Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: June 26, 2023 by Crystal Uys

Cat not eating food

The Association for Truth in Pet Food (ATPF), an advocacy group established by Susan Thixton, the publisher and founder of The Truth About Pet Food, recently published the results of an unprecedented pet food testing project conducted by U.S. labs late last year. The results reveal serious concerns for pets and for the human families that purchase and handle the pet food.

Testing results show that some of the most widely-purchased brands in the U.S. and Canada contained high levels of dangerous mycotoxins, problematic nutrient concerns and/or numerous bacterial contamination risks, including antibiotic resistant bacteria the FDA terms as “qualifying pathogens”. Funding for the project came solely from consumers, who raised nearly $16,000 via an Indiegogo donation campaign.

Pet foods tested

1. Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Renal LP Modified in Gravy Canned Cat Food
2. Fancy Feast Grilled Chicken Canned Cat Food
3. Science Diet Adult Hairball Control Minced Chicken Entree Canned Cat Food
4. Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon & Turkey Flavors Dry Cat Food
5. Friskies Grillers Dry Cat Food
6. Wellness Complete Health Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal & Rice Adult Dry Cat Food
7. Hill’s Prescription Diet C/D Urinary Tract Health Canned Dog Food
8. FreshPet Vital Chicken, Beef, Salmon & Egg Recipe Grain Free Fresh Dog Food
9. Cesar Top Sirloin Beef and Grilled Chicken Variety Moist Dog Food
10. Blue Freedom Grain Free Chicken Recipe Adult Dry Dog Food
11. Beneful Original Dry Dog Food
12. Ol’Roy Dog Food Soft & Moist Beef Flavor Dog Food

A sampling of the test findings

Meow Mix Tender Centers Salmon and Turkey Flavors Dry Cat Food tested positive for seven different fungusbased toxins (mycotoxins). On an industry standard risk scale (Risk Equivalent Quality) 0 = no risk, 5 = Low Risk, 10 = Medium Risk, 20 = High Risk — this Meow Mix cat food scored 70. The mycotoxins found – and at the levels found – “can cause tremors and convulsion, bloody diarrhea and lower immune response” in cats (quote from Dr. Dr. Tsengeg Purejav of INTI Service Corporation.). This cat food also tested to contain numerous bacteria including two bacteria the FDA terms as “Qualifying Pathogens” posing a “serious threat to public health”.

Hill’s Prescription Diet C/D Urinary Tract Health Canned Dog Food tested to contain 7.72% calcium – almost three times the legal limit of calcium (AAFCO 2.5% maximum) allowed in an adult dog food. Mycotoxin Risk Equivalent Rating was at 16 (20 being High Risk), and contained numerous bacteria including two the FDA terms “qualifying pathogens” posing a “serious threat to public health”.

Nine of twelve pet foods tested to contain one or more bacteria the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations states linked to “putrefaction” of meat (putrid meat).

You can read the complete report here.

“This is history making,” says Thixton. “No one has ever taken such an up-close and thorough examination of pet food like this before – and most importantly, this was done by pet food consumers!”

Image Credit: Unsplash

What can consumers do?

Thixton believes, based on feedback from ATPF constituents and other consumers with whom she regularly comes in contact, that consumers’ trust in the pet food industry and regulatory authorities is rapidly eroding. “They continue to witness an alarming increase in the number of pet food and treat recalls, an unwillingness by many manufacturers to be more transparent, and regulatory authorities choosing to protect industry instead of our pets.” “There is a lack of enforcement on the part of regulators,” Thixton added. “There are laws in place that should prevent much of this, but state and federal authorities choose not to enforce law with pet food. Pet food consumers pay an estimated $1 billion dollars a year in sales tax revenue on pet food purchases alone. What are consumers getting in return for this revenue?”

Thixton urges consumers to contact legislative representatives in their states, and provides a sample letter on her website.For more information, and to read the full report, please visit The Truth About Pet Food.

Excerpted from the full ATPF press release

Are the findings accurate?

January 12, 2015 update: Since the results of this study were published, some veterinarians and food scientists have raised questions about the validity of the results. I applaud Susan Thixton for commissioning this study, but some of the responses have raised concerns for me about how the results were obtained. I will provide more information as it becomes available.

Featured Image Credit: Kitirinya, Shutterstock

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