SHOULD PROCESSED RAW OR KIBBLE PET FOOD EVER BE CONSIDERED NATURAL OR ORGANIC?

 

Last year I was a part of a panel discussion debating organic pet food and forming new (truthful) regulations/guidelines. There were allot of good ideas, thoughts and suggestions but at the end of the day we could not agree on what the terms "Organic Food & Natural Food" meant. Some of the top companies were represented: Fromm, Orijen, Blue Buffalo, Natura Pet Products, Wenaewe, Pet Guard, Newman's, Dick van Patten, Natures Variety , etc. To my thinking organic food or feed is not processed or denatured to the point that it no longer looks, smells or tastes like it started out as. Am I alone on this? If I go out to an organic restaurant and order Chicken florentine and it arrives to my table in pellet form or taken out of a can is that an organic meal? If one uses organic matter, alters it into a slurry, adds preservatives (natural or otherwise) and processes it to the point that the nutritional value is seriously altered is that still an organic meal?

 

It is becoming harder for the consumer to tell what is the truth and real about animal feed more than ever. Allot of the veterinary nutritionists I respected in the late 90's are now being payed by companies like Hill's Science Diet to be on these boards. Their manner of speaking and the words used have changed. 

 

Far be it from me to claim food that doesn't have at least 95% non processed organic ingredients isn't an organic product or 85% minimally processed ingredients is not natural food. The consummer should just be aware of what it rightfully takes to earn the label "organic" and/or "Nutural." Some companies might be trying to get you to pay into a product that doesn't even meet your expectations.

 

One thing you should be aware of is that organically raised meat is more expensive than CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) meat, so generally these foods do not have as high of a meat content as the brands that do not use either organic or free range (natural) meet.  If you pet is ill or has a compromised immune system you should at least feed non-processed free range, hormone and antibiotic free meats. Most manufacturers will not tell consumers just exactly how high the meat content in their product is, but in most cases it's fairly easy to deduct from the ingredient list: if it has 70% (or slightly more) organic ingredients, the meat is not organic and you take into consideration that vitamin and mineral supplements can not be organically produced, you end up with about 25-27% meat. (remember that protein content is different than the amount of meat protein present in the food formulation)

 

Estimating the content of a product with a percentage of organic ingredients of 95% and over is not as simple, but it is likely to be about the same or a little lower due to the higher cost of organic meat. Canines need 60% to 75% meat protein and Feline 75% to 90% meat protein to sustain optimum health. Most of these manufactures add all protein sources to the total listed on the bag.

 

Back to my point, can a bowl of processed Raw, kibble or canned food ever really be as nutritious as the whole food it came from? And should it be able to be called organic or even natural food if it is denatured? Please give me your thoughts on this subject.