There are a number of pet food claims which are frequently used but aren’t defined, regulated or enforced by law. This means that they can be used without problems by anybody for any pet food products.
Here are the currently most popular ones among of them:
And here is one claim that is verified by somebody who is not involved in a pet food’s manufacturing and marketing:
Isn’t that strange, that the terms mentioned above are so frequently used to describe pet foods while so little exists to back these claims up?
Additional claims which aren”t verified except when a pet food is certified organic are:
Hormone-free – as in ”hormone-free chicken”
Antibiotic-free – as in ”antibiotic-free meats”
GMO-free – as in ”GMO-free produce”
The really good news is that certified organic pet food claims are as heavily regulated and enforced as those for certified organic foods for human consumption.
The bad news is that many consumers aren’t aware that ‘organic’ pet food claims are different from ‘certified organic’ pet food claims. ”Organic’ pet food claims are simply not regulated or enforced by the US government, only ‘certified organic’ ones are.
A State compliance officer at CDFA (California Department of Food and Agriculture) wrote to me in 2008: “It is buyer be ware of any pet food product that does not show that it is certified by one of the NOP* certification agents.” (*NOP stands for National Organic Program, the standards which certified organic products have to follow).
I am disappointed that the government doesn’t correct the problem although they are aware of it. However, I am confident that this will change eventually which will protect both the consumer from deceptive claims and support the true organic movement.
The beauty of organic certification is its quality, transparency, and verifiable truthfulness in marketing and disclosure.
Additionally it is, according to Green Seal and common sense, “the most credible label for human and pet foods, also in respect to any green claims”.
So, here you have it: If you want a pet food product that is what the manufacturer claims it to be, and one that is also ‘green,’ you are best off choosing a certified organic product. A ”conventional” (non-certified organic) pet food product in an ”environmentally-friendly” packaging, which most likely was imported from China, simply doesn”t cut it…