Thursday, May 20, 2010
Epigen, the First Starch-Free Kibble
For the past decade, the Wysong Corporation has been working to invent a process by which to manufacture starch-free kibble. Remember that lots of starches are required to extrude kibble from machines and to have kibble hold its shape. Wysong says it has invented a process to manufacture kibble without starches. This could be a revolution in dry pet foods.
Dr. Wysong says repeatedly, in his 100 Truths About Pet Food, that starchy pet foods are not only inappropriate for carnivorous cats and dogs, these starchy foods are the cause of pets' chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cancers, digestive, kidney, and liver disorders. Pet owners are told not to feed kibbles and canned mush exclusively, and certainly not to feed the same starchy food daily for years.
To his credit, Dr. Wysong advocates feeding pets raw-meaty-bones. He laments that not many pet owners will go to the trouble to buy, store, and feed raw meats and bones. When I have queried the company about their advocacy of raw meats and meaty bones for pets, and their sales of starchy, dry pet foods, their reply is that very few pet owners are educated enough to feed rmb. They blame veterinarians and giant pet -food companies for deceiving the public about what pets need to eat.
As second best to raw- meaty-bones, Dr. Wysong recommends raw-dehydrated meats. Last year, the company launched an aggressive campaign to promote their raw-dehydrated foods, which do not require refrigeration. Not many pet owners can afford to feed a lot of Archetype dehydrated meats at $10.00/ lb. My dogs love raw-dehydrated Dream Treats, which not only taste good but are great food. Wysong also produces a line of canned meats -- all chicken, beef, or venison, with added minerals and vitamins,-- but these products are cooked and mushy. They do not clean pets' teeth. Wysong raw and all-meat products are far better nutrition for pets than other commercial pet foods, but they do not make a dent in worldwide kibble sales.
To his discredit, for 30 years Dr.Wysong has produced, and continues to sell, starchy kibbles for cats and dogs. Dr.Wysong says his educational program, to get pet owners to feed more raw meats and bones, is funded by sales of conventional pet foods (which is rather like a drug pusher justifying his sales of illegal drugs by saying he uses them to fund drug rehab programs).
Next month Wysong will launch Epigen , a starch-free dry, bagged, kibble. Epigen will be made available to distributors in June. I have not seen the list of ingredients or the price, but they say it is 60% protein (more than 60% meats and organs) and 30% fat. It will be marketed for both dogs and cats (and ferrets, I suppose). Free samples will be distributed widely. Do request a sample.
Take a minute to look at the previews and videos. Look at what Wysong is saying about the terrible health effects of feeding a monotonous diet of starchy pet foods and the benefits of feeding diets pets evolved to eat. Their educational message is congruent with raw-meaty-bones, even if their corporate practices are not -- yet.
The test of Dr. Wysong's sincerity will be if the company retires its own starchy pet foods in favor of their established line of dehydrated raw meats and Epigen. He is correct that educating most pet owners to feed fresh raw meats and meaty bones is slow progress, because the convenience of having a pet food that can be stored without freezing or refrigeration will always be more appealing than fresh foods, as long as pet owners are duped by vets and pet-food companies into thinking starchy kibbles are good foods for their pets.
Wysong is helping to unseat conventional kibbles by slamming their high-starch content and offering an equally convenient way to feed better food. It will be interesting to see how Epigen does in the marketplace. Price will be an issue for many pet owners. If Epigen is priced above premium kibbles, sales will be limited. If Epigen's price is comparable to premium kibbles, they have an opportunity to blow away the competition. I don't know yet what the price will be.
I see this attack on conventional, high-starch diets as helping advance the cause of raw-meaty-bones. Dr. Lonsdale does not agree. I think the small raw-minced-meat providers are also chipping away at the giant pet-food companies' markets. They know this is happening, which is why they are trying to market their cooked starches as "meaty" and "natural" and "fresh'. Albeit, Epigen and minced raw products are less than half-way toward feeding pets the diet they evolved to eat -- whole prey -- they do offer more appropriate nutrition than starchy kibbles and canned mush. Keeping pets' mouths healthy with meaty bones is not addressed by these products, however. Pets need raw-meaty-bones.
In the next decade, I expect global pet-food companies to revise radically their pet food products, as pet owners wise up to the high starch/ chronic diseases connection. The enormous financial cost of pets' illnesses, and the pain and suffering endured by pets, should be laid firmly at the doorsteps of Mars, Nestle-Purina, Colgate-Palmolive (Hill's) and their veterinary co-conspirators. To avoid such nasty confrontations, I predict they will evolve their products toward less starch, without taking responsibility, of course, for the enormous damages they have caused.
If Wysong and other small companies can make the connection in pet owners' minds between starchy foods and chronic pet illnesses, the global pet food companies can either fight back, with solid backing from brain-washed veterinarians, and claim fraudulent healthiness for their high-starch diets, or they can change their foods. What do you think will happen? And what will veterinarians say about their "100% complete and balanced" support of cooked starches for carnivorous pets?