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Pet Food News / Pet Food Safety
on January 8, 2015

Consumer-funded testing finds 11 of 12 petfoods contaminated

Crowdfunded project tested for mycotoxins, bacteria, other harmful contaminants

A number of petfood brands have tested positive for potentially harmful bacteria and other contaminants, according to a project funded by a group of pet owners and coordinated by the Association for Truth in Pet Food.

The project is the first of its kind to use crowdfunding to test pet products: In April 2014, an IndieGoGo campaign began to raise US$10,000 " to test many different brands and varieties of petfood for dangerous contaminants." The campaign said that all test results would become public information, including brand names, and that all at-risk results would be provided to petfood regulatory authorities. Once the money was raised (US$15,705 by the time the campaign ended in June 2014), Association for Truth in Pet Food oversaw the project and documented each product tested, compiling results for dissemination to the public and authorities.

The Pet Food Test examined 12 petfood products, six cat foods and six dog foods, according to the association. Testing was performed with the assistance of INTI Services. Eleven petfood products were ordered online (shipped directly from the online retailer to INTI Services) and one petfood product was purchased directly from a veterinarian. Products were shipped "blind" to numerous laboratories contracted by INTI Services.

Products were tested for mycotoxins, guaranteed analysis/mineral content, cyanuric acid and melamine, euthanizing drugs and bacteria:

  • The budget allowed for testing of eight (of 12) petfoods for 37 different mycotoxins. Results found all petfoods had some level of mycotoxin contamination; four petfoods tested as Low Risk, two petfoods tested as Medium Risk and two petfoods tested as High Risk.
  • All 12 petfood products were tested for Guaranteed Analysis nutrient and mineral content. Results were compared with AAFCO nutrient requirements and suggested nutrient maximum as established by the National Research Council’s (NRC) publication Mineral Tolerances of Animals. Testing found four instances in excess of nutrient maximum suggested by NRC in cat foods, five instances in excess of nutrient maximum suggested by NRC in dog foods and five instances of excess of AAFCO regulatory nutrient maximum in dog foods.
  • All 12 petfood products were tested for cyanuric acid and melamine; results found no measurable level of either contaminant.
  • All 12 petfood products were tested for euthanizing drugs; results found no measurable amount of these contaminants in any petfood tested.
  • All 12 petfood products were tested for bacteria content (results stated in percentage of total bacterial content). Results found: nine petfoods contained one or more bacteria FDA terms as 'Qualifying Pathogens' which "have the potential to pose a serious threat to public health"; 10 petfoods contained one or more "Pathogenic Microorganisms" listed in the FDA's Bad Bug Book; nine petfoods contained one or more bacteria the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations links to "spoilage of meat"; and nine petfoods contained one or more potential pathogenic bacteria per analysis by Dr. Jean Dodds.

The full report can be found on the association's website, including infographics, an overview of results and the full results.

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