Saturday, March 13, 2010

Manufactured Raw Mince and Other Garbage

The trend is clear.  More and more pet-food companies are getting on the raw bandwagon.  As pet owners wise up to the many deleterious effects of commercial kibbles and canned-mush, pet-food providers are scrambling to make products to replace dry and canned pet foods.  If consumers want raw meats for their pets, manufacturers can mince and package ground meats and bones in cute chubs and tubs that they hope will appeal to conscientious pet owners.

There are several problems with minced meats and ground bones.  First, minced foods do not clean pets' teeth but provide a gummy sludge that leads to periodontal disease.  Second, frozen pet foods are processed is some manner and preservatives are added to extend shelf life.  These products are not exactly raw and unadulterated when pets eat them.  Third, a major provider of frozen pet food, Nature's Variety, ran into problem with their pasteurization process, by which they attempted to rid ground meats of bacteria.  According to Pet Industry News, Nature's Variety had to recall massive amounts of their minced chicken pet foods for fear of salmonella contamination.  Of course, pet food recalls for bacterial contamination in kibbles are commonplace, but we are just beginning to see problems in frozen raw products.

I keep asking myself why pet owners will buy these frozen and refrigerated "pet foods" at $3.00 or more per pound when they can buy the fresh ingredients contained in these chubs and tubs in their grocery stores for less than half the price.  Does merely labeling them as pet food make it okay to feed to Fido or Fifi, whereas whole chickens and meaty beef bones at the meat counter are not suitable pet food?  How silly is this?

Last week, I had the good fortune to talk with a major provider of raw pet foods in New York City.  Jerry Briffa wholesales raw-meaty-bones of many types and minced meats and ground bones for many raw pet-food providers.  He says the popularity of minced and ground products rests on the ease of feeding them without the pets dragging them around the house. Minced meats are eaten in the bowl, not dragged across the living room carpet.   Living in Hawaii, where we go outdoors 12 months a year, I never considered how hard it can be to keep enthusiastic rmb-eaters from soiling carpets with their meaty bones.  It is difficult to feed rmb in the house, unless one confines pets to an easily cleaned surface.

No excuses.  Pets need raw-meaty-bones to keep healthy teeth and gums.  Ground bones and minced meats are not suitable substitutes.  Find a place to feed your pets, train them to eat on a cleanable surface, and chalk up messes to the cost of keeping a healthy carnivore at home.

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