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Think You Can Avoid Pet Foods Made In China? Think Again!

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dog kibbleHundreds of consumer complaints were aimed at dog food manufactures in 2012 and dozens – perhaps hundreds – of dogs were harmed.  While many of these tainted jerky treats have been recalled, these most recent recalls are likely just another case of Chinese imports.

Fortunately, pet owners have become wiser since the melamine poisonings and massive recalls from 2007 and many are making decisions that will protect their pets.  They have learned that quality control and food safety standards are shabby at best in many overseas and Chinese manufacturing plants and that even in the US, manufacturers have few safety and testing requirements.  Pet owners are wisely avoiding treats and foods made in China and that’s good.  But despite avoiding these products, their dogs continue to die and become ill.  How can this happen when the food label says ‘made in the USA’?

The tip of the iceberg

The label on your pet food or treat may conceal a little lie – and this lie could cost your pet his health or even his life.  There is something inherently wrong with most processed foods that pet owners are unaware of.  The heating and processing that these foods undergo create a fundamental change that could have dangerous ramifications – it renders the food essentially dead.  What goes into the good is not what comes out once it is heated, sterilized, irradiated and extruded and nearly all dog foods will not meet AAFCO standards once they are heated.  As a consequence, the vitamins and minerals must be added back in for the food to pass AAFCO requirements.

Enter the premix

dog food labelBack in 2007, the melamine that was poisoning dogs and cats was not added directly to the pet foods – it was found in the premix.  The Chinese manufacturers added it to their premix to boost the protein content as cheaply as possible.  Only when dogs and cats started dying – and the FDA was forced to begin testing the foods – did anyone become aware of the fact.  What made the recall so large was that it wasn’t limited to a single food manufacturer.  Because they nearly all must rely on premixes, a large number of pet food manufacturers that purchased the same premix were affected.  What this means is that switching your pet from one food to another doesn’t necessarily mean you have made any difference at all if your new food purchases the same premix.

How do you know if your food contains premix?  Look at the label.  On the right is a label from what many people consider a high-end kibble.   See those vitamins, minerals and long chemical names that are listed at the bottom?  Those very likely came from a premix and that premix was very likely manufactured overseas.  If the premix is not added to the food, your dog would become ill and under-nourished from eating the nutritionally dead contents.  If the premix is added to the food, you are relying on foreign safety standards and are essentially playing roulette with your dog’s or your cat’s health.

Compare that label to the ingredients of a quality, commercial food:  Lamb meat, lamb bone, lamb blood, eggs, lamb green tripe, lamb liver, broccoli, cauliflower, carrot, silver beet (spinach), cabbage, apples, pears, lamb hearts, lamb kidneys and garlic.  Which food do you think is safer for your pet?

The premix danger is very real because nearly every premix is manufactured overseas where production costs are low and standards are even lower.  The frightening part is that pet owners can’t tell if the premix in their food comes from China because it does not have to be listed on the label.  The only way to know is to phone the manufacturer and ask if the premix is made in the US or overseas.

Made in the USA

If you have made the phone call and found out that your pet food’s premix has been manufactured in the US, don’t start feeling all warm and fuzzy just yet.  The individual synthetic vitamins and minerals that are in that made-in-the-US premix are almost all manufactured in India or China so it may or may not be a safe option after all.  In the end, some pet food manufacturers do their best to source out the safest premixes possible – but it is difficult for them to determine where the individual ingredients originated from and what quality control measures were put in place.

Who’s watching the hen house?

The million dollar question is, if pet food manufacturers can’t prove the origin of their premixes, why don’t they test every batch of food?  The answer might shock you:  it is so cost prohibitive that it is actually cheaper for them to pay the lawsuits from our dead pets than it is to test their product.

In January 2011, the FDA  finally stepped in with their Food Safety Modernization Act.  Some provisions took effect immediately but to date have had a minimal impact on most pet food manufacturers.

FSMA provisions already in effect include emergency FDA access to a company’s records and mandatory recall authority for the FDA if a company refuses to voluntarily recall a product. The agency also has to find “reasonable probability” the product is adulterated and that consumption of the food will cause serious adverse health consequences or death.

As part of the focus on preventive controls, FSMA is planning an FDA inspection schedule. High-risk facilities, which FDA has yet to define, will be inspected at least every three years, while any facility not deemed high risk will be inspected at least every five years. Any sort of complaint or safety problem will increase the likelihood of more frequent inspections or re-inspections, for which the company will probably have to cover the costs.

As part of FSMA’s Foreign Supplier Verification Program, every importer must establish a plan that verifies the foreign supplier complies with a hazard analysis and preventive controls program.

It remains to be seen how much influence the FSMA will have on pet food manufacturers but, as of today, nothing much has been done yet.  Because the FSMA also applies to human foods and food-animal feeds, it remains to be seen how much time and effort will be spent inspecting pet foods in the years to come.

What you can do

In the meantime, it’s likely safe to assume that virtually nobody is actively protecting your pet from poisoned pet foods.  The safest thing you can do for you pet is to feed him a raw or home prepared diet – or a commercial diet that doesn’t contain premixes.  Maria Ringo, founder of Sojourner Farms, one of the first commercially available raw food mixture, and Carna4, a synthetic-free kibble, recommends the following steps to minimize the risk of commercial foods and treats:

  • Seek out companies that are transparent about testing for toxins. Make sure they test both ingredients and finished batches for mycotoxins and bacteria before it is packaged. And if, for example, you are concerned about mercury levels in the salmon in your pet food, ask the company if they test for that, too.
  • Look for products free of synthetic ingredients of any kind. Vitamins from food are hardier than those made in test tubes.  Read the ingredients panel to spot the chemicals usually listed at the end, likely made in unregulated offshore facilities.
  • Feed products with only table-grade food ingredients, e.g. federally inspected for human consumption, to reduce the risk of bacterial and viral pathogens like salmonella. This applies to all products including frozen and dehydrated meats.

In the meantime, if you want to avoid the dangers of foods manufactured in China, you must look beyond the label.  Do your homework and ask the manufacturer the hard questions.

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119 Responses to Think You Can Avoid Pet Foods Made In China? Think Again!

  1. Ramsey

    The Honest Kitchen, Orijen, and Acana

    • Judy

      What are Mixed Tocopherois? Are these what we need to avoid?

      • These are vitamins that are normally added as preservatives. These could be less damaging than relying on synthetic vitamins to make up for nutrient loss during processing.

  2. Larry Vandvegte

    Sounds like dog food isn’t all that different than human food. What goes in might be high quality food but after all the preservatives, homogenizing and pasteurizing what comes out isn’t good for you anymore the only thing that keeps it from killing us is that the human body is somewhat stronger and better at filtering out the bad stuff than our little fur kids are.

  3. Berenice Moore

    Hi, I am thinking about giving my two Poodle/Bichons Honest Kitchen. Can someone please tell me if this is a good choice? thank you so much!
    -Berenice

    • Berenice Moore

      Well, I got The Honest Kitchen Force food – my dogs love it!!!! :-)
      Thanks to this website http://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/ I learned about the damage of dog food like Science Diet was causing my dogs!

  4. susan harner

    I feed my dog Nature’s Variety Prairie balanced, holistic Nutrition freeze dried raw coating . I found this dog food because my dog would break out from hives or throw up from over sized kibble. He has no reaction to this dog food. If anyone has any information on this dog food. or had problems with this product let me know.

  5. Barbara

    I use Westcoast Canine Naturals a premix where I add organic ingredients, baked into muffins and frozen. Made in Victoria BC.

  6. vicki

    I feed my two puppies honest kitchen dehydrated (one for all ages and gluten free) and wellness brand any issues there?

    • Dehydrated foods are a good option if you’re not up for raw. We don’t generally advocate kibble feeding.

    • Vicki, The Honest Kitchen dehydrated foods and supplements are the only ones I know that are FDA designated as human grade foods. Check out their website (THK) to read about their food processing plant.

      I have been using their base mix and adding my own cooked meats and vegetables for about 8 months now. My dog has lost weight (needed to do this), is thriving now and whines and begs for this food. He never did this for his kibble.

    • I put mine on the and he had a reaction that it was coming out as much as going in no dog should be pooping 10 times a day, and scooting on the carpet, and very temper metal he didn’t want to be touched when he was very loving before. Took him off made homemade stuff about 3 weeks later more energy not temper metal and pooping back to 3 times a day with no scooting.

  7. val hickman

    thank god my dog refuses to eat any brand of kibble. the cat unfortunately is a different story.
    cheers from oz

  8. Kimberley

    Wow… And just when I was starting to think that a kibble diet might be a better option for my dogs than the homemade food… I’ll continue to cook after reading that article!

  9. My head is a whirlin’….. I know I should do the research….. but with just suffering a stroke my life is overwhelming me at the moment… please tell me a dried food that can be purchased to give to my ‘loved one’….. I live in Northern California……. Thank You!! … I am indebted to your knowledge….

  10. Darla

    I feed my cat halo grain free dried and grain free wet, turkey or chicken. Is there anything wrong with this brand? I would like to know what the best food to buy.

  11. Lee Anne

    Can someone tell me what raw foods to feed my dogs and how do you know how much to feed them? I have 3 large dogs and shopping daily for meat would be difficult and I would think cost prohibitive (Although I doo use what I thought were premium dog foods). Any advice on how to do this and about what it costs to feed each dog per day would be greatly appreciated so I can see if it is possible for us to do.

  12. Lenore

    What prepared raw foods are recommended. I’ve switched to Darwin’s. They state they use free-range animals and organic vegs.

  13. CK

    I have started using Dinovite. I use their recipe of hamburger, hardboiled eggs and lick-o-chops and mix in the Dinovite to add the needed nutrients. Does Dinovite have premix from China? My kids (2 American Eskimo’s) LOVE the raw diet, but am I adding something that is bad for them???
    Thanks!

    • Wanda

      Hi,
      I too recently started with Dinovite on the recommendations of my holistic vet. I did write the company asking about their mix and this is what I was told.
      “Hello Wanda, Thanks for taking the time to write. When on the website, every product has an ingredient list below it. Just go to the product you are interested in and click on it. When you are at the individual product page, simply scroll down and there’s a tabbed section under each product. The tab “Product Description” lists all the ingredients in the product and the benefits that these ingredients will provide. The ingredients are sourced in the USA. They are all natural, whole food ingredients. We manufacture and package our supplements in our facility in Crittenden, KY. Hope this info is helpful. Please let us know if we can be of more help and we will be glad to assist. Have a great day, Bethany

      With best regards,
      Dinovite Customer Support”

      I did write back at a latter date asking them to participate in Susan Thixton’s “The Pledge” but this is what I was told.
      “Dear wanda,
      I’m sorry, we do not participate in these types of causes. We thank you for your orders of Dinovite. Here at Dinovite, we prefer to remain as nutral as possible. If you ahve any fiture quesrions, please let us know.
      Thanks,
      ~Audra Darlington~
      http://www.Dinovite.com
      (859) 428-1000 Mon-Fri 9-6
      With best regards,
      Dinovite Customer Support”

      Not sure how to take that, as to me if a company won’t give it’s pledge, it has something to hide. I am still using Dinovite as recommended by my vet until I see my vet again to discuss with her.

  14. MsMoneypenny

    I used to feed my Max Merrick BG. No recalls that I knew of so I assumed it was safe. I switched to making chicken for him in the summer because he had bad tooth issues. Served it with Dr Harvey’s Veg 2 Bowl. He got supplements too, from Earth Animal. He was in state of decline for months, on and off, died before Christmas. I am still heartbroken. He was misdiagnosed all along- I think he had a cancer of some sort, based on how it went. But will never be sure.

    I adopted another dog a few weeks after I lost him. Boiling organic chicken for him too, along with Veg 2 Bowl. I just recently added Steve’s Real Food raw nuggets. Still giving him the Earth Animal supplements. Is that too much supplementation? No junk food for him.

  15. Lisa

    I have swithched my Westie to Horizon, from Canada but after reading these articles I will switch to Carna4..not ready for the raw diet…Although I have tried giving him a raw chicken wing in between feeds…Problem is he has to eat it outside as he tends to play with it and raw food should not be all over the floor

    • Jennifer

      Lisa, another kibble to check out is Nature’s Logic. No vitamin pre mixes and nothing from China. :)

  16. laura cook

    Thank you all for the info. & comments.
    If you Google ” how are vitamins made” you won’t want to take them yourself! Pretty much only one company makes( synthetic) vitamins & sells them to everyone else who puts their own label on the bottle. They are made from petroleum products,sludge,nasty stuff.
    I am curious about raw feeding.I have done it in the past.

    With all the antibiotics,hormones & junk fed to food animals,do you buy organic,hormone & antibiotic free meat?

  17. What commercially prepared raw food can you recommend for giant breed dogs to start on. Both of my Doug’s have irritable bowel disease also.
    Thanks

  18. Priscilla Ireland

    I have used Newman’s Organic and after reading their label I think its ok. Anyone have any information otherwise?

    • jennifer

      I tried to feed my cats Newman’s Own – They ran and hid from it. Idk what that means, but I don’t think it’s good.

  19. Raina

    I own and run two large all in one grooming salons .Meaning we take care the mind .body and sole of our Clients by offering them healthy choices to feed their four legged family members. Over the past 30 years I have seen time and time again sick and very unhealthy dogs. The owner go from bag of food to bag food and wonder why no change. Many come in to get help from us and I always endorse RAW feeding or home made .many are reluctant to do raw and ask what other type of bagged dig would you recommend.And this is what I tell them( and for all those recommending any commercial dog food in the write up) ” right now your feeding Mcdonalds and its not working and making you sick and you want to feel better but dont want to cook for you or your family real clean foods that you know and can trust for reasons of your own.so I tell you well if you dont want to stop eating commercial foods the Maybe try Burger King and if that dosent work try Wendy’s and so on…….. people crap is crap and we can only trust what nature intended for the family four legged and two legged.and nothing can good can come out of a dry bunch of kibble. Ahmen

  20. Brigitte Tartot

    My Dobes did not even come close to their bowls when I introduced Fromm. I simply threw a 80 euro “attempt” (approx 100 USD and change) to the garbage. I think I’m very lucky having those “deadly spoiled” Dobes around, as they hate everything there is in the market and lock me up in the kitchen EVERYDAY to serve “their Majesties” only home made organic meals. It is a big fat trouble for me, but then everyone can SEE the benefit I get out this trouble. Bursting healthy (spoiled) Dobes.

  21. Brigitte Tartot

    I am not in the least surprised when it comes to Chinese guys. These people EAT DOG MEAT as a ….. delicacy. Why would they trouble to think twice when it comes to dry dog food ingredients? This melamine scandal is little known among dog lovers, but it’s 1000000% true! Chinese “recipe” for dry dog food “complied” with the vague FDA recommendations about “protein, fiber and fat”. The Chinese used shoe soles for “protein”, melamine for “fiber” and engine oil for “fat”…. Yessss. That simple!

  22. Vera Mills

    I only use K9 Natural which is a raw diet that is either frozen or freeze dried from New Zealand. It has meat, organs, blood, green tripe, green lipped mussel and fruit and veges. Nothing else !!!! Ther is not one number or chemical name on the ingredient list. My havanese puppy was on kibble and terribly itchy when we got her from the breeder, but now is a happy healthy non itchy dog.

  23. Juliana

    That´s why I only give my dog home-baked treats! I make them myself, using fresh ingredients, and he love´s it!

    • Lisa

      Hi Juliana,
      perhaps you can share your home-made treats.

      Thanks

  24. Utsava

    Fromm dog and cat food is my personal favorite for many years! Their vitamins are NOT from china, but from Europe and their food is 100% china-free (unlike most brands who use vitamins ‘made in america’ but some are still from china). Their meats are medication free and everything is USDA inspected, and made in their own factory, fresh. They do LOTS of quality control and are the best. Please don’t get sold on high meat protein diets; a lot of companies use cheap meat meals which are difficult to digest and plants have the same amino acids as meats. Meats also have carcinogenic substances in it. Fromm uses meats but also peas and pea protein, believe me it is healthy! My dogs are very healthy, and only when I went with other companies I had nothing but issues, but with Fromm there is never an issue or recall.

    • Sandy

      I have used Fromm 4 Star Naturals kibble for years also, I am VERY satisfied with the quality. My shelties love it and are also very healthy.

  25. I’ve been feeding Acana Pacifica along with some organic home cooking, some organic fruits and veggies, some organic raw nuts, and freeze dried wild caught salmon filet treats. One of my dogs has always had bile issues and acidy looking stool. We have tried all sorts of “high end” foods both wet and dry, and none have performed as well as the Acana. Her stool is totally normal now and no bile issues since.

    After reading your article I asked some questions about Acana Pacifica and this was their reply. I’m pleased with it, how about you?

    “Our fish is tested for all heavy metals including mercury by the Freshwater Fish Company and Celtic Seafoods. In addition to this, we audit their facilities and do our own third party testing of heavy metals quarterly. The fish species that we use are generally smaller fish; larger species contain higher build-ups of naturally occurring metals in their bodies.

    When it comes to food safety, Champion Petfoods follows the same protocols as any food processor making human foods. We are a HACCP Certified facility. Before being accepted, all incoming ingredients are tested by our Quality Assurance Team in our onsite laboratory. Ingredients must pass tests for physical properties, nutritional composition, mycotoxin testing and PV values. Only after passing all Quality Assurance tests are ingredients accepted into our Kitchens.

    Our Quality Assurance technicians sample the product and send it to a Government Certified Laboratory for Microbiological testing. Every sample is tested for known pathogens: Salmonella, Listeria, Clostridium, and Enterobacteriaceae which includes E. Coli and other Coliforms. All of our finished kibble is held before shipping in order to have Nutritional testing as well. No product is shipped until all of our tests come back clear.

    Most of the vitamins and minerals in our foods are naturally occuring from the fresh ingredients.

    All of our minerals are produced and sourced exclusively in Canada. Our vitamins come primarily from North America; if they are not available from North America we source from four European producers. Vitamins sourced outside of North America come from Switzerland, Germany, United Kingdom and France and are produced in these countries exclusively. We do not source or use vitamins or minerals produced in any other countries.”

  26. Robert

    All of you are writhing a loot about the dog foods but no one actually wright anything with the information “that food is safe”
    My question is : Is there a dog food that I can trust , what would you recommend .

    • Robert, you can trust raw and dehydrated/freeze-dried foods or kibbles that don’t contain synthetic ingredients. There are only two kibbles that we’re aware of that have whole food nutrition: Carna4 and Nature’s Logic.

      • Patricia Najafabadi

        Thank You for that info. I just phoned them and they assured me that they do not import any ingredients from China. 100% Natural, Human Grade food ingredients.

      • Lucille

        What raw foods can you recommend? I’m currently using Holistic and Eagle Pro for my 3 babies. Are those safe? Thanks a lot!

  27. Cheryl

    I was under the impression that the recall from 2007, it was actually the gluten sources that had melanine. Premix is vitamins and minerals, they would not want to increase protein levels in vitamins and minerals would they? Gluten on the other hand is grain protein. A friend of mine worked in a laboratory that was testing for this. The sad thing is that people will keep buying tons of stuff made from China… If you want to really do something stop buying all China made products, not just a few ingredients in some pet foods. Also, the people that were responsible for the melamine contamination were actually put to death.

    • Yes, it was premix, and yes, they would want to boost the protein content of premix. Protein is one of the most expensive label ingredients to get into the bag, so food manufacturers are quite happy that premix can boost the protein content of the finished product as this means less meat needs to go into the bag and less money.

      • Jane Anderson

        I was impressed with Nature’s Logic so tried it. Seemed real good, the dogs loved it. I googled a lot and found some criticism of too much protein in NL. I quizzed them on it and got back “the vitamins come from the food”. That’s nice but what about the high protein and fat. “I would not be afraid to use NL.” That’s nice but address the question! There is a lot of protein in their food. Also a lot of fat. If a dog is prone to kidney disease but tests ok, is it ok to feed that dog NL? “High protein and fat is good for dogs.” That’s nice but that wasn’t what I asked. Before I continue to feed Natures Logic, I would like to know of a controlled study of lifetime feeding on lots of dogs, how they fared eating NL all their lives. Are there any available?

        • Jane, it’s difficult to feed a carnivore too much protein. The dog’s physiology screams they should eat meat and they’re not meant to eat grains and plant matter. As for kidney disease, it’s not protein that creates the disease, it’s poor quality protein, such as those found in grains and grain byproducts.
          There are no controlled studies of any dog eating any food for their entire lives. Most pet food studies are done for a few weeks, that’s it. However, there are millions of raw fed dogs who eat a very high protein diet who thrive throughout their lives.

          • Brenda

            A Prey Model Raw Diet is NOT high protein. It is “just right” protein. You can visit the USDA website for the protein levels in different types/cuts of meat. Raw meat is 80% water. PMR is an optimal diet for dogs with kidney issues. For any dog, really.

  28. Tammy

    My Irish Setter eats Blue Buffalo brand dog foods. Can anyone tell me if they know of it having anything bad in it?

    Thanks,

    Tammy

    • Yes! Synthetic vitamins and minerals!

      • Saigone

        Hi. I feed my dog Acana. And lately I mix cooked rice, veggie and fish into the kibbles. Have I made the best choice? Thanks.

        • You’re heading in the right direction – but the best choice would be to stop feeding that processed commercial food altogether and replace it with meat and even a few veggies. But make sure your dog also has a source of calcium. If you don’t know how to balance your dog’s diet, then look for a freeze dried or dehydrated diet to replace your kibble – or preferentially, a commercially made raw diet.

      • Walter OBrien

        Okay. I work in the food ingredient industry (humans). I sold ingredients for 25 years.

        You’ve left a lot out of your column, such as the fact that with human foods if a company buys potatoes from outside the country, the food doesn’t have to identify that they are using potatoes from outside the country. I used to deal in fruit juices and I can tell you that the OJ you’ve got on your table may not be from California or Florida.

        “Synthetic vitamins and minerals.” You do realize that there are a LOT of vitamins and minerals that are only available as synthetic. You do realize that from a chemical point of view, salt that is mined is synthetic?

        • Of course all vitamins and minerals are available in whole foods! Every vitamin and mineral is available in food, along with their cofactors.

      • Tammy

        OMG! I buy this food because it says made in the USA. My Abbie developed liver issues last year. Could this synthetic vitamins and minerals have caused that? Can you tell me or name a website of what dog foods are safe? I feel like a horrible Mommy for feeding her this stuff now. I only have a PetSmart here in town and they only sell a limited number of brands. Help!!

        Tammy

    • I fed my dog Blue Buffalo after she was diagnosed with liver damage, which she
      got from eating Kibbles & Bits homestyle dog food with BHA in it.
      She loved the stuff and we didnt know all the hazards then. Within 2 weeks of feeding
      her Blue’ she started acting more frisky. Within 6 weeks her fur started getting darker
      (she had black fur) from one end of her to the other it got darker and healthier looking.
      I took her for blood work to check her liver 3 1/2 months after starting her on Blue and
      all her tests were perfect and she was healthy again. You can go to the Blue site and
      read other reviews. Some people had animals close to dying and they recovered
      eating BLUE. So if it has unhealthy vitamins in it I dont see how these animals , including
      mine were doing so well. Now if they could just make it taste like Kibbles & Bits without
      the ‘POISON’ the dogs would be very happy. BHA is nasty stuff and so is BHT anything that
      has it you should throw away. They put BHT in our cereal..read your lables. The FDA allows
      so many parts per million even tho it causes tumors, cancers and other bad stuff. We along with our pets are being poisoned !!!!

  29. Marilyn

    I feed my Maltese Solid Gold Little Bits . I thought it was a good food it now I’m doing research!! My heart goes out to those who lost pets because of bad food.

  30. Stephanie

    I use Flint River Ranch Trout and Potato. Right on the website, it says, “Proudly Made and Sourced in the USA”. I hope this makes me safe??? My Lab is 11.5 y/o, and she’s been on this food for a few years now, and her coat is gorgeous, she’s healthy and happy.

  31. I was wondering about raw mixes for ex. Bravo,Primal, natures instinct??? I have a 10 week old puppy and I have been feeding Bravo raw food. Can he get all of his nutrients without the vitamins added I. Already??? I also supp. With krill and coconut oil,spirulina and e3live???? We just lost 2 of our labs recently due to cancer and I can’t stand the thought of something happen ending to him.

  32. Shea

    Can someone give me a food that is safe for dogs with allergies. Is the natural balance limited ingredient food safe. Can’t do raw diet so need brabnds of dog foods that I can buy that don’t use the premix. Thanks

    • Linda

      Fromm brand Holistic foods are my choice for my dogs. Made by the same family since 1902 and never had a recall. Used by more top show breeders than any other food.
      This link has all of the info you need. You can even click the top of the page store locator and enter your zip code to find the nearest distributor.
      frommfamily.com

    • Anna

      We feed Nature’s Variety Instinct LID (turkey flavor) – which is made in Lincoln, NE.
      Since switching from Natural Balance LID, our dogs have had no allergy-related problems, whatsoever.

    • Jackie Burfield

      Hi Shea – Try Nature’s Variety Instinct Grain Free Rabbit….It has limited ingredients and includes cranberries and blueberries…my dog has allergies too and this kibble does not contain apples or carrots which a lot of the kibbles have and I know my dog cannot have these.

      • Did you know that Nature’s Variety imports their rabbit from China?

        • Robin

          I thought it was primal that imports their rabbit from China…

          • BchGirl

            I believe their rabbit is imported from New Zealand?

    • Lynn

      First get in touch with Hemopet/Dr. Jean Dodds for saliva testing and find out what the allergies are, then feed raw homemade food and treats. I did that years ago for my golden and she is now awesome!

    • Jennifer

      Shea, If you don’t want to feed them dehydrated or frozen raw two kibbles to consider (as Dana states above) are Carna4 and Nature’s Logic. No synthetic ingredients, all vitamins from food sources. :).

  33. Wendy

    I sent an email to the company Natura who make California natural, Innova, Healthwise and a few others. This is what they had to say about their procedures…

    Thank you for contacting us and for taking interest in our products. All of our ingredients are sourced from local suppliers or companies outside of China. Natura’s products are subjected to well over 100 defined quality control checks throughout the manufacturing process. Along with the use of only the highest-quality ingredients, these structured and rigorous checks ensure a high-quality and safe pet food product.

    Multiple tests must be passed and specifications must be met for all raw materials and at many key control points during the manufacturing process before any food or treat makes it out of the manufacturing facility and onto the shelves of your local retailer.

    Some of the key points in Natura’s Quality Management and Manufacturing Process that have numerous checks are:

    ·Material Supplier Selection & Approval

    ·Delivered Raw Material Inspection, Analysis & Traceability

    ·Accurate Recipe Assembly & Consistent Mixing

    · Monitoring of the Cooking Process with In-process Specifications Confirmed

    ·Correct Packaging Verification & Tracking

    ·Ingredient & Finished Product Testing including for melamine & cyanuric acid

    ·Warehouse Inventory Management with Full Traceability of Ingredients & Finished Products

    All checks conducted require quality control verification. Some of the checks used involve laboratory analysis for a nutrient such as protein or for a potential naturally occurring toxin such as aflatoxin. Other checks involve a sensory assessment by an experienced technician for product characteristics such as color and aroma.

    In addition, many more in-depth analyses on a detailed and structured schedule are performed on both raw materials and finished products.

    If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact us at your convenience. We are available Monday through Friday from 8am to 5:30pm CST at 800-532-7261.

    Warm Regards,

    Joleen
    Natura Product Advisor

    We invite you to discover what goes into every bag or can from Natura Pet Products because you deserve to see beyond the bag. Please visit our website at http://seebeyondthebag.com/.

    • Thanks for sharing Wendy. It’s interesting they don’t state the country of origin for their premix, only that the company itself is outside China.

    • syracuseny

      Natura is a Proctor and Gamble company and has had MANY MANY problems with quality, recalls, etc. etc. I would NOT feed my dogs any of these products. California Natural is horrible, as are Innova and Natura. They were good before Proctor and Gamble bought them out, then they went down the drain.

    • Patty

      Don’t know if you are aware of the fact that Natura was sold to Proctor & Gamble. Do you trust Proctor & Gamble to do the right thing? Folks need to realize that there is no such thing as a good kibble. ALL kibble is over-processed, dead, “food like” substances and you really have no idea exactly what is in it. No one is watching out for human foods do you really think anyone is watching out for pet foods? I wouldn’t trust the processed raw foods either, they are just a step up from premium canned. You also need to realize that synthetic vitamins are NOT food, they are CHEMICALS made from petroleum. The body actually treats them as toxins…toxins tax the body and especially the liver. There is nothing more important than the food you put into your dog’s body…NOTHING. They are what they eat. I don’t think that most people have a clue about how really important food is to health…if they did they sure wouldn’t be feeding kibble!

    • also stay away from anything with wheat gluten..or .by products, animal digest (yuck), corn.
      MOST Dog food companies dont really care about our pets, they only care about money to be made
      Read the labels and keep your pet healthy

  34. connie

    I became so concerned about commercial dog food with the last round of recalls that I swithced all seven of my dogs to raw. I want to know at they are eating. They are SO much healthier now.

    As a previous post mentions, just because a label reads “manufactured in the US for ….” or “distributed by …., USA”, doesn’t mean the ingredients are from the US. Call the number on the package and ask where they source their ingredients and get contact info for the source and call them.

  35. JosiesMom

    Having done my homework and knowing personally of friend’s pets that died from the melamine poisoning. I have moved completely away from ANY processed commercial food or kibble and ALL my rescued ferrets get converted to raw natural meaty bones and whole prey!

    • when feeding raw dont you have to worry about the anti biotics and hormones they put in meat these days ? Or are you feeding them things without all that stuff ?

      • Jeri

        Not if you buy antibiotic/steroid/hormone-free. If you get a grass-fed and finished/pasture-fed meat source (local farms are often a way to go as long as they aren’t big commercial outfits).

  36. Diane

    I have done some major research and had several conversations with Evo which we were feeding our Italian Greyhounds. We now use Arcana – as natural – everything from Canada and made there. The food is ” human food grade consumable and they do not buy anything from other countries. We thought we were doing the “right thing for our dogs’ health” using organics but now make our own food and supplement with Arcana. Our dogs’ coats are softer- they are not shedding as much and they look healthier! I am a nurse and I have also discovered that most aspirin and vitamins sold in the U.S. are also made in China. The only vitamins I can find made in the U.S. are VitaFusion. Just remember – Made in America” doesn’t necessarily that a product Is composed of products from the U.S.

  37. Robin

    Why can a food product be labeled “Made in America” with ingredients that originate from other countries? Newer “Quality Theories and Processes” advise companies to meet only the bare minimum of standards with their products. If they surpass the minimum, it affects their bottom line. So they get the cheapest and “trust” them. The Auto Industry(not a great industry either)does force suppliers to list origin of ALL the raw products that go into a car by EPA Law. Too bad FDA doesn’t care as much about the living.

  38. Barbara

    Okay folks, I went with the advice of calling one of the pet manufacturers of the pet food that I use. EVO, Cat & Kitten Food. Although this if or cats, I have dogs too and the process looks the same. Evo is part of Natura who makes dog food as well. I talked to a woman who advised me to go to their website at Naturapet.com and click on “Whats In The Bag” from the drop down menu- top/right corner. Every ingredient origin is listed. Even though the word “premix” was not available “vitamins” was available. Nothing from China (Thank God). I verified I was concerned about India as well and she said only one or two of the their foods used vitamins from India but that they had high standards. I will opt to not get any food that has anything from India though. It’s hard to know and if in fact they are telling the truth. It looks like you will have to go to each manufacture as Dog Naturally suggested and do your homework. I feel it’s good for these companies to get called and questioned about these things. Good Luck everyone.

    • Thanks for sharing Barbara!

    • syracuseny

      Be very wary of South American locations as well. Purina and others have facilities there, and we know Purina has been killing dogs with poison food and treats…

  39. Diane

    We give are dog homemade and Innova Evo 95% beef (canned and dry) but The label does have a long list of supplements. How do I find out if some of this is made in the USA or slurry made in China? We started using this because it was rated the top dog food in several studies but now I am wondering?

  40. Don

    Great article. I’ve become more and more concerned about the quality and origin of pet foods and treats lately. I would NEVER eat any China exports personally nor would I ever give them to my pets. The safety standards there are lax, greed is high, and they know their victims are thousands of miles away. On a side note, apparently more and more HUMAN supplements are also originating in China; I read where they now control a large percentage of certain vitamins and minerals that are produced globally. One other problem is that you may purchase food products from some other country besides China where they actually mix in some Chinese-sourced ingredients that are not identified as such. (Canned juices are one example.) The big problem is that pet food manufacturers can get away with outrageously poor standards, all with very little regulatory risk, except for advertising claims that are overseen by the FTC. However, from a practical standpoint, the FTC is nearly useless; they are understaffed and getting their attention and enforcement action would take a miracle in most instances. Dog and cat foods absolutely need to be raised to human food grading standards and regulated as such. Because of corporate lobbyists and politics, that may never happen. In the meantime, we should name and shame companies that aid and abet the purveyors of this garbage – especially the retailers that pipe this stuff out to the masses. I’ve spent quite a bit of time looking into this stuff, and thanks to sites like yours and others, I’ve learned a lot. However, the vast majority of people probably haven’t a clue about the toxic nature of what they may be feeding their beloved pets, and that is a travesty.

  41. Bill

    Read the label and be wary if it simply says “Distributed by XXX Corporation” instead of stating the country of origin. This is another trick used to mislead the consumer to beleive the product was made in the USA. Our pets should not suffer and die because of a major US companies greed.

  42. Joey

    Well…you have pointed out facts we know. Where are the suggestions for the brands of food to feed our pets. Now that is legitimate journalism.

    • Mary

      Well put– I was thinking the same thing, and am disappointed that someone from Dogs Naturally has not answered the question. If they are going to put all this negative information out there, the least that could be done is complete the investigatory journalism and provide examples of acceptable choices. Are there any choices other than homemade and raw out there?

      • We haven’t answered the question because our job isn’t to promote or advise against certain foods and companies, only to give dog owners the tools to do their own research. There are some kibbles that don’t use premixes at all and we listed them in this very thread, look up the thread a bit. Alternately, pick up the phone and, if your food contains premix, then ask where the premix and its ingredients originate.

        • Jan Mc.

          I have decided to use only a few company’s food. I will use Fromm, I do trust them. I also use Mulligan Stew, no synthetics, and I am going to use Annamaet. Their vitamin premix does not come or any ingredient in it originate from China. I am also going to use freeze dried raw foods that do not contain a premix and Mulligan Stew canned food.

          • Hi Jan – it’s impossible to state that vitamin premixes don’t contain ingredients from China. There is a loophole where they don’t have to claim the country of origin if the premix is made with Chinese vitamins but mixed together in a different country. Moreover, Mulligan Stew does contain synthetic ingredients: L-Methionine, L-Cysteine, Beta-Carotene and Selenium.

          • Jan Mc.

            Yes, I realize now about Mulligan Stew. I’m not using them atm, even though I do think they’re pretty safe to feed. I am still using Annamaet (I trust them) and I’m also using a food called Dr. Tim’s. Primal is my raw food of choice.

          • Jan Mc.

            I have inquired about Annamaet’s vitamin premix and none of the ingredients in it are sourced from China. Dr. Tim’s also uses a specially prepared pre mix without any China derived vits/mins.

        • Lenore

          What pre made raw foods are good. I’ve been using Darwin’s. They state they use free-range meat and organic vegs.

    • another thing you have to watch for if it says PACKAGED in the USA or by some
      company in the USA…they may have only packaged some crappy stuff from China or
      where ever. They know people are watching so now they try to deceive us by labels
      that dont tell all the facts.
      Also for any of you people who may eat frozen chicken I read that a lot
      of chicken would now be coming from japan or china (cant remember which)
      and then packaged in the usa. They also said the packages will not say where the chicken
      came from !!! Only that it was packaged here…so eat at your own risk but dont give it
      to your pets lol

  43. patty

    what dog food can i trust , and what about the tremendous amount of vitamins in dog food and is there a dog food that does not put so manyvitamins in the food. average zinc in cup of food is 30 mill. and not water soluble and e even more. way to much for any dog , and havent heard of anyone addressing this issue. thanks

    • Dogs Naturally

      Hi Patty
      We are addressing the issue of zinc in the July issue of Dogs Naturally Magazine actually. If you are looking for a kibble without synthetic vitamins, there is Carna4 and Natures Logic. There are also dehydrated foods that are a very good choice.

  44. In the above article you mention the chemical names that are listed at the bottom of the ingredient list on the label pictured. If we are looking at the same thing the “long chemical names” listed at the end of the ingredient list are probiotic bacteria. Is that what you are referring to?
    I am currently using Potato and Duck for an allergy problem in one of my dogs. This food was not on the recall list but I may go back to home cooking, just knowing I’m using the same brand really bothers me.
    I just emailed Natural Balance about the premix, wonder what they will come up with.

    • Dogs Naturally

      We are referring to Vitamin C, Ribflavin, Niacin, etc.

  45. Elaine

    By “Premix” you mean a pre-mixed batch of vitamins and minerals if I understand what I just read correctly. The foods that I feed my dog are Dr. Harvey’s Canine Health and Honest Kitchen’s Preference, both “Premixed” foods. I was very concerned when you started mentioning “premix” over and over. I don’t believe the foods I use contain the “premixed” vitamins and minerals you speak of.
    You should clarify this for those of us that use this type of food.

    • Dogs Naturally

      Yes, premix refers to the vitamin mix that gets added back to food at the factory in order to meet AAFCO standards.

      • WP

        As you previously stated in the article. Thanks for the info.

  46. Marcie

    I really appreciate the article about foods made in China – Since the massive recall 5 years ago, I’m VERY careful about reading labels but the ‘premix’ you discuss would not be something I would have even known to look for. I’m still not completely clear on what exactly to avoid and wondered if, in this research you’ve done, you could perhaps make a list of food that are safe? I currently use Natural Balance Lamb & Brown Rice for allergy purpose for one dog but use a Turkey & Sweet Potato sold by Costco for my other dog.
    Thank you!

    • PAUX

      The Natural Balance brand does use a premix (slurry) in their products and I would suspect that the Kirkland brand also might, you need to ask them. My loving dog died due to eating Natural Balance, there was something that affects animals acutely or accumulative attacking their Liver and kidneys. The last batch, especially at the bottom of the bag, irratated his mouth, his stomach and then attacked his system, he dies on the way to the vet. Make homemade, you then know what he/she is getting. The pet food industry is a big business, you know when investment bankers buy up brands it is all about the money not your pets health.

      • PAUX

        That is irritated and died (in last post). Please cut out the main brand kibble, it is bad for our pets.

    • S

      Costco brand dog food is manufactured by Diamond. I know this for a fact. An employee at Costco told me.

      Diamond pet food is low quality. I would not feed anything by Diamond to my dog

      Google these keywords & you’ll find out more info: Diamond Pet Food Recall

    • Sara

      I just contacted Diamond about their premix. They responded in order that: 1) their foods are manufactured in the U.S.; 2) most ingredients come from the U.S. — some come from New Zeland, Germany and Belgium; 3) they screen “for other toxins besides melamine and cyanuric acid but heavy metals, pesticide residue, aflatoxin, vomitoxin, rodenticide, and many others”; and 4) they finally get into the China issue.

      “There are ingredients that are critical to our formulations (i.e. folic acid, taurine, vitamin C) that can only be sourced out of China. Our choice is to either include these ingredients or manufacturer our foods without them, which would not be in the best interest of your pet, in our view.

      “Some pet food companies are making “China-Free” claims despite the facts I’ve outlined above. They accomplish this by utilizing a loophole in European law. European laws allow for ingredients purchased outside their continent, then reprocessed in Europe, to be labeled with European origin. We could likewise hide behind that loophole in the law, and tell you what you want to hear, but choose not to for obvious reasons. I’d rather you not feed our foods than to tell you they are China-free, when they are not.”

      • I bought a liquid vitamin suppliment for my dog and didnt read ingredients till I got home.
        Everything in it was good EXCEPT it had BHA as a preservative !!!
        So you could make sure your pet had his vitamins while you killed them with BHA

        Look up BHA or BHT on the internet and you will see how bad it is. Then make sure you dont buy
        anything that has it. This includes people food as well

        They need a law to stop this POISON

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