It is extremely important that cat and dog owners everywhere know about this process that is at the center of the billion dollar pet food industry. It is impossible to make an informed decision about what to feed your companions if you don’t know about rendering and the part it plays in the food chain.
Only a percentage of every food animal is used when making human foods. The rest is considered unfit for human consumption. The 50% deemed unfit has to be disposed of. Slaughter houses and packing plants were sending out these portions with the trash and they ended up in our landfills. How to properly handle the toxic waste created by the “disposed” animal carcasses became a big issue. Due to eminent government regulations the slaughter houses had to find a better way to dispose of the “unusable” portions. What do industries do when they can no longer dispose of their toxic waste in the trash? They either pay heavy fees for toxic disposal or “RECYCLE.” Out of the desire to recycle this trash the rendering industry began.
Let’s define rendering. 1: to extract (as lard) by heating 2: DELIVER, GIVE; also: YIELD 5: to cause to be or become: MAKE. You get the idea. Creating a facility to expel ingredients out of leftover scraps, there by creating “usable” by-products was actually a financial stroke of genius. There are approximately 286 rendering plants in the U.S. today that recycle about 40 billion pounds of slaughter house waste such as blood, bone, viscera, noses, beaks, hooves, hair, feathers, cartilage, fats, diseased and decaying tissue, intestines, eyeballs, brains, spinal cords (BSE, the organism that causes Mad Cow Disease, resides in bovine central nervous system tissue). In recent times rendering plants have expanded their repertoire of resources to include restaurant grease, spoiled supermarket meats, road kill, euthanized zoo and domesticated animals.
Because of the rendering process some of these animal parts are used in the multi-billion dollar make-up industry. In looking for other options it made sense to the food manufacturers to use some of the “unfit for human consumption” parts to feed animals, who don’t care what they eat as long as they get to eat. Hard to believe the 16 billion dollar pet food industry grew out of the need to recycle animal carcasses!
It is a process by which heat is used to extract or make something usable. Rendering is the opposite of “cold pressed” in terms of the process used to expel a by-product. The use of high temperatures of heat kills off bacteria, viruses, parasites, and other organisms. That sounds like a good thing, right? And it is if you want to sterilize something. This process of using high temperatures sterilizes, denatures, and destroys natural enzymes and proteins in the food making it unsuitable and empty of nutrients. It kills everything; good and bad. So the mandatory use of high temperatures to cure these dead carcasses allows the rendering plants to use human grade animal leftovers, as well as dead, dying, diseased, disabled animals and anything else unfit for human consumption. Once rendered this by product is considered safe to use for make-up, fertilizer, animal feed, industrial lubricants, soap, rubber, and other products.
Another important rendering description to know is “meal”, which is the name given to some of the animal by-products from rendering plants used in pet food. “Meal” consists mainly of leftover scraps: bones, beaks, heads, feet, blood, and much more!!! “Meal” is another name for materials that have been rendered or not used fresh. It can also be called beef-and-bone-meal or pork-and-bone-meal or chicken-and-bone-meal etc. These terms conjure up images of wholesome animal parts when a more appropriate term would be, cooked by products devoid of nutrients.
In the past there have been accusations that the pet food companies use rendered pets and road-kill in their pet foods—claims the industry denies. Tests have been conducted looking for cat and dog DNA in pet food—and no feline or canine DNA was found—however, there is still no regulation banning the use of these materials. What the FDA did find though, is pentobarbital, the most common euthanasia drug used. The ingredients commonly associated with the presence of pentobarbital were meat-and-bone-meal and animal fat.
Tail of the Mill
Now that we’ve talked about the animal protein sources for pet foods, let’s talk about the main ingredients in kibble or dry food. Pet food companies want you to believe that they use nothing but the most wholesome ingredients. They conger up images of high-quality, whole grains in their foods when in fact they use what is commonly called “tail of the mill”. This is really left behind residuals of the grains used in the production of human foods. A more accurate ingredients list would be hulls, chaff, straw, dust, dirt, and sand swept from the mill floor. Cats and dogs will not thrive on whole or partial grains. Dry foods contain large amounts of grain parts as fillers. We all know that cereals, simple-carbohydrates, turn to sugar when digested. Protein levels can be boosted by gluten found in the fragments used, after the carbohydrates are removed. This is more ingredients, to fill up our companions, that is impossible to assimilate and inappropriate for their species see Kymythy Shultze. Cats and dogs do not manufacture amylase, the digestive enzyme needed to assimilate cereals or simple carbohydrates. This is not the diet for a carnivore. Our animals need animal protein in order to thrive and be healthy. Gluten (grain protein) is not a viable replacement.
To recap, the proteins are not accessible because of the high temperatures required by the FDA in the rendering process. Much of the protein in kibble is unsuitable because it is the wrong kind of protein. Commercial pet foods can have denatured animal proteins and large amounts of cereal grains that turn to sugar. How healthy could that be? It sounds like “junk food,” doesn’t it? What the pet food industry does have is great advertising, veterinary endorsements, “RECALLS”, and high profit margins. What is not revealed between the ingredients list is chemicals, harsh preservatives, fillers like melamine and other poisons, etc. BARF WORLD. It makes sense to feed companions foods that help them thrive and maintain their health. We recommend feeding only human grade products because the regulations are stricter in this category than in the “animal feed” category.
We also recommend feeding a species appropriate diet. What do you recommend feeding your companions now that you know where the ingredients in pet foods come from?