Editorial

Pet Food ‘Swindle’ Hits the Headlines

Researchers at the University of Nottingham have released the results of tests on pet food. Of the 17 products they examined 14 were found to hold proteins from unspecified animal species. Or, in layman’s terms, they featured meats that weren’t explicitly named on the label. The details were published within the open access journal Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica.

Major UK newspapers have picked up on the story. The Daily Mail claimed the findings were evidence of a ‘swindle’. The Independent pointed out that pet food products could be marketed as ‘beef’ or ‘chicken’, for example, as long as the four percent is comprised of the named animal protein.

The researchers also tested for horse meat but found no evidence of horse within any of the 17 items.

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Lead author Professor Kin-Chow Chang said ‘It may be a surprise to shoppers to discover that prominently described contents such as ‘beef’ on a tin could, within the guidelines, be a minor ingredient, have no bovine skeletal muscle (meat) and contain a majority of unidentified animal proteins.

‘There is a need for the pet food industry to show greater transparency to customers in the disclosure of the types of animal proteins in their products. Full disclosure of animal contents will allow more informed choices to be made on purchases which are particularly important for pets with food allergies, reduce the risk of product misinterpretation by shoppers, and avoid potential religious concerns.’

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