Are by-products of the primary (human) food industry questionable sources of nourishment for our pet

Possibly one of the most frequently voiced consumer lores around commercial pet food is that pet foods are made from waste.

There is a human trait, which leads to most people seeking employment in areas that interest them. A lucky few manage to find full employment in an activity that is their hobby or where their ‘love’ interest lies. This is equally true of people who seek employment in the Pet Food Industry.

A survey of people involved in the Pet Food Industry would likely show that the majority of them are intense pet lovers, particularly those in sales and in the professional fields of nutrition and health (technical) whose function it is to support and formulate pet food.

Many of these people keep pedigreed dogs, some are dog breeders at home, while others are active in breed clubs and show their dogs. These people feed their pets the brand they produce and sell. Would they do so if the by-products entering the food horrified them?

Veterinarians active in the industry, fully aware of the make-up of the food, will still feed the food to their own dogs without question.

Yet many people try to imply and convince consumers that the food is deliberately made from the nastiest waste materials imaginable.

By finding alternative uses for byproducts from the primary human food chain, the cost of primary food to the consumer is REDUCED.

Paraffin and Diesel are by-products of the Petroleum industry. Imagine the effect on petrol prices and the economy if a similar attitude prevailed, and paraffin and diesel were discarded or burned to rid us of these by-products.

Of all the animals on earth, man is perhaps the most wasteful. We become bored with the same food and need variety. We have a choice and preference profile to satisfy on a daily basis while we attempt to meet – but often fail – our daily nutritional requirements.

As purchasing consumers, we can pick and choose the foods we eat and hopefully will manage to consume a diet that satisfies our daily requirement of all nutrients including vitamins and trace minerals. If we achieve this we stay fit, trim and healthy.

There is a tendency for consumers to demand refined foods, often the greater the refinement, the higher the preference.

Refining foods for human consumption produces increasing amounts of byproducts.

One such by-product that is used by both humans and dogs is wheat bran. To obtain white flour for bread and confectionaries the wheat kernel needs to be polished, removing the protective skin, protein and oilrich germ.

A by-product of this process is wheat bran. The high fibre of wheat bran improves the micro health of your digestive tract, keeps you regular and absorbs many toxins like cancer forming (carcinogenic) mycotoxins.

But human demand for this wonderful fibre through brown bread, breakfast cereals and other products does not balance the demand for products produced from white wheat flour. There remains an excess of wheat bran at Flour Mills, which they must dispose of at a fair value to control their product pricing and keep them viable.

Wheat bran, a healthy by-product of wheat milling, therefore exceeds human demand despite its healthy contribution to our existence. Is this the despised byproduct or waste product of primary industry?

It is this “waste” product that is included in dog foods as a cereal by-product or wheat offal or wheat bran or wheat byproduct (see the ingredient list on your dog food bag). Dogs receive a healthy fibre source, often shunned by man, which helps maintain their digestive tract and supply important nutrition.

As long as man demands more convenience foods and more refined foods, there will be a growth in by-products (waste) from the primary food industry.

These are by no means low grade or useless products, only materials man chooses not to consume. They remain useful to other industries such as the pet food industry, adding value to these products.

Many and varied by-products are produced, supplying valuable nutrition, from primary food processing. Oil cake meals, as a further example, are excellent vegetable proteins, high in amino acid supply for pet foods and derived as by-products from the primary oil industry bringing unsaturated oils and fats (margarine) to the table of mankind.

By no means a ‘waste’ material, it adds to the balance of nutrition in dog foods.

By-products is not a ‘dirty’ word for waste, but a description of often valuable nutritious materials that people choose not to eat, and have therefore removed from food stuffs. These food stuffs in their refined state, then become the primary food product in the food chain. Animals, and in particular pets, benefit enormously from the wastefulness of man.


by Barry Hundley - Pet Food Industry Association (PFI)

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