The pet food industry has developed a well-orchestrated system that protects itself against every possible threat. That wouldn’t be a bad thing if it wasn’t for the fact that this system seriously damages our pets.
It sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory, doesn’t it? Well, it is not. Read on, and you’ll find out why I’m telling you this.
Tibetan Mastiff Dog Food Conspiracy?
As we can learn from a Washington Post’s news piece, 93% of all mid-priced pet food sold in the U.S. are produced by three huge companies: J.M. Smucker, Mars and Nestle.
Ever since the big human food companies saw the appeal of the pet food market – 30 billion dollars projected for 2022, only in the U.S., sounds pretty appealing, don’t you think? They started a buying frenzy. Purina (along with its brands Cat Chow, Dog Chow, Pro Plan and others) became a branch of the Nestlé conglomerate, while Pedigree, Iams, Whiskas, Royal Canin and Eukanuba ended up in the hands of Mars.
3 Pet Food Brands Dominating 93% Of The US Market
Smucker took over numerous brands, perhaps less popular, but very trusted by those who know them. For example, Meow Mix, Milk-Bone, Nature’s Recipe, Natural Balance and Rachael Ray Nutrish, among others. Smucker’s marketing motto says: “Smucker’s pet portfolio features trusted brands to meet the nutritional needs of pets and the preferences of their loving parents.” Wow. (That’s what my dog said)
OK, so the nutrition of almost all U.S. dogs is in the hands of these three big companies. What’s the big deal? After all, those companies have a lot of experience in human food.
Don’t jump to conclusions. The human food market is completely different from the pet food market. Basically, it has very different regulations. And it is precisely in the matter of regulations that the grim circle of pet food begins to get outlined.
FDA Propagating Unhealthy Foods For Mastiffs?
The agriculture departments of each state are in charge of enforcing pet food market regulations, issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). But, at the same time, those departments are partially funded by the largest pet food manufacturers. The reason is that they also have the goal of promoting growth and expansion of the agricultural industry in their state.
Are you beginning to get the idea? Wait, it gets better (or worse, I don’t know).
Surely it is not easy to dictate laws that regulate activity and, at the same time, promote it. That’s why all the state agriculture departments delegate that task to a private organization called the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). Remember: it is a private organization, not a government agency.
AAFCO owns and protects the legal definitions of all pet food ingredients, to which consumers do not have public access. Don’t bother trying to Google them. You won’t find anything about them.
FDA Dog Food Corruption?
What have we learned so far? Let’s see.
Big pet food companies give money to the state departments of agriculture, which in turn pays a private organization to define what pet food ingredients should be, and then hide that information from consumers. If you think that large pet food companies have their cake and eat it too, you’re just looking at the tip of the iceberg.
Enter the industry trade associations: Pet Food Industry, American Food Industry Association, National Grain and Feed Association, National Renderers Association. Large pet food manufacturers are members of these, which guarantees them access to regulatory authorities and gives them the possibility to define the laws that govern them. Exactly, they can define the laws that govern them.
Here’s just an example: in order to manage updates to pet food labels, AAFCO formed a working group called Pet Food Label Modernization. A Mars Petcare employee, called Jim Barritt, was designated head of this group. Obviously, not representing the Mars company, but as a member of the Pet Food Industry trade association. But they were secretly defending Mars’ commercial interests.
Corruptive Pet Food Competition
Meanwhile, FDA works by enforcing the laws in its own way, favoring its allies by keeping its competitors out of the market. As it did when imposing a policy of zero tolerance to the presence of salmonella in dog food, even knowing that dogs can hardly get sick from salmonella. But in this way, the Administration condemned all adherents to raw dog food.
The tool the FDA uses to favor its “sponsors” is the withdrawal of the products of its competitors from the market, arguing that they do not comply with its regulations. If we look at the list of recalled pet food products since 2009, we can see that the overwhelming majority of the recalled products are from midsize companies, and only a few cases are from the largest ones.
That doesn’t mean the products made by the midsize brands are bad for dogs. It means that they are bad for the interests of the bigger companies.
If you happen to be a small-sized pet food producer, you’re lucky: FDA won’t even bother to recall your products from the market. You pose no threat to the giants.
Influencing Tibetan Mastiff Owners' Purchasing Decisions
There are two more links in this chain: big retailers – Chewy.com, PetFoodDirect.com, PetCoach.co, to name a few – and pet food “influencers,” in the sense that they have the power to influence pet food consumers’ decisions. These are veterinarians, veterinary websites, pet bloggers, among others.
You would expect all of these to be independent. Well, they are not. Most retailers are part of the PetSmart pet store chain, which also owns a veterinary website, an association of pet bloggers and two adoption websites. Pretty much all bases covered.
Will TM Dog Owners Ever Know The Truth?
It may seem that there is no escape, that the industry as a whole is in cahoots to contaminate our pets’ food. And that those who dare to denounce corruption in the FDA openly end up – like Kevin Trudeau – accused of crazy “conspirationalists.”
But our pets are not entirely helpless. Fortunately, there still are some people who genuinely defend their interests and their health. And they don’t keep their mouths shut. With a bit of luck, the truth will ultimately come out.