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Anyone want to chat about "by products, "meal" ... or rather not think about it? ;-)

post #1 of 135
Thread Starter 
I've been seeing a lot of recommendations to avoid by-products in cat food. But cats in the wild don't eat the meat and bones and leave the "by-products." So why the bad rap? And is it actually deserved? dontknow.gif

The first thing that had to be tackled was figuring out just what ARE by-products in pet foods?

Well, the answer is two-fold. There are two different kinds. There are "meat by-products," and "XYZ by-product meals."

Searching, the first site I went to was about.com, because their articles about pet food usually aren't that bad. http://cats.about.com/od/catfoodglossary/g/meatbyprod.htm

Quote:
Definition: Meat By-Products are parts of slaughtered animals, not including meat (please note: no muscle meat included). Included are lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, liver, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue, and stomach and intestines freed of their contents.

What AAFCO doesn't mention is that meat byproducts may also legally contain: "4D animals (dead, dying, diseased, down), road kill, euthanized cats and dogs, including their collars. These source products are rendered, the fat is siphoned off to be used as "animal fat," and the remaining material is extruded to form "meat by-product meal."

"Meat," by definition, is limited to the meats of cows, swine, sheep, and goats."

Also Known As: Meat By-Product Meal

Examples: Meat by-products is a substandard form of protein, used by many popular pet food manufacturers because it is cheaper than using muscle meat


Wait - what? There's no difference between "meat by-products" and "meat by-products meal?" If both include 4D animals, and that's the issue, then I agree. I wouldn't want a food with by-products in it. And I feed the ferals Friskies. Those have by-products.

Well, it turns out the information in the about.com article is NOT correct. There IS a difference between by-products and by-product meal. agree.gif

AAFCO definitions: http://www.braypets.com/FRR/aafcodef.htm
Common ingredient definitions: http://www.skaervet.com/documents/Common%20Pet%20Food%20Ingredients.pdf

AAFCO definition of meat by-product:

"the non rendered, clean parts, other than meat, derived from slaughtered mammals. It includes, but is not limited to, lungs, spleen, kidneys, brain, livers, blood, bone, partially defatted low-temperature fatty tissue and stomachs and intestines freed of their contents. It does not include hair, horns, teeth and hooves."

Emphasis added.

AAFCO definition of meat meal:

"the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices."

Note: no mention of "slaughtered" animals, but the product is rendered.


So" meat by-products" are NOT a rendered product. That's "meat meal," or "chicken by-product meal," or "XYZ protein meal" or "XYZ protein by-product meal."


"Meat by-products" are actually stuff that for the most part is actually good for cats - something they'd be eating if they were hunting, for sure, so at a minimum is a species-appropriate source of nutrition/protein. So why are they considered a sub-standard form of protein to be avoided?


Franny Syufy in the about.com article says they're potentially from 4D animals. But given that meat by-products are not rendered and ARE from slaughtered animals, they most likely can't be from 4D animals (dead, dying, diseased, disabled (downed)).* These 4D animals are considered unfit for human consumption and are not allowed in the human food chain, but do go to rendering plants, and they are allowed in pet food. I can totally understand why "xyz MEAL" is an ingredient to be avoided. (More on that and rendering later), but I'm still curious why meat by-products are considered an issue.

*I still haven't been able to determine if 4D animals can go to into non-rendered pet foods. Is "chicken" in a pet food by definition NOT a 4D animal? Is it just the rendered ingredients that have 4D animals in them? No answer to this question yet.


This paper on the AAFCO and the Pet Food Industry written in 2006 does a decent job of explaining. http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/784/Patrick06.html "Deconstructing the Regulatory Façade: Why Confused Consumers Feed their Pets Ring Dings and Krispy Kremes."

Quote:
2. Ingredient Names

All ingredients must be listed according to AAFCO’s “common or usual” names; labels list “poultry meal,” “meat meal,” and “animal by-product meal” as ingredients, rather than poultry guts, feet and beaks. These common and usual names leave consumers asking: what the heck are meals and by-products? Are they good or bad for pets? Are some of them better than others?

...

However, before we blame the pet food industry for selling our pets these rejected parts in glossy packages adorned with pictures of wholesome chickens (which arguably constitutes misbranding under the FFDCA),[135] consider that by-products might be good for your pet. The heart, liver, lung and brain of animals are considered high quality food ingredients by animal nutritionists.[136] Furthermore, a cat or dog in the wild most certainly eats these “by-products” every time it consumes its meals. A wild cat doesn’t selectively remove the meaty muscle parts of the mouse while carefully discarding the bones and liver.

Unfortunately, also included in these “other parts” are the so-called 4D tissues, or “meat that came from animals that were dead, dying, diseased or disabled before they reached the packing plant.”[137] Such animals are rejected for human consumption and shipped to rendering plants where they are made into bone and meat meals.[138] More importantly, the inclusion of such tissues in pet foods violates the FFDCA. Such items are diseased and therefore “adulterated” under 21 U.S.C. § 342. [139] So why doesn’t the FDA bring an enforcement action for the industry’s blatant violation of the FFDCA? Most likely, the pet food industry uses such ingredients because they are cheap and while consumers remain oblivious to the inclusion of these diseased ingredients into their pets’ foods, the industry faces no opposition. Until the FDA feels external pressure, either from consumers or the industry itself, the FDA lacks incentive to enforce its own regulations. Comparatively, the FDA stringently enforces its human food regulations where it faces informed and vocal consumers and industries fearful of negative publicity.

Beyond the issue of the quality of the ingredients is the processing of the “meat and bone meals” themselves. Dr. Wysong, a veterinarian who has researched pet foods extensively and produces his own pet foods, notes that “processing is the wild card in nutritional value...”[140] This is because the nutritional quality of meat and poultry by-products, meals and digests can vary from batch to batch due to the inconsistency of the raw materials used by rendering plants.[141] Even assuming that the by-products possess nutrients pets need, there is no proof that modern pets are able to digest these ingredients after the harsh rendering and cooking processes.[142] Thus, there is no proof that pets are able to obtain any nutrients from these cooked ingredients.

Furthermore, rendering does not necessarily destroy the hormones fed to livestock or the antibiotics, drugs, and even barbiturates used to euthanize animals.[143] Over time defenseless Fido ingests a significant amount of antibiotics and euthanization drugs. It doesn’t take a veterinarian to conclude that the presence of such “extras” can’t be good for your pet. It is important to recognize that AAFCO’s “common or usual name” regulations hide the truly dangerous components of your pet’s diet in benign sounding ingredients such as “meat meal” and “animal by-product.”

OK - but even THIS discussion doesn't address the meat by-products, JUST the rendered stuff (meat by-product meal). But it provides a point that I haven't found discussed elsewhere as re: meat by-products: batch consistency. Whose to say that batch of by-products isn't mostly intestines or stomach as opposed to lung and liver? So far, that's really the only downside I'm finding to non-rendered by-products. Of course, feeding a food with non-rendered by-products over time means you get different batches, so you get different nutritional profiles of the differing ingredients.

IMO, so far I think the non-rendered meat by-products are species-appropriate for cats, and I'm not yet sure they're not as good a source of protein as "meat."

**************************
Meat meal, chicken meal, by-product meals, etc. are a different story. From the same paper,
Quote:
What goes into the rendering vat? The pet food (and rendering industry for that matter) would have consumers think the rendering plants are full of plump chickens, fresh fish and healthy cows. Such images are routinely depicted on pet food packaging. Unfortunately, this couldn’t be less accurate of the true contents of a rendering vat. In fact, rendering persists because it provides an essential service: disposing of millions of pounds of dead animals.[164] Proponents of rendering claim that there is no other way to dispose of these dead animals. Dr. William Heuston, formerly associate dean of the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, argues that disposing of animals via landfills would create a “colossal public health problem,” because dead animals are the ideal medium for bacteria.[165] Cost and potential air pollution problems preclude burning the animal carcasses.[166]

Instead, United States rendering companies pick up 100 million pounds of “waste material” every single day. This “waste material” includes: heads, feet, stomachs, intestines, spinal cords, tails, restaurant grease, feathers, bones, and dead or diseased animals rejected from slaughterhouses.[167] Remember that under FDA and USDA regulations half of every cow and at least one third of every swine is not consumable by humans. Cancerous tissue, tumors, contaminated blood, injection sites and any tissues treated with a substance not permitted by or in excess of FDA or EPA limits is also rendered.[168] The inclusion of such items in pet food violates the FDA’s requirement regarding unadulterated food. Recall that foods containing “any part of a diseased animal” is deemed adulterated. [169] With an understanding of the rendering process and its ingredients, it is then unclear how AAFCO (and thereby the FDA) approves ingredients such as meat and bone meal for use in pet foods.

In addition to the “waste material,” six to seven million dogs and cats killed every year in animal shelters make their way into rendering vats.[170] The city of Los Angeles alone sends 200 tons of dogs and cats to a local rendering firm every month.[171] Road kill that is too large to be buried roadside, expired grocery store meats, and dead zoo animals are also thrown into the mix.[172] Recall from the discussion of the AAFCO ingredient definitions that meat and bone meal must exclude hair and stomach contents “except as may occur in good manufacturing processes.”[173] Considering that a 40 lb bag of dog food costs only $15-$17, that price cannot possibly cover the amount of time necessary to remove all the hair and stomach contents from the thousands of diseased and euthanized animals thrown into the rendering vats, not to mention the Styrofoam and saran wrap packaging from expired grocery store meats.[174] In fact, it seems downright impossible. The rendering industry readily admits that meat wrappers are mixed in with its raw materials, their inclusion betrayed by the presence of polyethylene (used to make saran wrap) in rendered products.[175]

Although pet food companies claim they don’t buy meat and bone meal from rendering plants that accept cats and dogs, the rendering industry acknowledges it would be impossible for a manufacturer purchasing products from rendering firms to know the exact raw materials of what they’re buying.[176] An employee of the rendering industry points out that cats and dogs can easily be included in chicken by-product meals because of the similar protein content.[177] Moreover, a rendering executive claims that Ralston purchased meat meal from his rendering facility for years, which included dogs and cats.[178] Although somebody at the rendering plant finally revealed the true contents of the meat meal, the industry executive is quick to point out that only Ralston stopped purchasing from them, implying that the facility continues relationships with other pet product manufacturers.[179]

The exact proportion of cats and dogs to cows and pigs in any given rendered production batch is difficult to determine. One rendering company estimated that it “rendered somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 pounds of dogs and cats a day out of a total of 250,000 to 500,000 pounds of cattle, poultry, butcher scrap and other materials.”[180] Some states have attempted to establish precautions against this quasi-cannibalism. For example, California law requires that rendered dogs and cats be labeled as “dry rendered tankage,” a product which is rarely used in pet food.[181] However, due to the uncoordinated efforts of the pet food regulation system, such precautions are practically useless when pet food manufacturers operate on a national and often global scale. Consider that it is perfectly legal for tankage shipped outside of the state of California to be labeled as meat and bone meal.[182] Moreover, California does not inspect meat and bone meals imported from outside the state.[183]

OK. Even though the former AAFCO President is on video saying "Fluffy" may be in pet food, forget the dead cats and dogs being in XYZ meal (and their collars, tags, and flea collars, that are not removed prior to rendering). They're not in chicken meal.

But saran wrap, etc. is. And I question the nutritional value of what's left after the processing required to make "meal." And, of course, there's the same "batch consistency" problem. Is it mostly chicken backs or heads and feet? dontknow.gif Does this batch have more saran wrap (expired meats from the supermarket/butcher) than another one?

Sadly, there isn't a dry food out there without some kind of meal in it. At least I haven't found it yet. But it seems to me that "meal" (rendered products) are the main non-grain ingredient that should be avoided in pet food, not the meat by-products (non-rendered) due to the toxin-potential, and because they contain animals not considered fit for human consumption. dontknow.gif Why is it OK for our pets to eat diseased animals - because the disease is rendered somehow "inert" by the process it goes through before it becomes food for our cat or dog?

Just thinking out loud here....
post #2 of 135
Lol, lots to think about, and I'll think of more comments later. . .but I have said, probably a lot laughing02.gif that I don't mind by-products in a canned food but I do avoid by-product meal in dry foods (well, not for the ferals. Sorry, ferals. Go catch a mouse!).

I don't know if "downed" chickens are prohibited in the human food supply. They can't use chickens that arrive already dead, because they can't be properly bled. But as long as the chicken is alive I'm pretty sure they can use it. A lot of chickens are injured in the transportation process and I bet they don't get pulled out. That rule is mostly because of mad cow disease and other mammal diseases humans could get. Bird diseases from an 8-week-old chicken raised in a confinement? Not too likely.

I've always thought that a named "meal" is the same as the named meat, just dried and ground dontknow.gif. Which you have to do to make kibble. I dunno.
post #3 of 135

I make my own cat food and sleep better knowing what the products are in his wet food.I

post #4 of 135

Note: All of my comments are in reference to non-rendered by-products.

 

I'm one who has never had an objection to by-products in pet foods. As you said, there's a lot of highly nutritious stuff that gets classified as by-products.

 

Some people say that there is also a lot of low nutrition stuff that gets classified as by-products. Maybe, but the final product (pet food) has to meet AAFCO nutrition requirements if they want to carry the AAFCO label which almost all pet foods do. That means a batch of by-products has to have a nutrient profile that makes it contribute in a meaningful way to the final product. And that's what matters, the nutrient profile. And with by-products we know those nutrients are coming from an animal source, not from a laboratory. A product that doesn't use by-products has to make up any nutrient deficiency by adding supplements possibly in an artificial form.

 

As to the "batch consistency" issue with by-products, does that really matter? I mean, as I said above, isn't it the nutrient profile that matters? I doubt a batch of by-products could actually be composed mostly of intestines and stomachs. The nutrient profile wouldn't make it usable. Or maybe it is usable. Maybe such a batch would provide exactly what is needed to "finish" the nutrient profile of a food being manufactured.  

post #5 of 135

All I ever read about byproducts is they are not real meat and therefore bad for cats, who need real meat. Of course, I also read feeding raw food for cats is bad because of bacteria and worms. Look at how many BARF feeders dispute the claim cats get sick by eating it.

 

Nobody can convince me we should assume byproducts are good for the cat just because they are things feral cats eat naturally since there's no way to know exactly what they are. To know what your cats are eating, you need to make it yourself.


Edited by EmilyMayWilcha - 6/24/12 at 3:09pm
post #6 of 135

Hmm lots of info to consider for sure! I personally would much rather feed non-rendered by-products than grains or vegetables, since by-products are species-appropriate in comparison to carbohydrates which are added as either fillers or low quality protein sources. However, in the wild when a carnivore catches its prey, it eats muscle meat, fat & organs. But by feeding exclusively by-products, cats are getting organs/fat/extremities only and I'm wondering how this may affect a cat in the long run? headscratch.gif

 

Also I wonder about quality? By-products are cheaper since humans are not consuming them, however, many animals who are mass-produced are pumped full of antibiotics, hormones, and god knows what else and when your feeding your cat the liver, which is the detox centre of the body, what the potency of these horid toxins are in the organ meat in comparison to muscle meat? dizzy.gif

 

I think ultimately when it comes to our cats health, and OUR health. The more we avoid mass produced anything (so buying local if possible) we are going to better ourselves in the long-run.

post #7 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violetxx View Post

However, in the wild when a carnivore catches its prey, it eats muscle meat, fat & organs. But by feeding exclusively by-products, cats are getting organs/fat/extremities only and I'm wondering how this may affect a cat in the long run? headscratch.gif
I don't think any canned foods have by-products only dontknow.gif. Not Friskies anyway.
post #8 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post


I don't think any canned foods have by-products only. Not Friskies anyway.

But some dry foods do!

post #9 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by Violetxx View Post

However, in the wild when a carnivore catches its prey, it eats muscle meat, fat & organs. But by feeding exclusively by-products, cats are getting organs/fat/extremities only and I'm wondering how this may affect a cat in the long run? headscratch.gif
I don't think any canned foods have by-products only dontknow.gif. Not Friskies anyway.

 

I think I have seen a canned product with by-products as the only animal protein. I could be wrong though. I wouldn't feed such a product if it does exist. What I would really like to see is a product with all  specifically named ingredients. Like "chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, chicken gizzard, etc..". I don't believe we'll ever see a canned cat food like that though or at least not one that does contain organs other than just liver.

post #10 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post

 

I think I have seen a canned product with by-products as the only animal protein. I could be wrong though. I wouldn't feed such a product if it does exist. What I would really like to see is a product with all  specifically named ingredients. Like "chicken, chicken liver, chicken heart, chicken gizzard, etc..". I don't believe we'll ever see a canned cat food like that though or at least not one that does contain organs other than just liver.

I am sure we would all love that, but unfortunately nobody includes that on the ingredients list. Companies know when people see "chicken" it is assumed cats eat the same food we do: boneless breasts and wings. It is a clever way of hiding what really is in cat food.

post #11 of 135
Thread Starter 
I've been working on this for a while, left it, and ran errands. So if I address anything that's been posted since I started, sorry. anon.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

That rule is mostly because of mad cow disease and other mammal diseases humans could get. Bird diseases from an 8-week-old chicken raised in a confinement? Not too likely.

I'm still researching this one. But given the amount of antibiotics used in animal feed (so far I've found reference to an FDA report that says 29 million pounds in 2009 http://grist.org/article/food-2010-12-10-fda-reveals-amount-of-antibiotic-use-on-factory-farms/ ), hopefully there aren't too many sick chickens.

On the other hand, given the way many of them are raised, it's not surprising many might become ill: http://www.psmag.com/health/playing-chicken-with-antibiotic-resistance-3533/
Quote:
Murray Opsteen has 18,000 chickens at his feet. He’s standing very still, so as not to crush them with his size-12 boots. Although the chickens densely carpet the floor around him — so densely they have little room to move — they aren’t making much noise. In fact, the primary sound in Opsteen’s vast barn, known in the poultry industry as a raising shed, comes from half a dozen powerful electric fans pushing the shed’s fetid air. Still, the air reeks, because the chickens are being raised atop their own excrement, a practice that hugely reduces cleaning costs. “They’re birds,” says Opsteen, a broad-backed giant who doesn’t mince his words after 18 years in the poultry business. “And this is the way birds live.”

Here’s how the process works: A nearby egg hatchery sends chicks to Opsteen’s raising shed just a few days after birth. They're given another 40 days to mature and fatten in the raising shed, and then they’re trucked away to a slaughterhouse operated by a grocery chain. After they leave, Opsteen scrapes six weeks’ worth of excrement off the shed’s concrete floor. Then the next huge flock of chicks arrives.

To help the birds cope with infections — the shed is forever teeming with the many types of bacteria and parasites that thrive in chicken excrement — drugs are mixed into the birds’ supplies of food and water. Opsteen’s not sure exactly what type of drugs they get; he relies on his feed supplier to get the mix right.

(Kinda makes you wonder about "human grade" food).

Of course, the antibiotics used in feed were typically to promote growth, not prevent illness. From the same article,
Quote:
From the farmer’s perspective, using antibiotics as growth promoters — an approach that U.S. Department of Agriculture antibiotics expert Todd Callaway estimates accounts for half of all drug use on farms — is simply money in the bank.

Since McDonald's began demanding chickens without antibiotics in feed to promote faster growth, the industry has turned to using arsenic (which also helps prevent coccidiosis). http://www.psmag.com/health/playing-chicken-with-antibiotic-resistance-3533/ Of course, where the chicken industry is concentrated (in the Delmarva Peninsula: DE, MD, VA), poultry waste is now a problem:
Quote:
...the Delmarva poultry industry generates a [ lot ] (my word, not theirs (they used a curse word bleeped at TCS)) of manure: between 12 million to 39 million tons every year. How much inorganic arsenic makes it into Delmarva groundwater from that fecal onslaught? Food and Water Watch speaks:

"Researchers estimate that between 11 and 12 metric tons of arsenic are applied to agricultural land there every year via poultry waste. Groundwater tests on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay’s Coastal Plains found arsenic in some household wells reaching up to 13 times the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) tolerance limit."

Then there’s the question of arsenic traces in industrial chicken meat. In 2006, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) tested chicken samples from supermarkets and fast-food joints — and found that 55 percent contained detectable arsenic. Citing the EPA, IATP reckons that 55 percent of arsenic found in poultry meat is inorganic, i.e., toxic. And here’s another way arsenic from poultry feed gets into the food supply: the jaw-dropping, mind-boggling practice of feeding chicken [ crap ] to cows. But that’s a topic for another post — one, in fact, that I’ve already written.


If you want to read about anithistamines, acetominaphin, and caffeine in our chicken (and the active ingredient in prozac in chinese chicken), this was published in April this year: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/05/opinion/kristof-arsenic-in-our-chicken.html?_r=1 (the chickens are fed caffeine to keep them awake so they eat more).

Anyway...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

I've always thought that a named "meal" is the same as the named meat, just dried and ground dontknow.gif. Which you have to do to make kibble. I dunno.

Which is what the AAFCO and the Pet Food Industry want us to think. But no, chicken meal becomes meal via rendering, and while the process itself may not be an issue for some (though it does affect the bioavailability of the ingredients), it's what is "chicken" that's the problem, really.

Here's Halo's webpage on it, and why they won't use chicken meal: http://www.halopets.com/chickenmeal/index.php

From the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/ucm047113.htm
Quote:
Meat meal is not meat per se, since most of the fat and water have been removed by rendering. Ingredients must be listed by their "common or usual" name. Most ingredients on pet food labels have a corresponding definition in the AAFCO Official Publication. For example, "meat" is defined as the "clean flesh of slaughtered mammals and is limited to...the striate muscle...with or without the accompanying and overlying fat and the portions of the skin, sinew, nerve and blood vessels which normally accompany the flesh." On the other hand, "meat meal" is "the rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of any added blood, hair, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents." Thus, in addition to the processing, it could also contain parts of animals one would not think of as "meat."

From the FDA discussion on rendering: http://www.fda.gov/ICECI/ComplianceManuals/CompliancePolicyGuidanceManual/ucm074717.htm
Quote:
BACKGROUND:

Rendered animal feed ingredients include the various poultry, meat and marine products which result from the rendering of these animal tissues. Rendering of poultry and other animal tissues has been practiced for over a hundred years as a means of salvaging valuable protein and fat content from otherwise waste material. For many years end products from rendering have been used to feed animals. The rendering industry utilizes packinghouse offal, meat processing waste, restaurant waste and animal tissues from other sources including animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter.

.....Different standards have historically existed for human and animal food concerned with aesthetics. The Center has permitted other aesthetic variables in dealing with animal feed, as for instance the use of properly treated insect or rodent contaminated food for animal feed.

Yeah, so maybe there are issues with the rendering process itself. Are those "treatments" from insect or rodent contamination (google rendering plants - stuff going to rendering plants always seems to be teeming with maggots, and obviously lots of flies at rending plant pits) entirely removed in the rendering process before it becomes "meal" for cat, dog, and farm animal food? dontknow.gif

But honestly, whether chicken or chicken meal, what goes into our pet food is still a waste product of the human food chain. That "chicken" isn't chicken breast or thigh - it's mechanically recovered meat (or the chicken necks and backs without very much meat on them) from the waste generated from the breasts and thighs we find in the supermarket.

And according to the AAFCO, "Chicken - the clean combination of flesh and skin with or without accompanying bone, derived from the parts or whole carcasses of chicken or a combination thereof, exclusive of feathers, heads, feet and entrails." So "chicken" might be the first ingredient listed in a food. But the next ingredient may be "corn gluten meal." And what the "chicken" provides is calcium from a heap of chicken backs, and the corn gluten meal provides the protein.

I mentioned this in the article I wrote about in the cost of foods comparison, but Marion Nestle, the Paulette Goddard professor of nutrition, food studies and public health at New York University, and Malden C. Nesheim, emeritus professor of nutrition at Cornell University, examined the pet food industry and the evidence for the value of its products and the claims made for them. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/01/health/01brod.html This is the NY Times article that discusses it. To this point,
Quote:
“All pet foods are made from the byproducts of human food production,” Dr. Nestle explained. “No matter what the package says, your dog is not getting whole chicken breasts, but what remains after the breasts have been removed for human food.”


As Born Free, puts it in the article "What's Really in Pet Food," http://www.bornfreeusa.org/facts.php?p=359&more=1
Quote:
On the label, you’ll see one or more named meats among the first few ingredients, such as “turkey” or “lamb.” These meats are still mainly leftover scraps; in the case of poultry, bones are allowed, so “chicken” consists mainly of backs and frames—the spine and ribs, minus their expensive breast meat. The small amount of meat left on the bones is the meat in the pet food. Even with this less-attractive source, pet food marketers are very tricky when talking about meat, so this is explained further in the section on “Marketing Magic” below.

In fact, the same article had interesting information on rendering and food safety. I notice that this article also indicates that the diseased animals CAN be used as "meat" in pet foods, and apparently do not have to be rendered (part in bold). dontknow.gif
Quote:
Potential Contaminants

Given the types of things manufacturers put in pet food, it is not surprising that bad things sometimes happen. Ingredients used in pet food are often highly contaminated with a wide variety of toxic substances. Some of these are destroyed by processing, but others are not.

Bacteria. Slaughtered animals, as well as those that have died because of disease, injury, or natural causes, are sources of meat, by-products, and rendered meals. An animal that died on the farm might not reach a rendering plant until days after its death. Therefore the carcass is often contaminated with bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli. Dangerous E. Coli bacteria are estimated to contaminate more than 50% of meat meals. While the cooking process may kill bacteria, it does not eliminate the endotoxins some bacteria produce during their growth. These toxins can survive processing, and can cause sickness and disease. Pet food manufacturers do not test their products for bacterial endotoxins. Because sick or dead animals can be processed as pet foods, the drugs that were used to treat or euthanize them may still be present in the end product. Penicillin and pentobarbital are just two examples of drugs that can pass through processing unchanged. Antibiotics used in livestock production are also thought to contribute to antibiotic resistance in humans.


Now, as mschauer points out, whether the "meat" is from backs and ribs, and includes those bones or not, doesn't really matter from a "guaranteed analysis" perspective, because the nutrient profile "assurance" means that the protein content, the amount of calcium, etc. are within regulated guidelines.

So a side-tracked and long answer to your question, Willowy. But no, meat meal in pet food is not just dried, ground up whole chickens. It starts as either waste from the human meat industry, and then includes stuff not considered fit for human consumption. Rendered products are allowed to include the beaks, feathers, feet, hooves, heads, etc. AND the wrapping the stuff comes in if being tossed from restaurants, butchers, or supermarkets.

Here is a video of a rendering plant. This is part 2 (the first part is picking up the dead cows and cutting the hides off to be sold for leather for coats, shoes, boots, etc.), the actually rending process. It's the first five minutes, the rest goes back to processing the hides.

Notice the maggots - and in the stuff from the butchers, restaurants, and waste from supermarkets, the packaging just all gets dumped in there.

It says embedding was disabled by request, so let's see what happens when I use the usual code with the identification of the video....
post #12 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUEZZA View Post

I make my own cat food and sleep better knowing what the products are in his wet food.I

Yeah, I do too. And I try to buy at a minimum vegetarian fed chickens, and organic when I can afford it. But I'm still not sleeping all that well. I'm not happy about not being vegan, and while we do better by our animals feeding them the same meats we eat, it still leaves a LOT to be desired.
post #13 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Violetxx View Post

Hmm lots of info to consider for sure! I personally would much rather feed non-rendered by-products than grains or vegetables, since by-products are species-appropriate in comparison to carbohydrates which are added as either fillers or low quality protein sources. However, in the wild when a carnivore catches its prey, it eats muscle meat, fat & organs. But by feeding exclusively by-products, cats are getting organs/fat/extremities only and I'm wondering how this may affect a cat in the long run? headscratch.gif

And that same prey animal is mostly likely eating from our lawns or farmed fields coated with pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Violetxx View Post

Also I wonder about quality? By-products are cheaper since humans are not consuming them, however, many animals who are mass-produced are pumped full of antibiotics, hormones, and god knows what else and when your feeding your cat the liver, which is the detox centre of the body, what the potency of these horid toxins are in the organ meat in comparison to muscle meat? dizzy.gif

Well, when you make your own food, at least you control the amount of liver, kidney, pancreas, spleen, etc. you use (and it's a small amount if you're using whole prey model feeding). But as the others have said, most foods don't use exclusively by-products.
post #14 of 135

I always worry if I switch a cat to raw food, I will mess up because you don't just open a can and dump it in a bowl. But all this talk about byproducts makes me wonder if it is better to make a mistake than to buy grain-free, low-carb wet food with "chicken byproducts" and "chicken meal."

post #15 of 135
Thread Starter 
Or even "chicken." dontknow.gif

Consider this: Is your diet balanced? Is your diet nutritionally complete? Do you track exactly how much of what vitamins and minerals YOU eat?

If you feed your cat meat, some organs (and those percentages are easily located), and the right amount of calcium (whether bones or a supplement), why wouldn't what you're feeding him be pretty much what he needs?

Consider this, by Vet Patrick Mahaney: http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/pmahaney/2012/may/top_10_topics_veterinarians_wish_pet_owners_understood_better#.T-fAHcVSTEc

Quote:
5. Your Pet May Survive, but Won’t Thrive on a Diet of Processed Foods

Why do dog and cat owners consider the most ideal food to be dry or canned pet food? Nature makes food, then humans highly process nature’s ingredients to create a "nutritionally complete and balanced" option conveniently available to pour out of a bag or can.

Unfortunately for our animal companions, there are serious short- and long-term health consequences associated with eating grain and protein meals, by-products, artificial colors and flavors, preservatives, and the recognized toxins and carcinogens found in many commercially available pet foods and treats. Diseases of the gastrointestinal (stomach, small and large intestine), dermatologic (skin), and metabolic (kidneys, liver, pancreas, etc.) systems, and immune system abnormalities (including cancer), can be correlated to these unnecessary food ingredients (see Are You Poisoning Your Companion Animal by Feeding Pet Grade Foods?).

When food substances are so radically altered from nature’s original format, energetic changes occur that reduce foods’ nutritive content. Human grade, whole food based, home prepared, or commercial diets having undergone minimal refinement should replace processed dry or canned pet foods.

Most pet foods cater to owner convenience instead of promoting a pet’s best health. Dogs and cats can survive, but will not thrive by eating pet-grade foods.

And by Donald Strombeck, Professor at UC Davis Vet school for 20 years (this interview was in context of dogs, and in the aftermath of the 2007/2008 melamine poisonings) : http://www.thebark.com/content/donald-r-strombeck-talks-dog-nutrition-and-pet-food-recalls
Quote:
Q: What do you think prevents people from cooking for their pets? Is it because they are made to believe that they must feed a balanced diet and they don’t understand how to do that by themselves?

A: It is more a matter of, do they want to spend the time doing it. If you look at human eating habits today, people more and more eat out, they buy processed foods, they don’t spend any time preparing food for themselves or their children. Whenever you process anything, especially a food, there may be eight or 10 steps—from harvesting to shipping, storing and on to the end. All you have to do is have one little error come in at any one of those steps and you have a food that can cause problems. If you go to a grocery store and get the ingredients yourself, and prepare it, you have more control over everything. But you don’t have control over anything when you buy a processed food. Every once in a while, you see a processed human food cause a problem, and that is going to happen the more people eat processed foods.

Q: What about a balanced diet? How can we ensure that our dogs have a fully balanced diet?

A: You know, that is overblown. Here’s an example. We have had animals who veterinarians put a controlled diet, like cottage cheese and rice, diets that didn’t balance out. Clients are instructed to bring the dogs back in a couple of weeks for a recheck, but they wait. And you see the dogs a year later, and they are still on the unbalanced diet, and doing fine.

It's really not rocket science. If someone wants to make ground food, there are time-tested recipes easily available (Dr. Pierson, for one). Whole prey model? Rotate proteins, provide 5% liver, 5% kidney (or something), 80% meat, 10% bone (or supplement calcium, easy to do), feed some sardines, a few egg yolks here and there, supplement with an omega 3 (also easy to do) to offset the high level of omega 6s in the meat... give a probiotic or not.... maybe provide Vitamin E if you're so inclined (the one I use requires one drop in one meal every other day), and you're providing a nutritious and balanced diet. dontknow.gif Or just feed commercial raw. It's all done for you, and uses human grade ingredients, many made in USDA facilities (not pet grade facilities). Quite a few with humanely raised animals as well.


Edited to add - another quote from Patrick Mahaney (from a blog post written during Pet Poison Awareness Week) in Feburary): http://www.petmd.com/blogs/thedailyvet/pmahaney/2012/mar/are_you_poisoning_your_companion_animal_with_pet_grade_foods#.T8ucU5Jh6LY

Quote:
Otherwise, feeding a home prepared diet has many nutritional advantages over commercially available pet grade sources even if the home prepared version is not 100 percent “complete and balanced.” I would rather feed my dog a combination of moist, human grade, muscle meat protein, whole grains, and fresh vegetable and fruit options having a somewhat varying or unknown cumulative nutrient content rather than any commercially available dry or canned option made with pet grade ingredients. This perspective is controversial in the veterinary profession, but my beliefs are based on clinical experience and common sense.

Just note he's referring to a dog with the grains, veggies and fruits comments.
post #16 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUEZZA View Post

I make my own cat food and sleep better knowing what the products are in his wet food.I

Oh - and I help other people here on TCS find better food choices, even if they want commercial. I just got to wondering if by-products really were so bad. I conclude they're not. But I also now think rendered products have no business being fed to any animal - just another reason not to feed any dry food. frown.gif
post #17 of 135

I find it interesting how far off my homemade cat food is from what a feral cat  would eat if he had access to small gamebanana2.gifhere is a source.       http://www.laynelabs.com/frozen-rats

post #18 of 135
Thread Starter 
Muezza, you say "]I find it interesting how far off my homemade cat food is from what a feral cat  would eat if he had access to small game"

What do you mean?
post #19 of 135

http://www.laynelabs.com/other-feeders/frozen-chicks    another great source of kitty food, mix a few of these in the food processor and you have something approaching a natural cat foodrockout.gif

post #20 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

Muezza, you say "]I find it interesting how far off my homemade cat food is from what a feral cat  would eat if he had access to small game"
What do you mean?

It is a rough life for a feral cat, they resort to eating rotting garbage when small game is not abundant.

post #21 of 135
Thread Starter 
Here is an analysis of feral cat diets. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22005434 It included 27 studies of only feral domestic cat diets (scat and stomach content analyses), 6,666 data points, and studies where cats had access to more than 5% of a diet from human sources were excluded.

On a DMB basis, the diet was 62.7% protein, 22.8% fat, 11.8% ash, and 2.8% carbs (all "incidental" from stomach contents). The omega 6: omega 3 ratio was 2:1, and the calcium:phosphorus ratio was 1.5:1. Most raw food diets target a Ca:P ratio of 1.2 or 1:1:1. The theory is that the bioavailability of minerals from bones is less than in supplements added to foods. Oh - and the omega 6: omega 3 ratio of most commercial canned/kibble is 17:1
post #22 of 135
Thread Starter 
OK. I'm looking at the Friskies pates I feed the ferals. Most of them ARE mostly by-products. And this "chicken by products" ingredient is confusing, because there's no AAFCO definition for it. ONLY for chicken by-product meal. So is it chicken by-products with water? Or rendered? dontknow.gif

This one has Turkey as the first ingredient though: http://www.friskies.com/Cat-Food/Wet-Cat-Food/Classic-Pate-Poultry-Platter

This one's interesting - lots of by-products, and then liver listed as a separate ingredient: http://www.friskies.com/Cat-Food/Wet-Cat-Food/Classic-Pate-Liver-Chicken-Dinner dontknow.gif

Funny - they all look like they're different, but they're all almost identical. laughing02.gif I mean the non-fishy ones, anyway. I didn't look up any of the fishy ones, as I don't feed them.
post #23 of 135
I would assume "chicken by-products" would be the same as "meat by-products", except from chickens instead of mammals laughing02.gif. Maybe they figure that goes without saying? dontknow.gif

I thought all the non-fish pate flavors of Friskies have turkey or chicken or some other non-by-product ingredient. Farther down the list, yeah, but in there. I don't have a can here too look at though.
post #24 of 135
OK, after looking at the ingredients on a few different canned foods, IS there such a thing as "chicken by-products"? All I see is "poultry by-products".
post #25 of 135
Well, here is my take on it.....
I don't trust the AAFCO, so for me their definition of it is a moot point. In fact, because of the AAFCO, the more I looked into it, the more I looked into the control they have (or the lack there of) over our babies' food and health, the scariest I got - which is precisely why I feed raw today.
This thread http://www.thecatsite.com/t/239691/nutritionally-complete-assurances-for-our-pet-food was my final push, coupled with Bugsy's medical needs for a better diet.
So, today I avoid foods that go into a pet food plant at all, and I really don't like rendering barf.gif
(I do understand the need for pet food though...... I just personally don't like it anymore)
The problem I have with by-products, is the complete lack of control. When the AAFCO already gives us so little control as it is, IMHO, by having unnamed by-products, such as "meat by-products", for example, you have no control whatsoever.
You don't know what is in there, how much of it, from what animal..... and I am not ok with that.

To top it off, I have a very bad experience with it..... It might be a coincidence, but it is too much of a coincidence to disregard..... Hope used to eat all wet, Ziwi-peak. Now, Ziwi-peak does have organs - but those are named organs, in the same proportions as fed in a raw diet, from the same protein/animal as the main meat. So, if Venison, it will contain venison liver, venison kidney, and so on. Also not rendered - it is cooked in the can, in a lower temperature.
Anyways - she ate that and was always fine...... I was looking into cutting costs and was directed to a brand called sophisticat (it's been a while) - a lot of flavors were grain free, sold on Pet Smart - it was very cheap - LOTS of by-products though. I was told by-products would be ok.....
That was it..... She got very very sick. Took quite a bit of work to being her back to her normal self..... And she couldn't digest any new proteins for a long while. Z/D (and medical treatment) saved her - then Ziwi Peak again...... And now raw.
So..... I am not sure..... She suffered quite a bit, and so did I. She was fine before by-products, and got sick when she had it.....
It might been a bad batch of food..... Sure, I can't guarantee what happened, but I rather stay away.....
post #26 of 135

Does anyone here trust how someone else is making your cats food? It seems like making a profit is the top priority of the pet food industry.I feel I can make a less expensive better quality cat food compared to the vast majority of canned foods out there.I does not cost too much to provide my cat top quality poultry or rabbit.LDG Thanks for the stats, I always suspected supplements added to cat food was too much. You all know I am joking about grinding up the frozen mice and birds, right?eyemouth.gif

post #27 of 135
Thread Starter 
Why need to joke about grinding up mice and birds? dontknow.gif I wouldn't want to feed wild mice or birds because of parasites (I see no need to be giving my inside cats dewormers because of the food I feed them), but I bought ground mouse for my cats. Only a couple of them liked it.

But supplements added to cat food (commercial kibble/canned) is totally necessary. The processing they go through to become "food" kills so many of the nutrients in them, if they aren't supplemented, they won't provide much nutrition.

Even if you're going to make home made cooked food, you need to supplement. What and how much of what, I have no clue. But raw food has the nutrients they need. IMO, it needs to be adjusted for the difference in the meats we feed vs. the meats they would naturally eat (omega 3 supplement), for not being fresh, transported, most likely frozen, thawed, and potentially refrozen before being fed to them... (potentially Vitamin E and taurine supplements), but the nutrients in raw aren't destroyed.
post #28 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carolina View Post

Well, here is my take on it.....
I don't trust the AAFCO, so for me their definition of it is a moot point.

Yeah, I have to agree. In fact, I don't trust the whole "complete and balanced" concept itself. Yeah, the diet I feed my cats has been analyzed and compared to the AAFCO guidelines... and because that "complete and balanced" thing has been drilled into my head, I feel more comfortable because the diet I feed my cats isn't deficient as per AAFCO (well, technically it is in manganese, but that's a whole separate topic LOL).

But I think the concept of advertising that pet foods are "complete and balanced" is a crock. The fact of the matter is that we have no idea of everything cats need, or everything that's in the food they eat.

The AAFCO guidelines are based of the NRC (Nutrition Research Council) guidelines - and "adjusted" for "bioavailability." YET... many of the guidelines are from studies in OTHER ANIMALS - not cats!!! So exactly how does that ensure we know what cats need? We learn new things about human nutrition and needs ALL the time - and we're not conducting that same research on dogs and cats. In the 70s and early 80s, pet food companies were killing cats with their "complete and balanced" foods, because they didn't know cats couldn't synthesize taurine. Fine. It's a guideline. But it isn't the end-all be-all against which home made food should be measured, IMO.

dontknow.gif
post #29 of 135
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Willowy View Post

OK, after looking at the ingredients on a few different canned foods, IS there such a thing as "chicken by-products"? All I see is "poultry by-products".

The AAFCO provides a definition for chicken by-product meal and poultry by-product meal. That's why the ingredient "poultry by-product" is confusing. I THINK it is actually a "meal," because the ONLY AAFCO definition for a non-rendered by-product is "meat by-products." dontknow.gif In chicken and poultry, I'd guess by-products are heads, feet, and maybe viscera. But chicken livers and gizzards get sold into the human meat market dontknow.gif
post #30 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post

Yeah, I have to agree. In fact, I don't trust the whole "complete and balanced" concept itself. Yeah, the diet I feed my cats has been analyzed and compared to the AAFCO guidelines... and because that "complete and balanced" thing has been drilled into my head, I feel more comfortable because the diet I feed my cats isn't deficient as per AAFCO (well, technically it is in manganese, but that's a whole separate topic LOL).
But I think the concept of advertising that pet foods are "complete and balanced" is a crock. The fact of the matter is that we have no idea of everything cats need, or everything that's in the food they eat.
The AAFCO guidelines are based of the NRC (Nutrition Research Council) guidelines - and "adjusted" for "bioavailability." YET... many of the guidelines are from studies in OTHER ANIMALS - not cats!!! So exactly how does that ensure we know what cats need? We learn new things about human nutrition and needs ALL the time - and we're not conducting that same research on dogs and cats. In the 70s and early 80s, pet food companies were killing cats with their "complete and balanced" foods, because they didn't know cats couldn't synthesize taurine. Fine. It's a guideline. But it isn't the end-all be-all against which home made food should be measured, IMO.
dontknow.gif
yeah.gif...... I very much today walk the "feed the cat, don't feed the numbers" walk, kind of "treat the cat, don't treat the numbers" concept. In my house for example, what is complete for one, is not for another...... (on the balanced and complete issue)
Of course there are guidelines out there we can follow - the calcium, taurine, so on..... But things -happen along the way - Bugsy and his skin itch - adding Omega3, Krill oil got rid of it, so there was an imbalance there....
Some cats digest some meats better than others..... Some do deal with by-products ok, some live 20+ years on junk dry food just fine..... others develop kidney disease, diabetes, IBD..... It's one of those things.... It depends on the cats, really...... I know for a fact 2 of mine couldn't do well on by-products: Bugsy and Hope. Hope doesn't have IBS..... So.... Is by-products good? dontknow.gif But is it good enough? IMHO no.
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