What is Ingredient Sourcing?
At no other time in history have we had the ability to source food ingredients from so many places around the world. However, some countries are not as cautious as others when it comes to food safety regulations, and pet owners are quickly becoming aware of the differences. In fact, in a recent petMD survey 98 percent of pet owners said they wanted ingredients that either come from the United States or from other countries with similar strict regulations. Here are three other things you need to know about where your dog food ingredients sourcing.
1. The Problem with Chinese Ingredients Hasn't Gone Away
Using pet food and treat ingredients from China has been stigmatized for some time now, and the problem only seems to be getting worse. According to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration report released in May, pet treats that were mostly imported from China were linked to more than 1,000 deaths in dogs and illness in some 5,600 others – along with sickness in 24 cats and at least three people.
2. Where the Dog Food is Manufactured Also Makes a Difference
You can source the best dog food ingredients from the safest parts of the world, but it's also extremely important how they are prepared into a diet. "A pet food company that uses their own facilities versus co-manufacturing or manufacturing off-site allows for better quality control as it relates to ingredient sources and processes," Mindy Bough, head of the ASPCA’s Pet Nutrition Services says. This is because pet food companies that use their own manufacturing facilities are able to set higher quality control standards (e.g., isolating raw ingredients from contact with dry products) and are better equipped to deal with quality control issues more quickly. Look for a label or statement on your dog's food stating it was "manufactured by" (instead of "manufactured for" or distributed by").
3. Only Trust Transparent Pet Food Manufacturers
Pet food manufacturers should not be afraid to answer your questions, least of all a manufacturer that uses a "Made in the USA" label on its pet food. Who formulates your diets, and what are their credentials? Where are your diets produced and manufactured, and can this plant be visited? These are just some of the questions you should be prepared to ask a pet food company you are currently buying from or are considering buying from.