For over 42 years, Columbia Grain International (CGI) has been cultivating ethical plant-based ingredients, supporting consumers that desire a nutritious diet for themselves as well as their pets. As one of the largest producers and exporters of pulses in the United States, CGI has invested in eight processing facilities in which pulse crops are cleaned, bagged, and distributed worldwide. Moreover, they operate an integrated system of assets and joint ventures from processing plants to grain elevators, agronomy centers, to barge loading facilities, and execute sales through high capacity export terminals in conjunction with one of their Joint Venture companies. CGI is focused on bringing clean, safe, plant-based, protein-packed pulses from U.S. farmers to manufacturers and consumers around the globe from people to pets.

Lately, the FDA has made it difficult for pet owners to share the health values of pulses with their pets without concerns brought about by the FDA’s unsubstantiated claims that they may be harming their furry friends. In 2018, the FDA announced that it had begun investigating potential links between canine dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in dogs eating certain pet foods, including many labeled as “grain-free,” which contained a high proportion of peas, lentils, and other pulses. However, the FDA based their actions on a very small sample of dogs with unsubstantiated scientific evidence. This bad press has negatively impacted the grain-free pet food industry, as well as the pulse farmers and trade. During this time, the North American pulse industry estimates a loss of 250,000 metric tons of sales to the pet food industry.

BSM Partners, a leading U.S. company in companion animal consulting and research, with a stable of veterinarians with expertise in clinical nutrition, cardiology, food safety, veterinary medicine, and research design, examined the results of more than 150 studies related to DCM and companion animals. They have published their findings, which did not support a link between grain-free and legume-rich diets, and DCM in dogs. They say their review also points out significant gaps in the literature available, which offers opportunities for further research.

CGI is supporting its pulse growers and industry partners through their donation to the DCM Research Fund Campaign, aimed at uncovering the causes of DCM in dogs. They will join the coalition of North American pulse industry organizations spearheading this fundraising effort to raise $1 million to support pet food research.

This fund will enable BSM Partners to tackle three studies. BSM wiill perform a comparison of grain-free (including pulse crops) and grain-inclusive diets on cardiac function and health of dogs. They will examine the influence of litter size on the risk of cardiac disease later in life. Lastly, they will explore the role that diet history and plasma amino acid concentrations play in the cardiac health of various breeds, including Golden Retrievers, a dog breed predisposed to DCM.

“We are honored to help fund this critical research effort to advance the understanding of what causes DCM in dogs to ensure all get the benefits provided by pulses, from people to pet, to our producers,” said president and CEO of Columbia Grain International, Jeff VanPevenage.

BSM has asked growers, processors, and industry partners in North America to join in supporting their efforts and provide funding for this critical research project. Visit the U.S.A. Pulses website for more information or to donate.