The Challenge of Finding GMO-free Pet Food

  

As someone committed to living a green lifestyle, it’s natural for me to want my dog to be on the green journey with me. I’ve ditched containers with BPA and chemical-filled pet products and I use top quality “green” laundry detergent. But when it comes to finding pet food or dog treats that are GMO-free, that’s a bigger challenge.

Researching the issue, I found that of the few dog food brands listed as possibly GMO-free, no major pet brand made the list. To see the list of verified non-GMO pet foods, check out http://bit.ly/1fdUZO9.

I contacted my local PetSmart and Petco stores. One manager at PetSmart told me she didn’t know what GMOs were. Another manager told me she thought Wellness Simple Buy, which is grain- and gluten free, may not have GMOs in it. Checking the company’s website, it said:

“Wellness natural dry dog and dry cat food recipes continue to exclude meat by-products, wheat, corn, soy and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives. Making our dry products with naturally GMO-free ingredients joins Our Promise to you in our continued mission to provide the healthiest foods for the pets that depend on us.”

Encouraging, but it still doesn’t declare they don’t use GMOs.

With pet treats, the manager at Petco said the Buddy Biscuit line, made by Cloud Star in San Luis Obispo, contained no corn, wheat, soy, or eggs and was grain free.

But is it GMO-free? Some of their ingredients could be questionable, particularly in their Peanut Butter biscuits. As of 2012, a genetically modified peanut was being cultivated and tested in India. Has it made it into our food supply?

We don’t know as there’s no mandatory GMO labeling as many states are pushing for.

So I talked with Linda DeSell, the owner of Happy Tails in Redding.

Finding pet products that are healthy is a growing concern for consumers, she said. But most of her customers want to find organic products.

The only products that say organic is chicken, DeSell said. But they don’t say organic chicken meal. “And unless they make their own chicken meal, I don’t think it’s organic,” she said.

When it comes to GMO-free dog food, DeSell said she’s been told by Fromm, Precise and Orijen (from Canada) that they’re GMO-free.

“They’re all still independently, family owned,” she said.

Fromm, the food I feed my own dog, says on its website that its grain free pet food. that all its ingredients are sourced in the USA and all its products are made in the USA. I tried unsuccessfully to speak with a corporate representative to verify its ingredients were GMO-free.

DeSell reminded me that dog food and treats are processed foods. And those aren’t considered really healthy for humans. DeSell said her vet recommends we stay away from processed foods for our pets.

So what are concerned pet owners to do when it comes to buying healthy food for our pets?

It comes down to this.

Be an informed consumer. Read labels and learn what’s in your pet’s food products. Brush up on GMO ingredients and try to avoid them when you can. A great resource is the Non-GMO Project. Lastly, ask questions. The more consumers ask and demand high quality products for our pets, the more quickly manufacturers will get that this issue isn’t going away and they need to respond to demand.

An environmental journalist and blogger, Debra Atlas is reachable through www.Envirothink.wordpress.com or debraatlas@gmail.com

Share


Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Thank you. Carry on.

15 Responses »

  1. Does this mean that the only way to feed our dogs might be the raw food diet? Raw meats and whole, organic veggies, chopped fine and mixed? I went through this with my last dog who had allergies to grains. Not a fun diet to live with, especially when traveling with your pet. The dog I have now seems to be OK with most foods but I still give her lean meats that I cook mixed in with her high end grain free kibble, plus I add fresh veggies and flax oil. I worry that I may be missing something that she needs, hence I feed the commercial kibble that Linda has in her store. She is so helpful, and tries hard to be on top of the best food possible to offer her customers. I love that she is as concerned as we are.

    • Raw doesn't have to be inconvenient. There are several companies that offer complete raw diets in frozen form. I realize that raw can become expensive for those with larger dogs, so I highly recommend looking into dehydrated or freeze-dried raw meals such as Stella & Chewy's, Sojo's, Grandma Lucy's, The Honest Kitchen, and others. They might even prove more convenient for you, although I personally find thawing a meat patty less time consuming then mixing a dehydrated food and letting it settle before feeding.

  2. Your entire article depends on the line "brush up on GMO ingredients and try to avoid them when you can" being true. The problem with that is there is absolutely zero scientific evidence that there is any reason to avoid GMOs. Seems like you've gone through an awful lot of effort to be so anti-science.

    • There is plenty of scientific evidence disproving the safety of genetically-modified organisms. The problem is that these findings were not proven by big-name corporations. The agriculture industry is mainly self-policing, and what corporation is so honest that they'd publicize anti-GMO studies when they produce the seed, the fertilizer, the herbicide, and the pesticide necessary to produce them?

      • Just saying the words "there is plenty of scientific evidence disproving the safety of genetically-modified organisms" does not make it true. Please provide a link to any of this "scientific evidence." The anti-GMO crowd loves to spout off conspiracy theories that the reason this "evidence" is suppressed is that GMO crops aren't tested. That is complete nonsense. Modern food crops, including and especially GMO crops, are some of the most tested and regulated things on Earth. They are monitored by the EPA, FDA, and USDA along with private testing. Sorry, but being anti-GMO is just as anti-science as being an evolution denier, a vaccine denier, or a climate change denier.

        • A developer of the first commercialized GMO, geneticist, Belinda Martineau PhD has stated, “The current situation I’ve “recognized to be the truth”, i.e. commercialization of products of a powerful technology WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR MYRIAD UNINTENDED SIDE EFFECTS YET WITH INADEQUATE REGULATION AND RESEARCH, is not conducive to inspiring public confidence in crop genetic engineering.” Also, she has signed onto the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER) statement stating, “No scientific consensus on GMO safety”.

          So regarding your comment "Modern food crops, including and especially GMO crops, are some of the most tested and regulated things on Earth. They are monitored by the EPA, FDA, and USDA along with private testing," --Please cite a valid independent study (not paid for or funded by the GMO/pesticide industry) finding a GMO to be safe for human or animal consumption. I’d like to see one (and not a report, but a published study). This seems to be a difficult item to produce. No GMO supporters have ever followed through with providing one. They just ramble about studies not being able to show anything conclusively, so no need to provide any. As you probably know, GMOs are currently approved in the US through a VOLUNTARY CONSULTATION PROCESS with the corporations which create and profit off of GMOs. There are no independent studies allowed to be conducted because the GMO corporations hold patents on their cross-species, lab-created products. The GMO creator merely conducts a 90 day study prior to a voluntary consultation after which their products are unleashed (unlabeled) into our food supply. How objective could their “studies” be when they make money based on their product’s approval? I’m supposed to trust that their cross-species, lab-created GMO is “safe” based on that? The approval process is a joke. Note that I am not ant-science. My degree is in science. I am anti-poisoning and anti-corruption.

          • You are poorly informed. The American Association for the Advancement of Science is the world's largest and most prestigious general scientific society. Go read their "Statement by the AAAS Board of Directors On Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods." It states:

            "There are several current efforts to require labeling of foods containing products derived from genetically modified crop plants, commonly known as GM crops or GMOs. These efforts are not driven by evidence that GM foods are actually dangerous. Indeed, the science is quite clear: crop improvement by the modern molecular techniques of biotechnology is safe. Rather, these initiatives are driven by a variety of factors, ranging from the persistent perception that such foods are somehow “unnatural” and potentially dangerous to the desire to gain competitive advantage by legislating attachment of a label meant to alarm. Another misconception used as a rationale for labeling is that GM crops are untested."

            You can read the rest at:
            http://www.aaas.org/sites/default/files/AAAS_GM_s...

          • Are you not doing exactly what you are claiming others are doing by reading an article supposedly by "the world's largest and most prestigious general scientific society" and accepting their ruling as law. Who is in this association and what are their credentials? Are we merely to accept your words because you say they come from "prestigious" scientists? To come to a greater understanding of the issue, you must first research every aspect of it. I think you are so busy throwing accusations at others because of your lack of knowledge on the subject that you have missed much of the research and reports that have been issued by scientists that I believe are more "prestigious" than the ones you quote, because they have stepped out and taken a stance that is not popular. Eat all you want of this product. Be my guest. But at least allow the rest of us to see labels which give us a choice as to what we eat and what we feed our animals. That does not seem so difficult.

          • Another anti-GMO person that attacks the evidence given to them without reading it and then goes on to talk about "the research and reports that have been issued by scientists that I believe are more "prestigious" than the ones you quote" without providing a link to said "research." The article I linked to is a nice, short, and plain English statement regarding GMOs and why they aren't any worse for you and shouldn't require labeling. Within that statement, there were footnotes referencing some of the specific research. It is quite obvious that you didn't bother reading the evidence I presented... typical.

            You also go on to ask "who is in this association and what are their credentials" and then go on to repeatedly mock my calling them "prestigious." Obviously, nothing I can say is going to convince you that they are a dependable source of information. Why don't you go and do just a modicum of research on your own about the organization? It may just lead you to find why they are an authoritative enough source on science that they are often referenced by the New York Times. By the way, your attempted dig at my "lack of knowledge on the subject" coupled with the fact that you don't know who the AAAS is and didn't even bother to look them up literally made me laugh out loud. Thanks for the good chuckle.

            Finally, you say "at least allow the rest of us to see labels which give us a choice as to what we eat and what we feed our animals." This just reinforces that you didn't read the material I provided. This is exactly what it talks about. Oh, and I love how you imply that anti-GMO is the unpopular stance. Anti-GMO is the popular stance because it is the knee-jerk reaction and default position of most people that don't do research (or cannot comprehend the science), such as yourself.

  3. Avoiding pet foods containing GMOs has become more and more of a request among food-savvy pet parents. As you previously stated, Precise and Orijen are GMO free, and I'm happy to assure you that Wellness is in fact GMO free as well.

    If you really want to provide your pet with the absolute best nutrition, while avoiding GMO ingredients, I highly suggest you look into raw feeding. At our store, Joey's Pet Outfitters, we carry several brands of convenient, frozen, raw meat diets that provide a complete and balanced meal while giving your cat or dog the ultimate in unprocessed, quality food. Our freezers are stocked with Primal, Vital Essentials, Tucker's, Nature's Variety Instinct, Answers, and J.J. Fudd's. These frozen raw foods are all corn and soy free, which are two GMO crops that are difficult to avoid in the marketplace - both for people and pet.

    Questions? Ask the pet nutrition experts at http://www.joeyspetoutfitters.com!

  4. My comment is mostly directed to Yogi. If it is true that GMOs are safe for human consumption, then why would the manufacturers and distributors of products containing genetically modified organisms be so adamant about NOT labeling their products? Would you not think that they would be proud to tell us that the corn on our shelves contains Bt and other chemicals that can cause all kinds of health problems. Of course these products are approved by the FDA. The FDA consists of many people who were once employed by Monsanto and stand to gain great amounts of wealth for the products pushed through the markets. And these arguments do not even touch on the unethical practices of this company and how they have bankrupted many family farmers, taken land from farmers, the damages they are doing to our land and water. Have you been hiding under a rock. Go online and research the issue. You will find much information backed by many scientists and studies to confirm the arguments that these products are not fit for human consumption, nor for animal consumption.

  5. The article I linked to is a nice, short, and plain English statement regarding GMOs and why they aren't any worse for you and shouldn't require labeling. Within that statement, there were footnotes referencing some of the specific research. It is quite obvious that you didn't bother reading the evidence I presented... typical.

    You also go on to ask "who is in this association and what are their credentials" and then go on to repeatedly mock my calling them "prestigious." Obviously, nothing I can say is going to convince you that they are a dependable source of information. Why don't you go and do just a modicum of research on your own about the organization?

  6. Yogi I tried the read the 'evidence' you presented. File not found. LOL

  7. GMOs have been BANNED or labeled in over SIXTY COUNTRIES! That, in and of itself, is telling. The USA of course, sees no problem. They obviously want to keep the blinds on! Just say NO, to GMOs!

Trackbacks

  1. The Challenge of Finding GMO-free Pet Food | Envirothink

Leave a Response


3,969 views

Tagged as: , , , , ,
Recent Comments - from all stories on A News Cafe

Please support local journalism on A News Cafe. Thank you!


© A News Cafe.com, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Page optimized by WP Minify WordPress Plugin