Could Your Pet Food Have Originated in China After all?

April 7, 2015

In this blog and in other articles, I have stated that responsible pet owners today will avoid pet foods processed in or sourced in China.  Too many problems have arisen with dog and cat food products coming from that country in recent years, and I worry that their manufacturing facilities and processes are safe. It may just be my personal opinion, but I base it on the research I have done.

I have encouraged pet owners who have doubts or questions about dog or cat foods to carefully read the information on the food packages and cans and to call the manufacturer and ask where the food and its ingredients were made and sourced.  But now, we have a new wrinkle to consider and a new question to ask these manufacturers.

Pet Food Safety Advocate, Susan Thixton, writes that we need to be concerned about a “common trick used by pet food manufacturers.”

“Ingredients sourced from U.S. companies could have a country of origin in China or anywhere in the world.”

For example, ABC Pet Food manufacturer may purchase the chicken used in its products from XYZ Chicken Supplier, say, in Georgia.  If a consumer calls and asks where his chicken comes from, ABC Pet Food manufacturer may truthfully answer, “from a supplier in Georgia.”

What you don’t know is from where XYZ Chicken Supplier got the chicken in the first place.  It may even have come from China.  This is important because according to Ms. Thixton, the Veterinary Information Network (VIN) released a story stating that “the FDA has confirmed the agency is aware of complaints related to USA-made products.”  The FDA says that “some of the reported U.S. manufactured jerky treats contain ingredients from outside the U.S.”

Thixton’s article adds that “some U.S. manufactured jerky treats are now being linked to acquired Fanconi Disease in dogs – the same kidney disease linked to Chinese-manufactured jerky treats.”

She goes on to say that a lab at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found recent cases of Fanconi Disease in dogs “that ate treats that ostensibly were not made in China or with ingredients from China.”

The brand in question stated that their chicken “was raised in Kentucky and all ingredients were sourced from U.S. companies.”

That leads us back to the common trick:  That chicken may have been sourced from only U.S. companies but from where did it originate?  You cannot be too careful. Manufacturers are determined to keep the costs down and the suppliers know how to do that.

As a side note, a new U.S. law allows American manufacturers of both human and pet foods to send their chicken to China for processing.  Then it is returned to the U.S. to prepare for sale to the public.  We, the consumers, have no way of knowing the history of this chicken.

The bottom line is to know the company with whom you are dealing.  If they are selling a lower-priced product, I’d be concerned about the origin of its ingredients.  Call the manufacturer. Ask about the origin of all the ingredients, not just the meat. Tell them you want the source and the origin the source uses.

I should add at this point that virtually all the world’s vitamins and spices originate outside the United States.  They may well be sourced in the Orient.  This isn’t unusual and is common practice with most manufacturers of human and pet foods.  But these should be the only items in our human and pet foods that are sourced from that part of the world.

If you would like to read Susan Thixton’s article in its entirety, click here.

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