In recent years, we have seen a shift in attitude towards food. Connecting with a brand on a deeper level to understand what’s going on behind the scenes in purchasing choices, production techniques and the company’s general priorities, has become a key way to evaluate that company’s mission, values and ethics.
WHERE DO INGREDIENTS COME FROM?
Some key questions to ask include how a pet food company purchases its ingredients. Do they buy their own or leave procurement to a co-packer or other third party broker? Which countries are the ingredients grown and processed in? Some countries have distinctly better quality and safety records than others, as well as differing attitudes to chemical and pesticide usage, human rights and working conditions.
HOW DO COMPANIES REGARD GMOS?
It’s also important to know what a company does to ensure its ingredients are free of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs). More than 94% of soybeans and 88% of corn in the US are thought to be genetically modified – and these crops are found in most cheap pet food products on the market.
Studies show that when butterflies and other insects come in contact with pollen from genetically modified crops, they suffer health problems and eventual genetic mutations. An emerging theory states that a similar thing happens when other species consume GMO grains – especially species whose systems aren’t designed to cope with a grain overload in the first place. It’s thought the process of genetic modification can make an ingredient unrecognizable to the body, causing potential “food sensitivity” reactions or worse.
In Part 2, we’ll look at pet food processing, environmental impacts and packaging.