I saw some cans of Fromm's at a local store, but was concerned about the tomato paste and the Made-in-China for wet food (interestingly, lots of human foods are made with ingredients imported from China, including stuff I never thought of, e.g. Sara Lee Brand products!). I emailed them and here's their response (very friendly, thoughtful email, and fairly prompt response, too). My notes are in pink/parentheses:
Thank you for your email and your interest in Fromm Family Foods; I appreciate your patience in awaiting my response.(Regarding Tomato Paste)
I asked Rich Marino (bio-chemist and designer of our Four-Star cans) about Tomatoes and cats and he assured me that tomatoes are not toxic to cats according to the Common Animal Poisons published by the Iowa State University Press and written by the Minnesota Veterinary Diagnostic Labs, and College of Veterinary Medicine .
The amount of tomato paste we use in our products is just enough to ensure the palatability and product pH. Insoluble fiber is added to balance the product properly. The tomato paste is a natural way to deliver these essential attributes, which is why your cat loves the food.
Rich has thoroughly researched tomatoes and tomato paste. He has been utilizing tomato paste in his cat food recipes for over 15 years and it has demonstrated unquestionable performance.(Where Dry Food & Treats are Made)
All of our dry kibble recipes and treats are made here at our own USDA inspected facility in Mequon , Wisconsin ; the same way we have since 1949.(Where Wet Canned Food is Made)
Our canned recipes are in fact, made in a human food facility in China .
Fromm Family Foods elected to go to China because we could not find a human food facility in the US to produce our products. We searched extensively for a human-food plant to produce our products in the US but only 2 plants would agree to make our pet food at their human-food plant. Of those 2 plants we were not satisfied with the quality, they could not make whole foods (like whole chicken thighs, diced beef, or shredded duck), and they demanded gigantic product runs. As a result we were forced to look outside the country or not make our cans at all.
Our products stand out because you can recognize the meat and what's inside. There are clearly no mystery ingredients. You can see whatâ€™s in the can and you can smell the difference. Many pet food companies emphasize â€œMade from human-grade ingredientsâ€ or â€œUSDA inspected ingredientsâ€. The problem with these statements is that most pet food ingredients come from USDA inspected plants anyway, but those ingredients are not necessarily fit for human consumption yet it allows manufacturers to imply they are. The only way to ensure human-food quality is to produce products in a human-food facility like ours. China is not any cheaper for a manufacture when it comes to human-food products. We have to buy market price ingredients, the same ingredients sold in grocery stores. If we were buying by-products (or other â€œpet food gradeâ€ ingredients) we could retail our products for significantly less and our products would not look like they do, feed like they do, or smell like they do.(Inspection of Fromm's Canned Foods)
Our cans are heavily inspected by numerous governing bodies including the FDA, USDA, CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency), and agencies from the European Union. Every ingredient allowed in the plant must be certified by all of these agencies for human consumption. No pet-food grade ingredients are even allowed into our plant. We have Chinese Federal Inspection at the plant level every time we produce as required by FDA and USDA for importation into the US (for human food products). Every load has a history of manufacturing process and raw materials used which is reviewed by the FDA and USDA. We also have to conform to Canadian importation, a requirement which makes importing far more difficult. There are Chinese CCIQ inspectors at the facility and FDA/USDA inspection of the products before the products can be allowed into the States or Canada . Again this is a requirement for human-food facilities, and is NOT a requirement for pet food facilities (in the US ) as was the case with Menu Foods.
The ingredients suppliers we use have been routinely inspected and as a requirement by the FDA and CFIA we can only buy from those certified suppliers, otherwise we would not be able to bring our cans into the US or Canada. Each load has a detailed bill of lading which identifies each ingredient supplier. Most of the ingredients do come from China ; however, a large portion of our chicken does come from the States as the US exports large quantities of chicken to China . We also import our pharmaceutical-grade vitamin mineral mix into China from the US for use in our cans. Every ingredient supplier facility has CCIQ (FDA and USDA equivalents) inspectors present to certify the product completely safe and fit for human consumption.(Regarding the Recent Tainted Pet Food News)
I understand the overwhelming concern with products from China given the current news headlines but we have had our own problems here in the US . US sourced ingredients have caused severe mortality in both cats and dogs from alfatoxin and mycotoxin found in our grain ingredients. In the case of the wheat gluten from China , it was contaminated in some unconventional manner and somehow made it into our pet food ingredient chain. Had those companies used whole ingredients instead of making reformed meat (fake meat chunks) this would have never happened but alas cost is always a factor. Companies do their best to make the best products possible within the retail price points their products are targeted for. Unfortunately you cannot sell shredded chicken breast meat (like ours) in a 6.3 oz can for 69 cents, it just cannot be done. Companies know consumers want â€œhumanizedâ€ looking product, and they do their best to accomplish this with alternative methods of manufacturing. Unfortunately that means using ingredients like wheat gluten to extend their meats in effect lowering the final cost, practices we would never succumb to.
If we could make our canned products here in the US we would not hesitate. Eventually we would like to build our own cannery but until then we have to make our cans where our quality standards can be met. We refuse to make our cans in a pet food plant as the proper safety regulations regarding ingredients, manufacturing, and quality control are not currently in place. If our cans were not made in a human-food plant we would not be able to whole-heartedly guarantee our products the way we do. Our canned foods are inspected and certified to be 100% edible; 100% natural, and not affiliated with any by-product operation. We would not have it any other way.
I truly hope that this email helps with any confusion you may have had in regards to this topic. You can be reassured that if you choose to feed your catsâ€™ Fromm, you can feel confident that they are eating one of the safest and healthiest pet foods available.
If you have any other questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.
Fromm Family Foodsinfo@frommfamily.comwww.frommfamily.com
Mailing Address: PO Box 365 , Mequon WI , 53092