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.
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