Truth About Pet Food Part 2 shares more about the quality of our animals’ food. Also, find out how to feed our animals good quality food. And I’m all for that!!

This is a condensed version of my interview with Susan Thixton of Truth About Pet Food. In addition, information from their website supplements our interview. You may be surprised by some of what Susan shares. But as far as I have checked, Susan’s accurate.

Watch our discussion. Some of the topics are hard to hear, but useful.

Truth About Pet Food with Susan Thixton

The difference between pet feed and pet food

Most “pet food” manufacturers use feed grade requirements. Not food grade.

Per The Difference Between Pet Feed and Pet Food, feed grade pet foods are not required to abide by U.S. Federal food safety laws. In fact, the FDA allows feed grade pet foods to violate U.S. Federal law.

FDA describes okay pet food ingredients

In April of 2019, the FDA stated: “We do not believe that the use of diseased animals or animals that died otherwise than by slaughter to make animal food poses a safety concern and we intend to continue to exercise enforcement discretion.”

  • Ingredients and supplements are NOT required to be human edible.
  • In other words, manufacturers don’t have to follow food safety standards. Since it’s formulated for pet consumption only, U.S. food safety law doesn’t apply.
  • More specifically, you won’t find a label or disclosure about potential use of illegal inferior ingredients or inferior manufacturing conditions.

Finally, all styles of pet food can be feed grade; dry, can, raw, dehydrated.

One big difference I found appalling

For us humans, the FDA requires the food system to transport and warehouse meat (for those who eat meat) under refrigeration.

Not so for our animals. Sadly, the FDA doesn’t require feed ingredients (meat) to be transported or warehoused under refrigeration.

Why is pet feed labeled pet food?

Susan shares that cattle and chicken feed aren’t labeled as food, they’re labeled as feed. But they label food for pets as food, which is very deceiving to the consumer.

The Association for Truth in Pet Food asked the FDA to require products that don’t meet the legal requirements of food, to be labeled as feed. The FDA said no.

Are all styles of feed grade pet foods at risk?

No. Some feed grade pet foods use only edible ingredients and manufacture in clean conditions. The problem is there is no easy way to determine which manufacturers use safe ingredients and clean plants.

Human grade pet foods

Human grade pet foods must meet every single standard of human food. So they contain 100% edible ingredients. And even supplements are human grade. That’s because there are feed grade supplements, and there are human grade supplements.

Currently, only cooked, dehydrated and raw pet foods are available as “Human Grade”.

How do you know if it’s feed grade or human (food) grade?

First, ignore everything on a pet food website and any kind of marketing claims.

Instead, read the label on the pet food. Look for the words human grade. When you find them, trust that it meets all the legal requirements of a food. If not, it is a feed.

And if you’re brave, ask the company, “Are your ingredients human grade or are they feed grade? Are your supplements human grade or feed grade?” And ask them to give you proof. Susan does this.

According to Susan, if they’re not willing to give you evidence, then you shouldn’t trust your pet’s life with their product.

Raw pet foods

Raw pet foods labeled Human Grade were manufactured in a USDA facility under inspection that meets the legal requirements of “Human Grade.” If you don’t see that label, they didn’t meet the requirement.

Are there pet foods we can trust?

Human Grade is our best bet. Truth About Pet Food offers “The List” of foods that meet the criteria of human grade ingredients and proper manufacturing standards. Check out The List.

These pet food companies’ ingredients are human grade; their meats are raised from humanely, raised animals, animals that got to see sunshine and be out in a pasture, not confinement-farm animals. And they make the food in safe, sanitary conditions.

Side note: You might also get on pet food recall lists so you’re alerted to food recalls.

Switch over slowly

Maribeth: I have five animals, so switching completely to human grade food is a big monetary investment. To move forward, we’ve started replacing some of our regular food with human grade food. That way, we stay within our budget.

Is it time to make your own pet food?

If you want 100% trust, make their food yourself. But be sure you use all the right vitamins and minerals and in the proper levels. Relax! According to Susan, it’s not as hard as you think. In truth, all you need is the right recipe. Dog food recipes.

Maribeth: In staying transparent, I confess don’t cook much. Just ask my husband. So, I’m thinking about how I could implement this. In looking for help, I absolutely LOVE the Pet Foodie Handbook. It’s fun and shares lots of great information that I’m going to try for my animals.

And a final disclaimer: As a reminder, I’m not an animal or human dietician or nutritionist. Although I have verified the information in this blog as much as I can, I’m not an expert in federal regulations, pet food sourcing or manufacturing.

Because of that, you should research and decide what you can do for your animal’s health. And please, remember to consider the source! If it’s from a pet food company or a veterinarian/veterinary school website funded by a pet food company, the information may be biased.

Truth About Pet Food

Truth About Pet Food and the Association for Truth in Pet Food (the official consumer association) are 100% consumer supported. Just so you know, neither takes money from the pet food industry. Because of their distance from pet food manufacturers, their information helps us choose better pet food. And they advocate for us and our pets with federal regulators.

Read, Truth About Pet Food Part 1