Complete and Balanced Nutrition

Don't Think So!

Exposing the Fraud (new! 5/21/08)

FDA "public" meeting - COMMENTS NEEDED by June 13, 2008 (updated 5/14/08)

More Dangerous than the Food?

Food Safety Act update

Campaign for regulation of pet foods

Latest updates and news

Pet food recalls

Research papers that document illness or death in animals as a result of pet food

Rebuttal to Pet Food Institute's comments by Dr. Hodgkins

Testimony of Dr. Hodgkins to Senate appropriations committee

Misleading or incorrect information by pet food industry

Making pet food


Campaign for more effective regulation/enforcement of pet food labels

For updates and latest news - click here

The Problem

Pet food companies are able to make claims about their products without any proof that these claims are true. Labels tout things like "urinary tract health", "weight loss", "supports the immune system" without any research or other documentation to back them up.

In addition, the labels provide only a "guaranteed analysis" with minimums and maximums - rather than an as-fed or average anlysis. While this may help a consumer determine whether the food meets minimal nutritional requirements, it does not assist a knowledgable consumer looking for optimal nutrition. An analysis such as the "nutrition facts" on human foods - with calories and amounts of various nutrients would be much more helpful. If consumers are capable of reading nutritional information on human foods and make intelligent choices on what to feed themselves and their children, why is it we are not given that same information to make choices on feeding our pets?

Finally, the government provides pet food companies with a "seal of approval" in the form of AAFCO certfication if they meet minimal requirements. This approval states the food is "complete and balanced nutrition" for the life of your pet. Many rely on this seal of approval, not realizing how little a food has to do to achieve it. They receive this seal of approval, and are declared "complete and balanced nutrition" if:

1) They perform a six-month feeding trial on one line of their product, with at least eight animals - of which six must complete the trial. If the six that finish don't show severe health problems or significant weight loss, the company's entire product line passes. The animals could gain a huge amount of weight, or die a year later - it still passes.


2) The company can opt not to perform a feeding trial at all, and simply show it means the AAFCO minimum nutrient requirements. These requirements are not for optimal nutrition - simply minimum requirements.

The problem is NOT that there aren't enough regulations - the problem is that there isn't enough enforcement of the regulations that exist! Too many regulations, too little enforcement.

The Solution

Pet food companies should be held to the same standards other industries are. Fewer regulations, more enforcement!

If Kellogg's or General Foods put eight young adults on one of their breakfast cereals - two dropped out (tired of eating cereal, decided to go out and get a "real" meal) - the others survived the trial and didn't lose a significant amount of weight - would we accept that all of their breakfast cereals are complete and balanced nutrition for humans? Of course not! Pet foods should be held to the same standards. If they want to make claims - let them do so based on research and studies and other scientific evidence that supports them.

As the FDA has admitted they don't have the time or resources to fully inspect and review pet foods, they should cease providing it with a seal of approval of any sort. Any claims pet food companies want to make regarding their pet foods will need to be documented just as with any other product. For example, if a breakfast cereal wants to claim that it "lowers cholesterol" they must do studies and research at their own expense, and provide that documentation to back-up their claims to avoid charges of fraud.

Pet food companies should be responsible for developing food formulas and for testing their ingredients. The FDA will continue to do spot testing - just as is done with human foods.

Proposal by Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, Esq

The Call to Action - What YOU need to do


We're looking for a MASSIVE E-MAIL CAMPAIGN

Contact FDA Commissioner von Eschenbach - ask fore more effective regulation of pet food here

Contact your Congress representative - ask them to support the Durbin/DeLauro Pet and Human Food Safety Act!

If each person can send off a few simple emails - to Senators involved in the Appropriations hearing - tell them you support their investigation and action related to the pet food industry.

Contact Senator Durbin:

Contact Senator Kohl:

Senator Bennett:

Senator Byrd:

Congress woman DeLauro:

Already emailed? Email again. Email with various topics (agriculture, animal rights, etc.) - different staff aides will read them.

Not a resident of their state? Doesn't matter. You may not be able to vote for them - but please THANK them!

Write Letters

Write your Senators, urging them to hold pet food companies accountable to the same standards other industries are.

Draft letters have been prepared by two wonderful cat lovers, Dr. Hodgkins and Deb (a.k.a. Luvmycats).  Please support them in this wonderful endeavor. I'd urge you to personalize the letter and send it to your state Senators. We can make change happen!!! 

Draft of Letter - courtesy of Debbie, aka LuvmyCats (please personalize)

Another sample letter - courtesy of Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, Esq.

Illinois US Senators are:

Durbin, Richard- (D - IL)

Contact Senator Durbin:

Obama, Barack- (D - IL)

Contact Senator Obama:


Contact information for other states' Senators may be found at, other Congress representatives at

The FDA and AAFCO are not accountable to us - only to the federal government. However, U.S. Senators, as our elected representatives, do answer to us, the voters. If we let them know that we feel strongly on this issue, I do believe they will put pressure on the FDA and AAFCO. Most pet food companies don't have a leg to stand on - that is, they do not have research or studies to back up their packaging claims.

PLEASE participate - it's as simple as clicking on the above links, modifying the letter a bit, and putting it in an envelope.  Aren't our pets worth that?

To Learn More

*** If you'd like to read more about AAFCO certification requirements, please visit:

Why Confused Consumers Feed their Pets Ring Dings and Krispy Kremes (Justine Patrick, a Harvard law student, reviews the pet food industry)

Defend Our Pets

Selecting a Good Commercial Pet Food by Dr. Jean Hofve

Cat Food Labels

Pet Foods - FDA requirements

Interpreting Pet Food Labels - FDA

Interpreting Pet Food Labels - Special Use Foods - FDA

What's Really in Pet Food - Animal Protection Institute (note in particular, the "Pet Food Recalls" section - the recent recall is NOT an isolated incident)

Selecting a Commercial Pet Food - Animal Protection Institute

For Cats and Dogs, Life Is a Bowl of ... - New York Times interview with a nutritionist

Assessment of the Nutritional Adequacy of Pet Foods Through the Life Cycle - Morris and Rogers, Journal of Nutrition, 1994

Alternative Feeding Practices - Wynn (World Small Animal Veterinary Congress 2001)

Pet Food: The Inside Scoop - Life Extension Magazine, May 2003


Information on the recent canned food recalls here

Miscellaneous nutrition information here

Canadian campaign here


To learn more about feeding your cat properly - please visit Feline Outreach!


Feel free to contact me at Pet Food Crusade!

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