Condemned, denatured meat in pet food - a cancer causing ingredient in many popular dog and cat food products, and treats. The Pet Food industry does not want you to know about this cancer causing, toxic ingredient. Sadly many products on your local pet food store shelves contain it, so do many veterinarian prescribed dog, and cat food products.
Check Your Pet Food Product Labels
A quick check of your pet food label will reveal if your dog or cat’s food contains condemned, denatured meat. Don’t bother looking for ‘condemned’, ‘denatured’, ‘denaturized’ on the label – you won’t see those words used. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), United States Department of Agriculture Food Services Inspection Agency (USDA FSIS), and non-governmental organizations such as AAFCO do NOT require pet food manufacturers to reveal this information on pet food labels.
The meat *may NOT be condemned, or denatured if the label specifies:
- Meat is 100% 'editable'.
- Meat is 100% human food grade, or;
- All ingredients are 100% human food grade.
- Unfortunately, the words 'human food grade', or 'human grade' are NOT a guarantee of quality. Neither term is legally binding. The FDA uses the term 'edible' to define '"safe for human consumption".
*In August of 2015, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would no longer offer, and provide review of pet food manufacturer documentation for the purpose of substantiating ‘human-food-grade’ claims on pet food (and treat) labels. AAFCO is gearing-up to devise their own regulations to define ‘human-food-grade’ ingredients in pet food. This, however is not reassuring, as AAFCO is an organization made up of representatives of the pet food industry. AAFCO is a self-regulating, and self-interested organization.
All, or some of the meat IS likely to be condemned and denatured if the label does NOT specify:
- 100% human food grade meat, or;
- 100% human food grade ingredients.
If, after checking the label you have identified the presence of denatured meat – I recommend you change your dogs and cats diet.
Types of Pet Food that Can Contain Condemned, Denatured Meat and by-products
Condemned, denatured meat is used in a wide range of commercial pet food products, including:
- Dry Highly Processed Pet Food (kibble), and treats
- Dry processed Pet Food, and treats (‘minimally’ processed patties and other formulations)
- Canned Pet Food (‘wet’ pet food)
- Dehydrated Pet Food, and treats
- Freeze Dried Raw Pet Food, and treats
- Raw Pet Food – grinds, patties, etc.
Pet food made in Canada and the USA, containing condemned and denatured meat is sold all over Canada and the USA – it is also exported all over the world. For example Hill’s, Purina’s and Royal Canin’s dry processed food, canned food and treats – pet store and veterinarian prescription product lines.
Regulation of Meat and Poultry Classifications
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Agency (FSIS) are responsible for regulating and inspecting all animals (‘livestock’) for slaughter / meat processing by registered slaughter establishments and rendering plants.
Just prior to slaughter, CFIA and FSIS Inspectors - inspect, mark, stamp or tag all live animals – ante-mortem inspection. Animal carcasses are re-inspected after slaughter - post-mortem inspection. Animals are considered unfit for human consumption – ‘inedible’, and therefore ‘condemned’ under the following circumstances:
- 'Downers' - an industry term for animals that cannot stand on their own.
- Live animals found to be affected by disease or an abnormal condition.
- Animals that died en-route to the registered slaughter establishment.
- Animals that died in the yard, or livestock holding pen of the registered slaughter establishment.
- Dead dogs and dead cats - you can read about that here.
- Dead zoo animals.
Condemned Meat Products
Condemned Meat includes:
- Entire carcasses.
- Portions of carcasses which upon inspection (or re-inspection) are found to be affected by disease or an abnormal condition, or contaminated by feces – all of which renders them “unfit for human consumption”
- Butcher shop floor trimmings, and meat past its best before date.
- Grocery store meat that is past its best before date.
- Carcasses and parts that are condemned as ‘Specific Risk Material’ (SRM) can be used as salvaged meat for pet food (animal feed products) once the portions of the animal that are SRM are removed. If removal of the SRM is not possible the carcass or effected portions of, are considered inedible and are to be disposed.
Feathers, hides and hair are generally considered inedible however feathers and hide are used in the pet food industry. The hide is used to make rawhide. Feathers are used by some pet food manufacturers as ‘highly edible’ and a ‘good source of nutrition’ – which feathers clearly are not. Royal Canin uses feathers in some of their high-end prescription dog and cat food products.
Condemned products (meat, organs, blood, etc.) may be mixed with non-SRM, and non-condemned salvaged for animal feed products.
Once the CFIA or FSIS inspector condemns a carcass or body-part, it must be clearly marked ‘CONDEMNED’ and is handled in a part of the facility separate from non-condemned meat. Segregation of condemned meat vs. fit for human consumption meat is highly regulated - even air flow patterns are regulated to prevent air in rooms containing inedible meat from mixing with the air in edible meat processing spaces. Shipping containers used to transport the condemned meat must be marked as containing condemned meat. This should indicate to you, the consumer something about the, diseased, bacteria laden, etc. state of the condemned meat.
The next step in the processing of condemned meat is the application of toxic substances to ‘denature’ the meat. Keep in mind, even if the slaughtered animal was pasture raised-grass fed, or raised via certified organic husbandry, after the meat is denaturized the meat is contaminated with toxins and carcinogens making the meat a trigger for cancer in your dog or cat.
Meat, poultry, fat rendering plants, and pet food manufacturers must comply with the CFIA’s and USDA’s regulations for processing and handling of condemned meat and poultry. The CFIA and FSIS regulations state that all condemned meat, and poultry:
- Must be ‘denatured’.
- Denaturing must be accomplished using a denaturing agent.
Definition and Purpose of Denaturing Meat
According to the CFIA, Denaturing: “means to stain the meat product in accordance with section 6.21 or 6.22 of the Health of Animals Regulations or to otherwise treat the meat product to give it an appearance or characteristic such that it cannot be confused with an edible meat product.”
According to the USFDA, Denaturing: “The basic purpose of denaturing is to prevent salvage or diversion of violative materials for human consumption.”
What does this really mean?
Condemned meat must be made unrecognizable as meat and poultry for human consumption by altering its smell, color and other attributes of its physical appearance.
Condemned Meat Ingredients and Pet Food Industry ‘Marketing’
As noted in the first part of this article – you won’t find the words ‘condemned’ or ‘denatured’ on any pet food or treat packaging. What you will see is the pet food industry taking advantage of the loving pet owner. Pet food products that contain condemned/denatured meat and poultry are advertised as…
- “Fresh meat ingredients”
- “Natural meat ingredients”
- “Quality meat ingredients”
- “Real meat ingredients”
- “100% human food grade meat ingredients”
Why? Because there are no regulations in-place to stop the pet food manufacturers, pet food retailers, (including veterinarians that push, and peddle 'prescription diet' foods and treats) from doing otherwise. The deception is 100% legal.
Are you shocked your veterinarian has not told you what’s in the prescription pet food he/she is selling you? Surprised your trusted pet food store staff haven’t told you. The sad truth is that there are many ‘professionals' - members of the pet industry that know but just don’t care. Greed takes precedence over truth and ethics.
The substances approved by the CFIA and FSIS for use as denaturizing agents include multiple toxins and carcinogens. After the condemned meat is 'bathed' the denaturizing agents become a hidden ingredient in the meat. You will not see denaturizing agents listed on pet food product labels.
The following is a list of denaturizing substances approved for use on condemned meat and poultry destined for use in pet food:
- Crankcase oil (used oil)
- Cresylic disinfectant
- Coarsely ground hard bone
- Crude carbolic acid
- Charcoal (fine powder form) – i.e. Liquik®Char
- Dye – specifically black chemical-based dye
- Food coloring
- FD&C blue No. 1
- FD&C blue No. 2
- FD&C green No. 3
- Food colouring mixed formulas immersions (baths) –
- FD&C green + No. 3 coloring + liquid detergent + citronella oil
- FD&C yellow + No. 5 coloring + tannic acid
- Fuel oil (No. 2) brucine (brucine is a very poisonous alkaloid) dissolved in a mixture of alcohol + pine oil or oil of rosemary and finely powdered charcoal
- Phenolic disinfectant that conforms to commercial standards CS 70-41 or CS 71-41 “which shall be used in at least 2 percent emulsion or solution”.
- Other proprietary (trade secret,non-disclosed) substances developed by the chemical industry for denaturing. These substances are not scrutinized, nor regulated by the USDA. For example 4-D Denaturant™
- Tanic acid bath – Tanic acid + ferric acid + water
- Fish meal from a registered feed meal – most fish meal is preserved with ethoxyquin, a cancer causing substance that you can read about here.
- Chemical denaturants listed here, and here – these are toxic chemical substances that include carcinogens.
- These include:
- Denaturant Black – black chemical based dye
- DENATURANT G – By Birko. You can see details here.
- RMC Denaturant
- Johnson Meat Denaturant by S.C. Johnson famous for all the carcinogens they use in their products
- The above all contain toxic, cancer causing dyes and other chemicals.
- An agent for which the operator requested a letter of guarantee from the supplier of the agent to demonstrate its acceptability; OR
- Alternate to using an approved denaturing agent, another acceptable method of denaturing is to mix the meat product or carcasses with intestines and intestinal contents in a continuous and non reversible mechanical conveying system which empties directly to a melter or a conveyance acceptable to the inspector in charge for transportation to another registered establishment or an inedible rendering plant for sterilization.
- CFIA’s list allows use of non-scrutinized, unregulated substances.
The above substances are allergens, toxins, most are known carcinogens – cancer causing agents.
FD&C food dyes are known to cause adverse behavioral changes in animals and, in humans. FD&C dyes are known carcinogens and allergens for non-human animals, and humans. And yes, obviously crude oil and its derivatives (fuel Oil No.2 – jet fuel motor oil, etc. and kerosene) should never be ingested by any animal. Chemical based detergents leave toxic residue, and obviously should never be ingested. Obviously not one of these substances is an appropriate ingredient (hidden or otherwise) in food for dogs or cats.
Restoring ‘normal’ Color and Smell to Denatured Meat
The denaturizing substances cannot be washed out of, nor in any other way removed from the meat. Denaturizing agents are designed to penetrate all cells – muscle, organ, fat, bone.
Once the denatured meat has been sold and transported to a pet food manufacturing facility, the manufacturer may choose to apply additional chemicals to make the smell, and look of the meat appear normal.
- Toxic, carcinogenic food additives - food flavor, and or food color is used to help disguise denatured meat.
- The intense processing, and high heat cooking required to make dry food and wet foods also helps to destroy color and smell.
- After processing, dry processed food is typically sprayed with rendered fat to make the product more appealing.
You will see some of these manufacturers advertise their products as:
- ‘all natural’,
- ‘we only use high quality ingredient’
- ‘100% fresh’
- *‘No food additives’
- *‘No food coloring’
- *‘No preservatives’
- etc., but...
In the absence of regulation, you must define for yourself what you accept as the definition of terms such as 'Human food grade', ‘all natural’, ‘holistic’, ‘high quality’ etc. – these are all unregulated terms in the pet food industry. Manufacturers do not have to define nor justify these terms according to any regulations.
*Pet food manufacturers are only obligated to list food, and food additive ingredients that they put into a food product – they are not legally obligated to list ingredients that are part of an ingredient i.e. food coloring or motor oil or other denaturing substances used to denature condemned meat.
- Blue Buffalo
- Chicken Soup for the Soul
- Golden Eagle Holistic Health
- Dick Van Patton Natural Balance
- Dog’s Well Nutrisca
- Earthborne Holistic
- Hill’s Prescription Diet
- Hill’s Science Diet
- I and Love You
- Ivory Coat Natural Health
- Kirkland Lake
- Nature’s Recipe
- Now Fresh
- Performatrin Ultra
- Premium Edge
- Purina Veterinary Diets
- Royal Canin
- Royal Canin Veterinary Diet
- Simply Nourish
- Simply Rawsome - but at least they are honest. This is the only pet food company I have ever seen that notes their products that contain denatured meat... not that doing so makes it OK to sell!
- Taste of the Wild
- Wellness Core
…these are just a few, there are a many, many more.
A Few Things You Can Do to Avoid Products Containing Condemned, Denatured Meat and Poultry
Look for a product that GUARANTEES (rather than just claims):
- Make your dog and cat's pet food - you get to control all of the ingredients.
- You can find an example recipe here.
- Purchase raw pet food from a trusted pet food manufacturer.
- If you do not want to feed raw, you can cook the raw food product,
Unfortunately the more processed a product is – i.e. dry processed ‘food’ (kibble), canned highly processed food, raw minces, and dehydrated food products – the easier it is to hide the truth behind the product ingredients.
The high-rates of cancer experienced by today's dogs and cats is not a Natural occurrence - it is a man-made disease. Cancer doesn't just happen.
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