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THE INGREDIENTS LIST: HOW TO DEFEND AGAINST IT ?

The quality of a dietary product means the choice of the best ingredients. This quality of raw materials explains a large part of the price difference between a premium and an economical product.
The ingredients that compose a product are listed on the packaging: but this information is sometimes deceiving. Let's see what are the limits of this information source.

Ingredients presentation

There are two main types of presentation ; either the ingredients are all listed precisely, in the decreasing weight order:

  • ex: rice, poultry meat meal, corn gluten, poultry fat, (etc…), or we find standard categories, reglementary defined, including the ingredients uplisted:
  • ex: cereals and ceral by-products, meat and meat by-products, oils and fats…
The first solution is obviously more restricting for the manufacturer: it implies that the formula do not suffer any or no change. The second solution is more flexible, valuable mainly for economical products, whose formula can vary.
On the other hand, the ingredient name does not presume of its quality: a poultry meat meal can be either good or bad (too much minerals, overcooked, too fatty…), it will always be called the same way.

The "ingredient marketing"

Feeding ingredients that are normally absent from the usual dog food (ex: fish / potatoes), is justified only when a dietary allergy is suspected. But it stays an exceptional disease in the dog. Using ingredients considered as noble in human feeding (ex: lamb), is a way to make the customer believe that the product belong to the "top-range" category. But the less available an ingredient is, the less stable its quality risks to be. A whole sheep meat meal, very rich in minerals, will be less digestible than a beef greave selected on precise qualitative parameters.

"Claims"

Some claims appear clearly on the facing of the packaging. These claims have a very precise meaning.

  • "Contains egg": no minimum level is fixed here.
  • "With fish": between 4 % minimum and 13 % maximum
  • "Rich in beef": between 14 % minimum and 25 % maximum
  • "All meat food": contains effectively 100 % meat, but then there is a large excess of proteins and fats, a calcium and vitamins deficit ; it is the opposite of a well-balanced food.

Ingredients order

Dogs and cats are carnivorous, so it can be tempting to make the customer believe that, if animal ingredients are at the top of the list, the product will be better for his animal. But an animal protein source (ex: poultry meat meal) at the top of the ingredients list does not mean that the animal ingredients are preponderant in the formula. This result can be obtained through:

  • using a single source of animal proteins ;
    ex: poultry meat meal instead of poultry + beef + fish
  • using fresh meat, that has an important "weight" because of its high water content (60-70 %)
  • splitting the cereal part in several associated cereals that decrease the "weigh" of cereals in the total:
    ex: corn + wheat + rice instead of corn alone.

Conclusion

Highlighting an ingredient is not enough to presume of the food quality. On the contrary, the association of several animal protein sources allows to take advantage of their respective nutritional advantages.


Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website



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