With so many pet food companies out there, how do you know which ones are transparent when it comes to their ingredients and label claims? This DIY rating system can help you figure it out.
When you buy a package of pet food for your dog or cat, how do you know you’re getting what the label claims you are? While most premium brands are transparent about their ingredients and processing practices, some commercial pet foods may be hiding the truth about what’s actually in their products. Learning how to rate a pet food company on its transparency can help you ensure that your dog or cat is getting safe, healthy nutrition
How Far Have We Come?
We know from past experience that pet food labels don’t always tell the whole story about a product. One landmark example occurred in 2007, when the FDA learned that melamine, imported from China in various proteins, had contaminated a number of pet food products. The result was the largest recorded pet food recall in history, along with thousands of dog and cat deaths.
Following this devastating event, the United States Congress developed the Food and Drug Administration Amendments Act (FDAAA) to improve the safety of pet food with new regulations for labeling, ingredients, and processing standards. But despite these changes, 15 years later, many commercial pet food companies are still finding ways to hide important information from consumers. In other words, they aren’t truly transparent.
What Exactly Is Transparency?
The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) stipulates exactly what should be printed on pet food labels. However, true transparency goes further than that. Because what an animal eats directly affects his quality of life, you should know exactly what is in your dog or cat’s food, and that you can trust the company behind the product. True transparency is when a company has demonstrated that they are publicly open and honest about all elements of their products — from ingredient sourcing to nutritional benefits and everything in between.
How to Assess a Pet Food Brand
Although there is no official transparency assessment, the chart below offers a five-level rating system to help you evaluate how transparent the brand of food you give your dog or cat is.
It’s worth taking some time to rate your dog or cat’s current food, using this chart. If the product doesn’t come up to par, consider leveling up, for the sake of your best friend’s health and well-being!
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