Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And What Are Some Of These Ingredients Anyway?

(Chapter #1: Homemade vs. Processed Foods)

Dogs are meat-lovers, but are not true carnivores and cannot exist on meat alone. In fact, a balanced diet for dogs, unlike cats, can include as much as 50% carbohydrates.

Experts agree, when reading dog food labels, meat should be the first ingredient (per the CVM requirement that all ingredients are to be listed in order of predominance by weight). An absorbable grain, such as rice, should be the next ingredient. "By-product" is an oft-used term in ingredients lists. By-products are generally defined as animal parts that are not used for human consumption, such as bones, organs, blood, fatty tissue and intestines.

ASIDE: Horror Story

After leaving high school but before starting college, I worked the summer in an abattoir. The building was three floors: beef, sheep and d pig. Each floor had conveyor belts which carried the guts, bones, organs and every other nasty by -product to a hole in the floor which dropped into a massive vat below the building.

This giant vat -from-hell churned the ‘by-products’ 24/7.

Being young, stupid and determined to prove myself to my much older colleagues, I accepted the challenge of climbing the greasy staircase to the top of this giant tub -a-guts to admire the view. “Piece of cake”, I thought.

Stepping onto the staircase would have been enough to send a wiser man packing; it was completely covered by a 1/16 inch coating of pure animal fat. A few more steps up the staircase and I understood why… the air itself was a pungent vapor of dissolved fat and bacterial decay.

Upward I continued as my colleagues jeered and shouted from below, well-knowing the sensory -assault awaiting me at the summit.

At the top of the staircase it was too late to turn back, I had no choice but to suck in the life-changing stench and peer into the pink, yellow, red and green (yes, green!) sea of sheer - stomach -churning chaos.

Oh, the horror!

Besieged by the stench and mesmerized by the circular churning of the many thousands of animal innards – I stood there for an eternity…..

The smells and images I beheld that day, have forever been burned onto my memory!

To give you an idea of the spirit -crushing power contained in the smell alone, I’ll add this final anecdote:

The cacophonic blend of putrid odors wafting -up through the hole in the floor to our work area, be came so bad at one stage during my 3-months of employment, that a lady working near me, a veteran of 5 years, ran from our processing room, teary eyed with hand -over mouth, dry -reaching all the way to the porcelain bus!

And we were 2 stories up!

Why would the abattoir bother to cultivate such nastiness?

You guessed it…. Pet food!!

Keep this tale in mind next time you buy dog food off the shelf.

Some say the use of by-products in dog food is perfectly okay. Per reviews, what you don't want is, "unidentifiable by-products," such as the very vague, "meat by-products." The "meat" umbrella encompasses some very shocking members: zoo animals, road kill, so-called, "4-D livestock" (dead, diseased, disabled and dying), and even (yikes!) euthanized dogs and cats. This last was confirmed by the American Veterinary Association and the FDA in 1990. We take some comfort in learning this practice was never widespread, but limited to, "small rural rendering plants and a few other assorted links in the pet food manufacturing chain," per www.consumersearch.com .

Pet owners are thus encouraged to look for specific origin of by products in ingredients lists, such as "chicken by-product." If a label says "chicken by-product," all the parts must come from chicken; the same goes for lamb, beef, and so on.

Others insist that foods that list by-products in their ingredients should be avoided altogether, considering the vagueness of the term itself.

On the plus side, dog food companies appear to be drifting away from the use of artificial preservatives in food. Chemical additives such as BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin have known some controversy over the years. Under scrutiny, many manufacturers moving to the use of natural preservatives, such as Vitamin C (ascorbate) and Vitamin E (tocopherals). These are generally considered to be much safer, but the result is a much shorter shelf life for these products.

BHA is short for Butylated Hydroxyanisole, and BHT is Butylated Hydroxytoluene and these are antioxidants. As such, oxygen reacts preferentially with BHA or BHT, rather than oxidizing fats or oils, thereby protecting them from spoilage. In addition to preserving foods, BHA and BHT are used to preserve fats and oils in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Both have been banned from human use in many countries. In the US, though, they are still permitted in pet foods. While for us, this would be enough said, studies actually have linked BHA and BHT with liver and kidney dysfunction.

Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative – and suspected carcinogenic – regulated by the FDA as a pesticide. While ethoxyquin cannot be used in human foods, it, too, continues to be used in many pet food brands. Ethoxyquin has been found to promote kidney carcinogenesis and significantly increase the incidence of stomach tumors and enhanced bladder carcinogesis, according to several studies. Carcinogenesis (KAR-sin-oh-JEN-eh-sis) is, quite simply, the process by which normal cells turn into cancer cells. There are also reports linking ethoxyquin with allergic reactions, skin problems, and major organ failure and behavior problems.

In 1997, the CVM made a request to manufacturers of ethoxyquin and the pet food industry to voluntarily lower ethoxyquin residue in pet foods to 75 parts per million (ppm), from the currently allowed amount of 150 ppm. To date, there is still no mandatory requirement to meet the voluntary request.

Article from: "Dog Food Secrets."
Author: Andrew Lewis.
This is just a small article from the book: "
Dog Food Secrets." If you want to read the full articles, you can buy the book from: http://aqoona.dogsecrets.hop.clickbank.net/
All right reserved to the author.