Investigation into the animal species contents of popular wet pet foods

Maine, Isabella R., Atterbury, Robert J. and Chang, Kin-Chow (2015) Investigation into the animal species contents of popular wet pet foods. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 57 (1). p. 7. ISSN 1751-0147

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Background: The use of the generic term “meat and animal derivatives” in declared ingredient lists of pet foods in the European Union is virtually universal. In the wake of the 2013 “horse meat scandal” in the human food chain, we examined the presence and authenticity of animal sources (cow, chicken, pig and horse) of proteins in a range of popular wet pet foods in the United Kingdom.

Findings: Seventeen leading dog and cat foods were sampled for the relative presence of DNA from each of the four animal species by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. No horse DNA was detected. However, there was detection at substantial levels of unspecified animal species in most products tested. In 14 out of 17 samples, bovine, porcine and chicken DNA were found in various proportions and combinations but were not explicitly identified on the product labels. Of the 7 products with prominent headline descriptions containing the term “with beef”, only 2 were found to contain more bovine DNA (>50%) than pig and chicken DNA combined.

Conclusions: There is a need for the pet food industry to show greater transparency to customers in the disclosure of the types of animal proteins (animal species and tissue types) in their products. Full disclosure of animal contents will (a) allow more informed choices to be made on purchases which are particularly important for pets with food allergies, (b) reduce the risk of product misinterpretation by shoppers, and (c) avoid potential religious concerns.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Pet food, Species authentication, Labelling, Food allergy, Ingredients, Animal proteins, DNA detection
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences > School of Veterinary Medicine and Science
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2017 10:52
Last Modified: 04 May 2020 17:03

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