Myth: Currently there is, for example, no way to find out if manufacturer A’s “chicken byproducts” are of a better quality or than manufacturer B’s. All you see is generally “chicken byproducts” on the ingredients list without any explanation of what is actually in them, whether they have been bought from a rendering company, or rendered by the manufacturer. You don’t know how this sort of thing is handled at the slaughterhouse, during transport and at the rendering plant. It is certainly not handled with such care as whole meat products. For me personally, the fact that a manufacturer uses byproducts other than clearly defined organ meats in a food is enough to steer clear of it. (Source: http://www.dogfoodproject.com/?page=ingrd)
Fact: The short answer here is that you should trust the company that makes the food you are feeding your pet. Any reputable pet food company will have a customer service number that you can call to discuss their products. They will tell you if they source their meat products from USDA inspected plants or not. Pet food manufactures can control the quality and content of their by-products and work closely with the supplier to ensure the product meets their standards.
You should also ask how many board certified veterinary nutritionists are on staff developing their diets. A veterinary nutritionist who is a member of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition (ACVN) is someone who has devoted their career to making sure animals receive proper nutrition. I find it inconceivable that a person so dedicated to nutrition would work for a company that uses low quality ingredients that may be harmful to our pets. For more information on veterinary nutritionists please visit www.ACVN.org.
Ashley Gallagher, DVM