In 2007, several thousand pets died and were severely injured due to pet “food” contaminated by ingredients sourced in China. As a result, pet “food” manufacturers (is it really “food” if it’s manufactured?) began to apply a “Made in the USA” label to their packaging. However, it appears that such claims leave much to be desired.
Lawsuits filed against Purina’s Merrick Pet Food, Wysong Pet Food and Big Heart Brands (i.e., Milo’s Kitchen) claim that these manufacturers falsely labeled their products as made in the USA. The suits claim that “[t]hese products allegedly include vitamin, mineral and amino acid packs that contain ingredients sourced outside the U.S.“
The guidelines from the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) dictate that “a product advertised as Made in USA be ‘all or virtually all’ made in the U.S.” Moreover, guidelines from the American Association of Feed Control Officials, which is “charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds and animal drug remedies” state that:
“‘all or virtually all means’ that all significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of US origin. That is, the product should contain no – or negligible – foreign content. So just putting together ingredients inside the US is not enough. Additionally, just getting ingredients from a broker within the US is not enough. If ingredients are imported, then it is very difficult to justify the use of the phrase ‘Made in the USA.’”
However, it appears that neither the US Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) nor the US Department of Agriculture (“USDA”), both of which have jurisdiction over this issue, have been enforcing the law. Almost all manufacturers labeling their products “Made in the USA” openly state that they source some of their ingredients outside the USA. These include Blue Buffalo, Biljac, Castor & Pollux, Innova, Rachel Ray Nutrish, Nutro, Science Diet, Wellness and others.
You may wonder why. Essentially…why not? If no one is enforcing the law and people prefer to buy products with “Made in the USA” label, then why not? In fact, manufacturers may be able to charge more for such a product and, since their cost of goods is still the same, make more money. Follow the money trail, no? Buyer beware remains the motto.
In good health,