Allowing the use of rendered products in petfoods and animal feeds is still legal but should be reconsidered, suggests a veterinary blog on petmd.com.

The blog discusses US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) findings that are still in effect, allowing rendered products to be legally included in petfood and animal feed. In a 2004 report to Congress, National Renderers Association (NRA) estimated that 165 rendering plants in the US and Canada pick up materials like fat and bone trimmings, blood, feathers and dead animals from animal shelters, slaughterhouses and ranches.

To determine the amount of barbiturates, dog and cat carcasses that end up in rendered petfood ingredients, scientists purchased dog food samples as part of two studies in 1998 and 2000. The studies found that some of the dog foods contained pentobarbital -- a drug used to euthanize dogs and cats at shelters -- suggesting that the shelter pets were rendered and used in petfood. Scientists then tested the protein ingredients of the dog foods for presence of dog and cat DNA.

FDA's results found a complete absence of material that would have been derived from euthanized dogs or cats in the dog foods tested, suggesting pentobarbital residues enter petfoods from euthanized, rendered cattle or horses. The blog says that while these findings may have been correct at the time, FDA regulation of rendered products in petfoods should be reconsidered in today's society that is increasingly conscious of pet nutrition and the possibility of transmitted diseases.