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A Trip Down the Pet Food Aisle Reveals Harmful Food Additives

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 by: Susan Thixton
Tags: pet food, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) I took a little field trip yesterday to Walmart and paid a visit to the pet food aisle. It was one of the most discouraging field trips I've ever taken. I'm not going to mention any product names but do I have some interesting pet food sales tricks to share with you.

The number one interesting marketing technique (and I have changed the exact words to protect the identity of this pet food) -- Blazoned across one pet food was Crunchy Beefy Nuggets™. Did you catch it? Crunchy Beefy Nuggets is a trademark name –- it's a name! It has nothing to do with the pet food, it doesn't necessarily contain any beef, and it is literally just a name. Very slick –- not healthy pet food, but slick pet food marketing.

The most common sales technique I found was pet foods that are 'flavored'. The actual name of the pet food was 'Steak and Vegetable Flavor' or 'Chicken and Fish Flavor' –- one even got very specific with the name mentioning Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna Flavor. The trick there is the pet food is just Flavored with steak and vegetables or Albacore Tuna -- that's not really in the pet food. Again, it's just the flavor. Most people do not get that, they see Albacore Tuna and Yellow Fin Tuna or they see Steak and Vegetable, they don't see Flavor. Most pet owners just assume that since the front of the pet food bag –- in big bold letters says Albacore Tuna on it –- it's got Albacore Tuna inside the bag. If the food actually had Steak and Albacore Tuna in it, it wouldn't say 'Flavor' on the front. It would say 'with Steak and Albacore Tuna' and it would cost more (Albacore Tuna does cost more than Albacore Tuna Flavor).

One pet food proudly stated 'No Fillers' on the front of the bag, yet in the small print of the ingredient list -- Ground Corn, Chicken by-products, Corn Gluten Meal were the first three ingredients. Sounds like fillers to me!

Another mentions "New Shapes and Colors". Let's see, does this mean this pet food is using more Red Dye now or more Yellow Dye? Very discouraging.

One pet food bragged that it contained Protein and Phosphorus for Strong Muscles. Phosphorus? Wikipedia provides us with the following: "The most important commercial use of phosphorus-based chemicals is the production of fertilizers. Phosphorus compounds are also widely used in explosives, nerve agents, friction matches, fireworks, pesticides, toothpaste, and detergents. Among other uses these are used to improve the characteristics of processed meat and cheese." I'm not sure I'd brag about that.

I found a lot of pictures of steaks and chicken on the front of the pet food bags, but I had a very challenging time finding any beef or chicken listed in the ingredients. Oh, but I did find a lot of BHA and BHT, Animal Fat, and Dyes.

I left the pet food aisle just shaking my head –- actually more than a little blown away at how many by-products, meat and bone meals, and BHA/BHT pet foods that were there. In the 20 minutes or so I was looking at pet food and pet treat labels, probably five or six pet owners came in and purchased pet food. I kept my mouth shut, but it was very tough to do. To give Walmart a little credit (geez I hate to do that), there were a couple of pet foods that were good (not great, but good). I understand that not everyone can afford to spend $25 for a 20 pound bag of pet food. But in my opinion, no one should spend a dime on pet foods that contain by-products, meat and bone meals, and BHA/BHT (or other chemical preservatives). The dime or nickel you save for each meal your pet eats will probably cost you years off their life and thousands in vet bills later on.

About the author

Susan Thixton has an international pet people following providing dog and cat lovers a trusted source for pet food and pet food ingredient information. She's been called courageous, perseverant, even "the Caped Crusader for Pets" for her 16 year study of pet food. Susan Thixton is the author of hundreds of pet industry articles and the 2006 released book Truth About Pet Food (currently being updated for a second edition). She developed and publishes the pet product consumer magazine Petsumer Report and is a frequent speaker and radio guest all over the U.S. and Canada with more than 70 appearances in the last 2 years.
If you are looking for straight forward pet food information that can have an almost immediate impact on your pet's health - subscribe to the free newsletter, and subscribe to Petsumer Report to see reviews of close to 700 dog and cat foods and treats (adding 40+ each month). Susan Thixton's 'truth' will help you find a safer, healthier dog or cat food that could add years to your pet's life. http://www.TruthAboutPetFood.com

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