Pet food labeling laws have been heavily influenced by the pet industry to give them flexibility on what they are required (and not required) to disclose. As a result, some of the information you might want to know isn’t provided on the label. For example, the amount of carbohydrates (not required to be disclosed) or what is the #1 ingredient in your dog’s food. Hint: it’s not the first ingredient listed.
Furthermore, pet food companies aren’t required to update their labels when ingredients change. They are required to update the label “as soon as practical”, so there may be ingredients in the food that aren’t listed on the label or vice-versa. A test done by an independent lab on 52 brands of premium and grocery store dog and cat food discovered labeling issues with 23 of the brands tested. Either something was supposed to be in the product WASN’T THERE or something that wasn’t supposed to be in the bag WAS THERE. Either way, it's a huge concern for pet parents who aren't getting what they are paying for or are unknowingly feeding their dog something that could make them sick.
Unfortunately, there are some pet food ingredient suppliers who intentionally adulterate their products by adding less expensive substitutes that look similar (beef for venison or chicken for duck). If pet food companies aren’t regularly testing (like we do at COAST+RANGE), they might not know their label is wrong.
WHAT NEEDS TO CHANGE
Pet food companies should disclose the percentages of each ingredient that is actually in the bag. They should also be required to disclose the level of carbohydrates in their foods (just like they do for protein, fat, etc.). Lastly, pet food companies should be required to test their food for ingredient purity to make sure their consumers are getting what they pay for like we do at COAST+RANGE.
- Identification of Meat Species in Pet Food Okuma & Hellberg, 2015