Dog food: stop false arguments!

Discover the list of the most common untruthful arguments that can be read on certain packages of dog food.

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Start-ups with questionable methods

They are veterinarians, teacher-researchers in animal nutrition, specialized veterinary assistants or even agricultural engineers and want to put an end to unfair communication practices that are rampant in the petfood industry. Through a press release, they ask the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Fraud Control (DGCCRF) to look into the fairness of the labeling of certain pet foods. Their goal is that dog and cat owners can finally be able to rely on reliable, honest and science-based information when choosing foods for their four-legged friends.

It is the new food sellers on the Internet who are particularly in their sights. The signatories of the press release deplore the fact that many pet food start-ups sell their products with a lot of false claims, sometimes very far from proven scientific facts. And for good reason: these companies only market croquettes ordered from a catalog to an industrialist, without knowing precisely what they contain. They don't have any animal nutrition experts on their team to "temper the heat" of a marketing department that sometimes isn't even aware of labeling legislation. No wonder these new brands use and abuse misleading claims.

The group of experts has identified the most common of them, which we detail below

“Our croquettes are 100% natural”: false

If we can say that a carrot or an apple is a 100% natural product, it is because it is a raw product, not formulated or transformed by the Man and which contains no additives.Under no circumstances can an industrially produced dog food or food be qualified as 100% natural. To be adapted to the nutritional needs of dogs and for the needs of their manufacture, these products contain additives, which are not considered "natural" by the legislation.

“Our croquettes contain less sugar”: false

Faced with the reluctance of some pet owners to feed their companions with foods that contain "sugar" from cereals, some brands offer them cereal-free kibbles, implying that they would contain less sugar than the others.

First of all, you should know that kibble, whether grain-free or not, does not contain sugar in the first sense. Kibbles contain complex carbohydrates, formerly called "slow sugars" , mainly in the form of starch, which dogs are able to digest when provided in reasonable quantities.Starch is provided by cereals and by legumes, potatoes or sweet potatoes in grain-free croquettes. No kibble is free of starch because the latter is a necessary ingredient in the kibble extrusion process. Thus, implying that a grain-free kibble is less rich in sugar than a classic kibble has no reason to be.

Often, sellers of grain-free kibble claim to market a "more natural" diet for dogs than a cereal-based diet. Again, the argument is debatable because the legumes present in grain-free kibbles also provide starch and do not present more nutritional interest in the diet of carnivores than cereals.

More doubtful still, the legumes whose grain-free croquettes are often rich can be the cause of digestive intolerances and several studies point in the direction of the existence of a link between dilated cardiomyopathy in races not predisposed and diet without cereals rich in legumes.On her Facebook page, Doctor Devaux, specialist in carnivore nutrition, encourages us to be wary:

“Before giving in to the grain-free fashion because there is a beautiful wolf on the package, know that this wolf if he didn't eat cereals, didn't eat legumes either”.

“Our croquettes are free of animal by-products”: false

Some petfooders use this argument in the same way as saying that they use "ingredients fit for human consumption" to make their kibble.

It is impossible to formulate a food for a pet without using animal by-products because European regulation 1069/2019 systematically qualifies all animal ingredients intended for petfood as by-products.

The goal is, in doing so, to differentiate them from those intended for the human food sector.The term "animal by-product" is not indicative of product quality but only designates the status of an ingredient when it is intended to integrate the animal feed sector. The same chicken fillet could theoretically be qualified as "meat" if it is intended for human consumption and as "animal by-product" if it were intended to join the pet food industry.

Thus, the use of the mention "without animal by-products" implies a lack of knowledge of the legislation by the petfooder who uses it.

“Our croquettes are made with real meat”: false

" In the list of ingredients of certain croquettes, we can sometimes read the terms of meat or fresh meat. These terms are prohibited when using mechanically separated meat or carcass pieces, which is the case for all petfood manufacturers without exception."

By ignorance of the regulations or by manifest desire to mislead the consumer, these manufacturers can mislead the consumer by suggesting that their products are made with the same pieces of meat as those consumed in human food.However, this is never the case! The use of “real meat” would be far too costly for manufacturers as well as an ecological aberration.

Where there can no longer be any doubt of the manifest desire to deceive the consumer, it is when the pet fooder, in addition, illustrates his packages or his sales materials with beautiful photographs of meat fillets or of a whole poultry. These visuals are also prohibited when implementing mechanically separated meat in its products. So don't be fooled by packaging that's too enticing to be true!

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