RESEARCHERS in Chapman University in Orange, California in October 2014 discovered that a lot of commercial dog and cat food are being mislabeled based on their DNA analysis of food samples.
The tests, which were initially conducted to find out if horse meat was being used in pet foods, showed that of the 52 food samples almost 40 percent had a meat, usually pork, that was not listed on the label. While 31 have been labeled correctly, 20 were mislabeled and one with an unidentifiable meat substance.
TODAY interviewed assistant professor Rosalee Hellberg, co-author of the study, who said some products even claim to have beef as a number one ingredient but had no no beef in the product at all. Hellberg said the issue of mislabeling occurs less in wet pet food.
Giving manufacturers and resellers the benefit of the doubt, the researchers claim the mislabeling could be either accidental or intentional. Still, Hellberg said it could be a form of economic fraud considering the billions of money people spend on pet food every year. In addition, the mislabeling of pet foods could have dire consequences to a pet with food allergens.
TODAY said the Chapman report did not include a list of the products tested or those that were found to be potentially mislabeled as it was supposed to be an industry study that is not meant to single out particular pet food brands.
In reaction to the Chapman report, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued this statement: “Consumers should be able to trust that what is on the label is in the product. Pet foods do not require the FDA’s approval before being marketed; however, all ingredients are required to be listed on the label using their common or usual name. The FDA has taken action in the past when ingredients are not properly listed on the label or when one ingredient is substituted for another ingredient.”