Let’s start by understanding what AAFCO name rules are. AAFCO stands for the Association of American Feed Control. This community was made to regulate the sale and distribution of food distributed to animals as well as animal drug remedies. They tell us how much of the ingredient is required in the product. One word identified in the list of ingredients can mean the difference of 25% minimum requirement of meat or 0% minimum requirement of meat. Anything that has flavor in the name has a 0% requirement of meat. Let’s use beef meal and rice as an example. These two ingredients must make up at least 25% of the food combined with a minimum of 3%. When you see a product that says “With” such as with gravy or a picture of beef or something that says beef-flavored, this means that the product must be at least 3% beef with water included.
Pretty shocking right? It appears unless you know how to read these labels and understand the key terms it’s almost like you are set up to be deceived in a sense. Brands that use the “flavor” rule that contains phrases such as Beef Flavor need to have something in their food that they can trace to the beef flavoring. For example, an ingredient that says beef and bone meal doesn’t mean it actually has to have meat in it. You may be familiar with some of these ingredients: corn, wheat, soy, by-products. Well, I bet you didn’t know these little fun facts about them. Corn turns directly into sugar in a dog’s body. Wheat is the number one food allergen. Soy can cause endocrine disruptions. By-products contain nasty parts of the meat that, most of the time, are a complete mystery to the consumer. With meat meals labeled on the back of your furry friend’s food, this can include rendered meats. What are rendered meats? I will tell you but be prepared. According to a CRS, Congressional Research Service, letter to Congress four D meats can include dead, diseased, dying, or disabled animals. What’s even more disturbing is another CRS report to Congress said that rendered meats can include deceased animals from animal shelters and you wouldn’t exactly know because the ingredients only say meat by-products leaving it as a mystery. Yuk!
A little side note about some manufacturers that make cat food. Some of these brands contain up to 46% carbohydrates. Sources of these carbohydrates include wheat gluten, brewers rice, and corn. Since amylase is an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates and cats cannot produce their own amylase in their saliva that means that they can’t break down these same carbohydrates in their mouths! Sounds pretty sketchy to me considering how food intended for carnivores is allowed to have less than 24% meat in their products. Fun fact time! Did you know that one cat food manufacturer is responsible for eleven cat food brands? Even more crazy is that these same brands make junk food for humans!
Let’s find some solutions! Well, the good news is there are some great brands out there that care enough to know what is going in their products and take extra safety precaution methods. One of these brands is the company Fromm. Fromm has been around since 1904. Their most classic recipe was actually based on their 1949 recipe. In fact, they are the first company to have premium kibble. They have three major product lines that include their classic recipe, a gold-line recipe that includes multiple protein sources, and their four-star nutritional’s. In total, they have 14 dry recipes. So, they are a pretty diverse line of food options.
A lot of interesting things to say about the company Fromm and the effort they put into their products. First off, they make their own food in their own facilities and all of their artisan recipes are flagged how they designed them. Interestingly enough, they hand-tune some of the machines that produce kibble which is unheard of with mass-produced kibble. Their food goes through many safety points throughout their process such as vetting their suppliers, testing raw ingredients, sending out the finished product to an independent third-party lab to test it before they release it to the public. The ingredients in Fromm’s food are always fresh and from the source. Their cat foods have a nice variety of fruit and vegetables in their foods, so you know your cat is getting a good balance of vitamins and minerals. Fromm cat food flavors range from game bird, beef, and salmon. A cool point about Fromm is that they run a buyer program which means that for every 12 bags of food you buy, you get a free bag of food free!
It’s worth taking the extra time in the grocery store to check out the guaranteed analysis and ingredients on the cans or bags of food for your pup or cat. That extra time can be the difference between poor, good, or great health! It’s also super important to get to know how to read labels and understand the wording used by companies in order to market it in a particular way just for selling points.