores worldwide only to be recalled once again.
So, while trusted pet food stores and the FDA make the effort to recall tainted products once they are discovered on shelves, some dog food made in China is still slipping through and making it to pet store shelves in the first place.
So, what can you do? Know the source of your dog food and the ingredients that go into it. If you cant find sourcing information, contact the manufacturer and ASK.
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So Just How Much Pet Food Does The Us Source From China
According to import data from OEC, 18% of dog and cat food was imported to the U.S. from China in 2015. That makes China the third-biggest pet food importer to the U.S. in 2015 under Canada and Thailand.
Thats$135 MILLION worth of pet food being imported from a country with no pet food regulations.
Did I mention that this is only retail pet food products?
That $135 million doesnt even touch on ingredients that are going into made in America pet foods, which are easily imported into the US and are purchased by pet owners in America, and consumed by dogs and cats in the US.
Effects Of Melamine On Dogs
Melamine is a small, nitrogen-containing molecule. It has several industrial uses, like being a binding agent and flame retardant. Also, manufacturers use this chemical as part of the polymer in the production of plates and cooking utensils. Moreover, manufacturers use it to produce glue, countertops, laminates, and other construction purposes.
Combining melamine and cyanuric acid could form crystals in urine and kidney tissue, and eventually, kidney failure. A study conducted in 2007 showed that when given separately, melamine or cyanuric acid did not cause renal failure in cats. But when they gave both compounds together, the cats showed signs of intra-tubular crystals and renal failure. The FDA continues to study the interactions of melamine and other related compounds to find how they cause pet illnesses and death.
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Is Purina Dog Food Made In China
Purina PetCare products were some of those recalled in 2007. Although most of their dog foods are made in Missouri, USA, some of their treats may be from other countries, including China. And, even if these products are from the US, it is not easy to find out where the ingredients come from. So, better do some research and check with the manufacturers if you have doubts about certain products.
Royal Canin Bets On Asian Pet Markets
Royal Canin has announced a plan to double its sales volume by 2025, with special efforts in Asian markets and online sales channels across the world.
The brand now belonging to Mars Inc. has been a pioneer in China, entering the pet industry more than 20 years ago. Continuous efforts, particularly in specialty channels such as pet clinics and neighbourhood pet stores, have seriously installed the brand in consumers purchasing habits. Since 2010, its also selling massively on all major online platforms such as Tmall, JD.com, EPet or Boqii.
For the past five years though, the brand has somehow suffered from its mid-range positioning. The lack of premium SKUs in a context of hyper-humanization has left it at the door of the insane growth rates experienced by players focusing on premium segments, such as Orijen, Ziwipeak, K9 Natural and a few others.
Additionally, Royal Canin has lost market shares in entry level products and in the veterinary channel against increasing competition from local players such as Natures Bridge, who have adopted similar aggressive strategies and gained significant influence in pet clinics. It will be interesting to see how Royal Canin can keep up with the competition in the coming years, particularly in these veterinary channels where the brand remains a leader so far.
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What You Can Do
In the meantime, its likely safe to assume that virtually nobody is actively protecting your pet from poisoned pet foods. The safest thing you can do for you pet is to feed him a raw or home prepared diet or a commercial diet that doesnt contain premixes. Maria Ringo, founder of Sojourner Farms, one of the first commercially available raw food mixture, and Carna4, a synthetic-free kibble, recommends the following steps to minimize the risk of commercial foods and treats:
- Seek out companies that are transparent about testing for toxins. Make sure they test both ingredients and finished batches for mycotoxins and bacteria before it is packaged. And if, for example, you are concerned about mercury levels in the salmon in your pet food, ask the company if they test for that, too.
- Look for products free of synthetic ingredients of any kind. Vitamins from food are hardier than those made in test tubes. Read the ingredients panel to spot the chemicals usually listed at the end, likely made in unregulated offshore facilities.
- Feed products with only table-grade food ingredients, e.g. federally inspected for human consumption, to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral pathogens like salmonella. This applies to all products including frozen and dehydrated meats.
In the meantime, if you want to avoid the dangers of foods manufactured in China, you must look beyond the label. Do your homework and ask the manufacturer the hard questions.
Easy Homemade Dog Food Crockpot Recipe With Ground Chicken
If your dog is picky about the food he eats or suffers from food allergies, here is a homemade dog food crockpot recipe that helps my dog. Enjoy!
Are you wanting to make your own dog food? This is an easy homemade dog food crockpot recipe.
Just throw all the ingredients in the crockpot and cook for a couple of hours.
The result is a healthy, homemade dog food that your furry family member will love!
My dog has had food allergies FOREVER! I have tried almost every dog food under the sun from expensive to EXPENSIVE.
Finally, I had it and decided to look into making my own. I was shocked how easy it is.
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Harder Road For Us Pet Food Companies
Epet.com said it views this arrangement with Canada as its new business model and is planning to launch more national pavilions with Australia, New Zealand and countries in Europe. It also mentioned the US, but given the current trade climate between China and the US, is that realistic?
Though many pet food companies and brands from throughout the world have struggled to get their products approved and registered for sale in China, it seems extra difficult for US companies, as Weils comments alluded. Entities within the US government have been working with the US pet food industry to overcome those difficulties and establish market access in China, but the trade conflict between the two countries is likely not helping that situation. At all.
Perhaps the new Chinese regulations will provide some clarity, but they may possibly make it even more difficult to export pet foods into China, forcing some companies to abandon any strategies or hopes for selling in this promising market.
Sustainability Of Pet Food Manufacturing Plants
The new facility in North Sioux City is designed to be environmentally sustainable to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Gold certification from the US Green Building Council .
In addition, Royal Canin aims to incorporate leading-edge environmentally sustainable features in the plant.
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