Dr. Hodgkins Issues Rebuttal to Pet Food Industry Spin

I’ll let the articulate veterinary doctor speak for herself after the jump. It’s a worthwhile read and a great, honest shield against spin.

Rebuttal to Pet Food Industry Response to Hearings Held April 12, 2007

Today, April 13, 2007, the pet food industry has issued a broadly published statement and Q & A to counter testimony and questioning that occurred yesterday in Washington DC before the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee investigating the recent pet food contamination recalls. Much of what has been published is incorrect and the industry’s way of trying to do damage control. The following is the text of the industry’s message and my rebuttals to that message: (pet food statements are in italics, my rebuttal in bold):

(Kudos to SG338)

The pet food industry remains a partner in the investigation with the FDA and has cooperated with state and federal regulators since evidence leading to the recall first surfaced. The industry will continue cooperate fully with any other official investigations relating to this incident.

The FDA’s investigation is ongoing and has not reached any conclusions about how any foreign substances entered the process. I think it’s presumptuous to additional regulatory measures at this time. Only when we have this information can we make an accurate and informed decision.

The industry representative insisted that the industry is cooperating fully in this investigation, yet when asked how long it had taken Menu Foods to report to the FDA about the toxins in their food, he admitted that he did not know. The time to report, which is well documented at 3 weeks, would have been something he would have known had the industry been fully involved and cooperating with this investigation. The industry wants this to go away, not be fully investigated so that better quality control measures can be implemented.

How Pet Foods Are Regulated
Pet foods are one of the most highly regulated food products. They are required by law to provide on their labels more information than most human foods. State departments of agriculture provide standards and enforcement policies for regulation of manufacture of pet foods resulting in safe foods. Ingredients in pet food must be acceptable to state authorities. In the March 23 press conference Sundlof also stated that regulation of pet foods is the same as human foods.

Pet foods are far from regulated as human foods are. 4D meat (meat from dead, dying, diseased or disabled animals) CANNOT be used for human food, but it CAN be used in pet foods and is used routinely by at least some manufacturers. Other ingredients that would not be allowed in human foods, such as rendered tissues, are allowed in pet foods. Further, human food health claims are very difficult for human food makers to get. Virtually ALL pet foods contain unsubstantiated claims for safety, completeness and balance that NO HUMAN FOOD in the world would ever be able to get. While some pet foods are likely to be adequate food for pets, many are not, yet there is no testing done to differentiate the good from the bad in this self-regulated industry. FDA has delegated the responsibility of pet food regulation to an association known as AAFCO. AAFCO itself ADMITS it has NO regulatory AUTHORITY or enforcement capabilities, so although there are several layers of APPARENT regulation, there is actually no regulation of pet foods today.

Pet food manufacturers are responsible for producing safe products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration and state governments provide the rules, guidance and oversight under which safe pet food is produced. FDA requires pet food to be wholesome, contain no harmful or deleterious substances, and to be truthfully labeled.

Yes, pet food companies are responsible for producing safe products, and they have failed many times in the past, at least 3 times in the past 18 months. To say they are responsible for doing something is quite different from saying they are ACTUALLY doing it. The facts speak for themselves on this point. The pet food industry has breached the FDA’s mandate of them because they are self-regulated!

How Ingredients and Finished Pet Foods Are Tested
Pet food ingredients undergo significant testing for safety and quality assurance including screening for mycotoxins (including aflatoxin), bacteria (including Salmonella and E.Coli) and nutrient content. Furthermore the finished product is analyzed to ensure appropriate nutrient levels, evaluating protein (including 11 amino acids), fat, fiber, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

This is an untruth. Many if not most pet food ingredients undergo no testing whatsoever. If this statement were true, we would not have repeated pet food aflatoxin toxicity problems as we do. We also would not have had a recent and very serious toxicity problem in a major pet food from excess Vitamin D supplementation. This statement merely describes what is SUPPOSED to happen, not what really DOES happen. The facts speak for themselves.

A Consumer’s Guide to Pet Food: Valuable Information for Pet Owners
Veterinarians agree that pets are living longer, healthier lives since the use of commercially prepared pet foods became widespread. Decades of research have gone into the development of pet food to make sure the special nutrition needs of pet dogs and cats are met.

Veterinarians DO NOT agree about this, they can’t, it is totally unproven. Evidence about changes in the life span of pets over the past several decades is sparse, and no scientist would dare draw the conclusion that pets today live longer on average than pets 30-40 years ago because of commercial pet foods, for example. What does seem clear is that today’s indoor pets live much longer than those that live outdoors. The evidence for this conclusion is strong.

Those who would give commercial pet food even partial credit for this increase in life expectancy in the indoor pet, however, have absolutely no evidence to back up this conclusion. There are many factors that affect the life span of pet animals under indoor and outdoor circumstances. Indoor pets are more protected from death due to automobiles and predators, they are more protected from exposure to infectious disease and often receive more medial care than outdoor pets, to name just a few of the important differences between these two groups. It is easy to sweep commercial food consumption right along with all of these other factors as contributing to longer life in today’s pets. Unfortunately for this particular factor, there is no reason to believe it has anything to do with the longer life of house pets. Let’s look at an analogy to understand how this might be so.
Humans in the US enjoy longer life expectancy today than they did fifty years ago. During those decades of improving average life span, those same people have consumed ever-increasing amounts of fat-laden, sugary, carbohydrate-rich “fast” food and other types of over-processed “convenience” foods. We are far more obese today than in decades past, and human nutritionists nag us endlessly about changing our diets to include better quality, fresh whole foods. Imagine anyone believing that this increasing consumption of highly processed “fast” foods and increasing obesity is the reason, or even makes a positive contribution to our increasing life spans! We are living longer in spite of our diets, not because of them. Many other factors, such as less tobacco smoking, the use of seatbelts, better prenatal and postnatal care, and astonishing high-tech medical advancements for defeating disease and injury account for our increasing life spans. Our convenience-oriented diets are actually working against longer life, but cannot defeat all of these other strong protective factors in our lives.

So it is with our pets. When they live indoors, they live longer than if they lived outdoors, but commercial foods likely have no part in adding those extra years. Like our own “overprocessed” diets, they may even be depriving our pets of even greater health and longevity. If you hear anyone make the flat statement that pets are living longer BECAUSE of commercial foods, demand to see the scientific data for that statement!

What does “complete and balanced” mean?

Unlike most foods for people, many pet food products are designed to be the sole source of nutrition for a pet dog or cat. Products that are labeled “complete and balanced,” as defined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), have been tested to make sure they meet the complex nutritional requirements of a healthy dog or cat.

No, they have NOT been tested to make sure they meet the requirements of healthy pets! Only a very few “sample” diets have even been tested on any animals for even 6 months. Considering that cats have a natural lifespan of 20 years or more, and dogs can live 10-20 years depending on breed, 6 months is NOT long enough and 6 animals is not anywhere close to a statistically valid number to even prove a 6 month claim. This is one of the most serious and most misleading of the untruths that pet food companies make about their foods.

What does it mean on a pet food label that a product has been tested using animal feeding trials?

There are two ways a pet food company can test the nutrition of its products. One method is the use of standardized animal feeding trials, designed by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), to make sure their products meet the complex nutritional requirements of dogs and cats. The animals in these tests are fed the food for six months and are closely monitored to make sure they stay healthy. A product using this test will have language similar to the following on the label - “Animal feeding tests using AAFCO procedures substantiate that Nancy’s Food for Dogs provides complete and balanced nutrition for all life stages.”

This is almost a completely truthful answer, because it admits that this “study” only last six months. This answer omits two important factors: there are only a handful of animals tested, and only a few sample diets are even tested on those few animals for those few months.

Are fillers used in pet food?

Every ingredient used in pet food is there for a reason. Decades of research have gone into making pet foods that meet the nutritional needs of dogs and cats. The makers of pet food do not put in anything that’s not needed.

There is almost no research on any pet food anywhere that can be considered scientific by any genuine scientist. Whether reused vegetable oil and rendered animal scraps and wood cellulose is “needed” by any dog or cat is very highly questionable by intelligent and well trained experts. The cat has absolutely no need for carbohydrates, for example, yet all dry cat food has PLENTY of this cheap ingredient that is required for dry food processing. Further, the acids that pet food companies put into “urinary tract diets” can and do even cause other diseases, proving that those acidifiers are not only not needed, but are even harmful to many cats. Pet food companies absolutely DO put things in pet food that are not needed and that can even cause harm.

What is ingredient “splitting?”

Some people incorrectly believe pet food makers split up ingredients to give the illusion that some ingredients are at higher concentrations than others. Pet food makers are required to carefully label their products according to stringent government regulations. Just as the case with food for people, pet foods must clearly state what ingredients are included in the product. Each ingredient in pet food is there for a reason and to serve a nutritional purpose.

The “stringent” ingredient regulations have been developed by the industry in concert with AAFCO. AAFCO has no real authority over the pet food companies, and goes along with the desires of an industry that, by the admission of the FDA, is a good way for by-products of American agriculture to “dispose” of those by-products of agriculture that are not fit for or undesirable for humans to eat. Many ingredients in pet food serve no nutritional purpose in our pets, but keep farmers and ranchers from having to throw them away.
An example of ingredients splitting: Pet food companies who wish to disguise the amount of cereals in their products will list several different cereals in stead of using just one (not top quality cereals either) so that what meat IS in their products will legally be listed as the one of the first ingredients. In many, if not most of these foods, cereal actually makes up the majority of the food, but consumers see “chicken” as one of the top 2-3 ingredients and think that chicken is a predominant component of the food. This is “smoke and mirrors.”
The regulations may demand that the ingredients be listed in order of predominance, but there is NO prohibition against the sleight of hand described in this example.

The pet food industry is an ineffectively regulated 15 billion dollar industry that produces everything your pet eats, day in day out. This should make you want to know a lot more about what is going into those cans and bags, and into your pet!

23 Responses to “Dr. Hodgkins Issues Rebuttal to Pet Food Industry Spin”

  1. CathyA says:

    All I can say is WOW! Dr. Elizabeth, I hope you don’t have to stand out there all alone for long!
    Itchmo - thanks for putting it up.

  2. Marcia says:

    How wonderful she is willing to come forward!!! Thank Heavens for people like her! Please please continue to help us, the heartsick pet owners who have had our beloved companions become sick and/or die. We need people like Dr. Hodgkins to help us speak and to speak for our babies who have no voice of their own. THANK YOU!!!!

  3. terry says:

    Dr Hodgkins, you clearly have hit the nail on the head with the industry spin. It is unfortunate that so many veterinarians sit silently by and watch the big wheels of the pet food industry spin. Very few if any have spoken up for our pets and the owners.The all mighty dollar makes them speachless. Captain Kirk in her own words implies that we as pet owners are not “capable of or smart enough to feed our beloved pets homemade diets. She would much rather we feed them the crappy industry food with by products, fillers, grains, fillers, crap, more fillers. Too many carbs, poor protein quality, junk. Kirk should just go back to Hills, as it is clear she still works for them.

    Dr. Hodgkins, you my dear, are a breath of fresh air in the stale industry.
    Senator Durbin you clearly commanded the hearings and I have very high expectations that you willl continue to do so. You are the Hero of the animal lovers community.

  4. Diane Cochrane says:

    Thank you Itchmo for following up on all that you do. We need more people like Dr. Hodgkins. We watched on C-Span and appreciated all that Dr. Hodgkins is doing for all animals. Too bad there aren’t people like her working FOR us instead of using all that energy to hide facts and figures. How far we would have come!
    I hope the good dr. knows how much we need her and her knowlege.We appreciate her taking the time to address this problem.

  5. Carol says:

    I had a lot of respect for Dr. Hodgkins. In fact, both the verterinarians at the hearing were knowledgable, had Common Sense and good ideas, well worth persuing. To be thruthful, I enjoyed their testimonies the most.

  6. Debbie says:

    As an Illinois resident I am so proud that Senator Durbin has taken the industry to task on the recall issue. It was clear that he came to the table having done his home work. Pointed questions, demanding answers that made them squirm. LOVED IT LOVED IT. I would also like to commend Senator Durbin on selecting (if he was the one responsible) Dr. Hodgkins to testify. The good Dr. had more balls than any of the guys testifying. She is a wonderful complement to Senator Durbin’s attempts to “fix” the problem. I certainly hope he continues to consult with her on this issue, as she clearly had the industry by the short hairs. She has a plan, and that is more than I can say for the rest of the blood suckers. What a dynamic team put together to help give a voice to our poor animals who have none. THANK YOU SENATOR DURBIN “YOU WILL ALWAYS HAVE MY VOTE “AND DR HODGKINS, you came to the hearing with a plan and have incredible insight into this mess.

  7. Debbie says:

    LYNETTE, from the Windy City,
    Didn’t want you to miss my response to you about the Chicago Tribune article that you posted. And I read the vile, vicious comments by the local yokels. (speaks volumes about their ignorant mindset!)
    I have to tell you that during and after the hearings with Sen. Durbin, I have NEVER felt so much overwhelming pride, so impressed in my life with a govt. official as I did with Sen Durbin, aside from Sen. Robert Byrd, who is ALWAYS outspoken about animal rights.
    The first thing I thought was that the folks in Illinois REALLY have someone to be proud of…VERY much the opposite of our useless, arrogant Sen. Arlen Specter and our former useless lying Sen. Santorum of PA. And I thought how fortunate our country is to have Sen. Durbin during this crisis.
    Well, the malicious “C.T.” comments have me irritated so much, that I want to submit a letter to that paper. I tried to find an address or e-adddress, but couldn’t find it.
    Would you please post to me their address or e-address.
    AND do you think they will print it being that I am not from that state?
    I’d appreciate any other comments or suggestions that you may have about this.
    AND I had sent an email to him (and the other Sen’s.) before the hearings, and a “thank you” to each afterwards.
    ps: don’t be too embarassed about being from IL…PA is a constant embarassment!

  8. Debbie says:

    To DEBBIE in IL
    From Debbie in PA
    How ironic that our postings are back-to-back! : ) Didn’t know yours went thru while I was typing mine. Anyway, please read my post to Lynette, and if she doesn’t happen to see it, would you please follow thru with my requests if possible? Thanks!

  9. Lynette says:

    Debbie - thank you so much for your kind words. At least I have Senator Durbin to make me proud!!! Thank you for thanking him. I know he appreciates it… and certainly know he deserves it!!!
    Tribune contact information is here:

    I will NOT be getting a subscription.

    Dr. Hodgkins - fantastic, as always. I had the distinct pleasure of making her aquaintance in 2004. After all the vets I’d consulted were unable to improve my diabetic cat’s quality of life - and I was searching for answers, I found Dr. Hodgkins. I read her research, and attempted to implement her protocol for diabetics myself - not only were my cat’s blood sugar levels better regulated - she actually went into REMISSION and stayed there until I lost her to heart failure in 2006.

    I have consulted Dr. Hodgkins several times over the years on feline helath and dietary issues and she has been so patient and giving of her time…setting up a message board this year, yourdiabeticcat.com where we can all share our experiences and learn from her.

    I cannot WAIT for her book to come out in June - I have had the distinct privilege of a preview, and it is FANTASTIC.

  10. Pet Connection Blog » Pet food recall: Friday night round-up says:

    […] http://www.itchmo.com/read/dr-.....n_20070413 […]

  11. Lynn says:


    I found Dr. Hodgkin to be the most credible person on either of the panels. It was obvious that she had full comprehesion of the big picture and all its disconnects. She was the only one who had the guts to be direct and forthcoming without fear of reprisal from the pet food manufacturer reps.

    Bet she kept Duane Ezedahl up all night, chomping at the bit.

    Dr. Hodgkins understands that people need to have facts, to be aware. It’s the unknown and the misinterpretations [e.g., AAFCO labels] that drive consumers crazy.

  12. 5CatMom says:

    Great, Great Rebuttal. Dr. Hodgkins speaks the truth.

    Note to FDA regarding the following:
    “The FDA’s investigation is ongoing and has not reached any conclusions about how any foreign substances entered the process”

    Here’s How: Thanks to LOBBYISTS, you guys decided not to test for melamine, and the China company took advantage of you.

    Dr. S received the explanation in an email this morning, so he can explain it to you. He can also explain that we now have a huge NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE.

    Also, if you read that email carefully, you’ll see that there may soon be another COMPLETE SYSTEM BREAKDOWN. A real sharp ITCHMO blogger recently pointed out that China companies are being very creative in their use of nomenclature. You guys need to check that out. When you write your test protocols for WHEAT GLUTEN, you might want to include all the other names for “wheat gluten”. You might want to specify that wheat gluten must be label and imported as “wheat gluten”. Not some obscure name that no one recognizes. This stuff is complicate, but if you have any questions, just call ITCHMO.

    New subject. Yesterday, one of the hearing guests said that you’re “reconciling”. What is this Accounting 101?

    By now there’s probably a lot of gluten in pet’s stomachs. Why don’t you just take the amount that you’re out of balance and shove it into your short/over account. Then you could stop reconciling. Then you’d have time to do something that matters.

    Maybe you could get the tainted pet food in the grocery stores recalled ’cause it’s still out there.

    New Subject. I Also learned that you told your employees to buy natural foods. But you told us yesterday the food is safe. Why did you do that?

    THAT sounds like something you need to reconcile.

    New Subject. In the process of calling all over the country to talk to someone about a NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE, I discovered that our Homeland Security System is broken.

    Tried to call the Department of Homeland Security. I called the 800 number and got the phone number, but I don’t think it was correct. Got bounced around all over the place. State to Federal. Federal to State. Found out that my local telephone service, the one that provides telephone numbers, doesn’t even have a listing for Homeland Security.

    Wanna know why? It’s because Homeland Security didn’t call and get their number put into the telephone company’s DATABASE. Can’t you guys even figure THAT out?

    Spent about 8 hours on the phone just trying to find out WHO to talk to. No one was interested in the NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE.

    I asked one person “Whom do I call if OSAMA is in my yard?” He said to call 911. I’m wondering why we even have a Department of Homeland Security, if I still have to call 911. Those commercials on TV after 9/11 said to call Homeland Security. So that’s what I tried to do.

    Finally called one of my Senators in Washington, Senator Sam Brownback. The screener answered. Tried to get some help finding the DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. I told him that I was concerned about a NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE. Apparently, he wasn’t interested because he cut the line. When I tried to call back he wouldn’t answer. When I called back in a couple of hours, he put me on hold and never came back.

    So today, I talked to lots of folks and left lots of voice mail messages, ’cause every where you call, you get an answering machine.

    Finally, about 5:00 PM a nice man called. I think he can help with the NATIONAL SECURITY ISSUE, but I’ll have to wait for him to get back with me next week.

    Sure hope nothing bad happens over the weekend.

  13. Debbie from PA says:

    Hi, LYNETTE! : ) thanks for your reply and all the info. I can admit that I am a dummy about computers. I hit that highlighted area, and all I got was something about a password and all, which never works for me anytime. Then I hit “contact us,” and I got the same thing as I did yesterday when I read the article, the “C.T.” itself, but still no address on it. So I acutally need the address or e-address “spelled out” for me IF you can. Sorry to be an inconvenience. : (
    I particularly want to write to the column (no address there either) “Letters of the People” (is that what it was called?) to sing the praises of Sen. Durbin. And again, do you think they will print it being that I don’t live in that state?
    I’d like to switch states with those local yokels. They’d be much happier grumbling here in my part of PA where ignorance is bliss!!!!…and education is something that is feared! : ) LOL

  14. Evy in CO says:

    HALLELJUAH! for Dr. Hodgkins!!!

    1) I would only wish that the Pet Food Institute would put her on their special *commission* that will be investigating things. Yet, somehow I doubt it, since she would spoil their agenda.

    2) She was RIGHT about the lack of regulation is the industry. A great case in point in the insanity of Iams/Eukanuba starting an ILLEGAL claim on their ingredient label. They list the ingredient “Dried Beet Pulp (sugar removed)” wnile other companies that are doing the LEGAL thing by listing “Dried Beet Pulp.” These ingredients are one and the same BUT the corporate company flies in the face of AAFCO and leaves the companies who comply out to dry. I and other pet food companies are tired of getting phone calls and being asked if our Dried Beet Pulp has any in sugar in it. The answer for both nomenclatures is NO, the corporate guys are just putting a spin on what is supposed to be ’sacred’ and that is the ingredient label.

    I asked my local Dept. of Ag. representative about this issue years ago!!! And when I talked with her about it last week, she ‘thought they changed it, because they were warned.”


    Nothing was changed and this is something so incredibly basic it’s not funny. Because another foul I’d like to call is seeing “fresh chicken” listed, since we aren’t supposed to put that on a label, plus seeing “chicken (a naturally occurring source of glucosamine” is wrong too.

    There is NO regulation about even the simplest protocol!

    3) I agree with her about the lack of significant testing. The recall that happened with the Diamond Pet Food that caused so many deaths ended up as a result of them using corn that had not even been tested. That is an abomination and too many companies are just crossing their fingers on what they put into food.

    4) Our animals are living longer?? NO WAY and she could have rightly indicated that thirty years ago, no professional would have considered a dog Senior at eight years of age - which is being pushed on us now. I worked in dog behavior and part of the reason I even started a product line was a) seeing how many students were coming back with a new pup 6 - 8 years after they had taken their first class, because that other dog had died of cancer and b) my OWN dog died of cancer when he was only five years old. They are not living longer by any means.

    5) There are recommendations set forth by the NRC (National Research Council) in the AAFCO Manual for the formulation of both dog and cat food. Hence, the issues about Menadione being challenged. It is not recommended for dog food (yet you will find it on MANY ‘corporate’ dog food labels) and is only recommended for cat foods that have 25% fish on a dry matter basis.

    So, there is a ‘plumb line’ that formulations are to be checked against, but no one is doing it! WHY are there any dog foods out there that clearly have Menadione on the label?? And sorry, don’t fall for the line, “Oh, we changed the formula, we’re just using up old bags.”

    6) She is also right that pet food companies absolutely do put things in pet food that are not needed and that even cause harm. Anyone ever LOOK at a Beneful dry dog food label and see the word SUGAR and SORBITOL there???? Oh my gosh!! I couldn’t believe it when it first came out and how popular it became. Peanut hulls, all kinds of crap - now those are fillers.

    7) SPLITTING OUT INGREDIENTS. I am quoting her directly now:

    “An example of ingredients splitting: Pet food companies who wish to disguise the amount of cereals in their products will list several different cereals in stead of using just one (not top quality cereals either) so that what meat IS in their products will legally be listed as the one of the first ingredients. In many, if not most of these foods, cereal actually makes up the majority of the food, but consumers see “chicken” as one of the top 2-3 ingredients and think that chicken is a predominant component of the food. This is “smoke and mirrors.”
    The regulations may demand that the ingredients be listed in order of predominance, but there is NO prohibition against the sleight of hand described in this example.”

    THANK YOU DR. HODGKINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I have been fighting an uphill climb for nine years trying to educate consumers that seeing MEAT as the first ingredient means they are probably feeding ‘meat flavored cereal.’

    BUT all of the ‘online experts’ and EVERY dog food company can’t be wrong can they???

    YES THEY HAVE BEEN and her statement proves it!! If you check out kumpi.com and look at the meat/grain comparison chart, you would be stunned to see how much grain/cereal is in pet foods. My nutritionist (who did formulate my product from scientific knowledge and not warm fuzzies to appease consumers) told me nine years ago that I needed to choose between BEING the best dog food or LOOKING like the best dog food; that in the court of both public opinion and the massive collaboration of pet food companies, I could not do both.

    Obviously, I opted for BEING the best, since I wasn’t even trying to start a pet food company and my major concern was a) my personal dog (hooray for how healthy he is!) and b) my dog behavior students having the ability to feed something that was an alternative to corporate America playing games with out pet’s food.

    Finally, I feel exonerated about not having MEAT as a first ingredient. Holy cow, maybe someday people will actually look at the ‘digestibility of various grains chart’ on my website to see that a scientific study shows just how digestible corn really is. It’s not raw corn, it’s cornmeal and highly digestible. But “they” have tried to convince you it’s no good so they can fill their products up with grains that can’t all of what corn CAN add to a diet.

    IF there was any other grain that my nutritionist could, from a scientific point of view, utilize to produce anything better - I would use it in a heartbeat, so more people would finally buy just one bag and get the benefits of the supplementation built into the food. Not only IN the food, but also sprayed onto the food after it has cooked and cooled.

    THIS INDUSTRY MAKES ME SICK. I purposefully did not become a member of The Pet Food Industry - they are the very ones who sickened me enough to start a pet food company in the first place! Only 3% of the pet food industry is not a member - does that tell you anything?!

    And does Dr. Hodgkins statement about ’splitting out ingredients’ get you to understand that if the industry LIED to you about that (not to mention all of the pseudo pet food nutrition gurus out there - and I will assume they are well intentioned and uninformed) what ELSE isn’t revealed to you? What other sins of omission or commission are going on???

    I could tell a BUNCH to you, but few listen, since ‘corn’ is my first ingredient (which makes people think it is the ‘base’ of the food) and that corn is not digestible (see chart on the website) and that corn is a likely allergen, when it is NOT. The GRADE of corn is what many dogs have reactions to, not the corn itself. I’ve had wayyyy too many folks who thought their dogs were allergic to corn who were eager to try my product and did so with great success. CORN was not the problem - it was the grade of corn!

    Ten percent or less of the allergic reactions manifested by a dog will be dietary. But what does the veterianarian have you do? “Try a new food and I happen to be selling…..”

    And even if they have you going to purchase the food that is on the market, WHY would a professional have you playing Russian Roulette with your dog’s diet if they are manifesting allergic reactions?? The first protocol should be a blood test to see exactly WHAT is causing the reaction. I am soooo tired of talking with people on the phone who have gone through MONTHS of trying different dog foods, only to have me suggest the blood test and THEN they find out their poor dog was allergic to something seasonal or environmental!
    And the poor dog is the one who suffered the most through the whole thing.

    And cat food, don’t even get me started. My nutritionist did an industry flip and over 80% of the protein in our cat food comes from MEAT and 20% grain. Most every other cat food out there has 80% of the protein coming from a grain like corn gluten meal (high in protein and low in ash) and only 20% meat.

    I am a PET LOVER first and a business woman second. And I have been bashed about my dog food for years by “fill in the blank of oh so many of the ‘journals’ who change their perceptions year to year too easily AND websites that I have to keep explaining the inerrancies of” while I continue to have longterm customers like The New York State K9 Handling Unit, The MTA/NYC and The UN K9 Unit as well and many other law enforcement agencies. They are sleeping well through their nights (or days.)

    Back then and now, my goal is the same. To get the consumers to wake up and LEARN about the deceptions of the pet food industry.

    Good Lord, I work from the spare bedroom of my house and I WORK. I doubt any other pet food company’s president was in their garage last night, manually prepping FedEx to ship out. To me, this is all a labor of love and if you read the testimonials on my site you will see what nutrition based on SCIENCE can do. I refuse to change anything about my product OR the label to appease a consumer. I will only have manufactured what is the best. And yes, I grilled my manufacturer till they were sick of me (just kidding, they have really become good friends of mine) before I used them to produce my food.

    Dr. Hodgkins statement is THE FIRST RAY OF HOPE I have seen in nine years of the public getting information that will actually help.

    By God’s grace my company has grown and I’ve been able to help out a lot of pets and probably saved some lives since many of my customers used to feed what has been recalled.

    Dr. Hodgkins will hopefully continue to be a source of knowledge to expose more of the “smoke and mirrors” that have been promulgated on the consumer.

    It takes more than an ingredient label to make sure your dog/cat is eating well. It takes a nutritionist (mine is multi-species and has been in the field for 35+ years) that knows what he/she is doing!! And it takes a company who will run a ‘fixed formula’ that isn’t always changing from bag to bag, because the commodities market changed. Yes, you often are feeding a TOTALLY different food than the last bag since they are so worried about the almighty dollar.

    Hmmmm. I am wondering if I need to get this copyrighted, I’ve been typing for so long. Think I’ll start a blog on my website soon :)

    Itchmo - thanks a million for what you have been doing through this all. You have kept journalistic professionalism and worked to align yourself with the same. Your workload has increased so much - God bless you for all that you and the others have done.

    I am hoping that all of the problems that I’ve read about on many boards about dry dog food causing deaths does not get swept under the carpet. This industry has had far too big of a skirt to hide behind and have shown the arrogance of placing a dollar sign on the life of a pet.


    Evy in CO
    President of kumpi.com

    p.s. If you would have sacrificed years, months, weeks, days and hours of your life to do what I’ve done, I think you’d be making this same post.

  15. Jan says:


    I love your attitude….went to your website & looked around. Interesting comparison on ingredients in dog food.

    Just started my dog on Hund-n-Flocken….want to see how this goes. I don’t have a lot of choices in her food these days, don’t trust any of them, so you may be hearing from me down the road.

    I’m not naive by any stretch of the imagination but I never would’ve thought these pet food companies would put this disgusting crap into the food that goes into our beloved companions. I had more faith in them than that. Boy, has this been an eye opener for me. I will never use any of the big brand names again, sticking with the small companies that really do care more about animals than in the almighty buck. This has really destroyed what little faith I ever had in big business. And don’t even get me started on CEOs & their multi-million dollar bonuses for sitting on their fat fannies & doing nothing……especially MF’s chief moron & his dumping of stock which was far more important than an immediate food recall. Hope he can sleep at night. Also hope to hear he’s sleeping in prison sometime soon……

  16. Evy in CO says:

    Jan ~

    Thanks and I’m just hoping to give people an even bigger snapshot of the industry. I have been so frustrated to see ‘dried beet pulp (sugar removed)’ on ingredient labels!!!

    IF that tiniest thing cannot be monitored then what the heck ? !

    When I started the company, I was informed by my Dept. of Ag. that the ingredient label per AAFCO and the FDA was ’strictly regulated’ and that I could not use ANY other ways or words to describe the products.

    Sooooo, why the ‘big’ companies getting away with it?

    Ack, don’t even get me started again lol. The disparities are numerous and these organizations are overworked, understaffed and…….now I just have to wonder about who is getting what $$$$ for ‘corporate’ pet food companies to get away with things that I’d get nailed for!!

    I will refrain from my thoughts concerning many different entities and their actions.

    I sleep well at night and I bet ‘they’ don’t. At least not without a buncha meds or booze to do so!

  17. CathyA says:

    All Hearing testimonies (not Q & A) now available:

  18. Tricia says:

    THANK YOU, Dr. Hodgkins!!!

  19. Lynette says:

    Hey Debbie - saw your post on the Chicago blog… thanks for sticking up for Senator Durbin!

    Dr. Hodgkins is just fantastic… been a fan for years… I added a few bits on my site, so people could learn more about her, if you wish…



  20. Jonathan says:

    Cheers to you Dr. Hodgkins!

    Keep up the good fight and please don’t give in to big business. Don’t let big business corrupt judgement!

  21. Debbie says:

    I might have missed it, but is there an e-address for Eliz. Hodgins so that we can flood her with our thanks and continued support? Not only must we tell her to keep up the good fight, WE must stand at her side as well.

    I would also like to suggest that we write actual letters to Sen. Durbin for the same reasons as above. Granted, only the govt. officials’ staff reads and filters the incoming mail/e-mails, but still our thanks and tremendous support is most likely to get back to him.

    Hey! another thought! We can write actual letters to good ‘ol lying Duane Ekehard (Exec. Director of the Pet Food Industry) I’m sure he would “appreciate” hearing from us that we didn’t believe a word he said!

    Good bye, Duane! (oh, btw, did you sell your stocks a little early too?… in this “terrible coincidence?????

  22. Lynette says:

    Anyone hear Dr. Hodgkins and Mr. Ekendahl on Pet Central last night? Mr. Ekendahl refused to be on the same time as Dr. Hodgkins, but they were on back-to-back. There will be a webcast/audio archive up at some point…

    Dr. Hodgkins can be reached through her websites:
    * http://all-about-cats.com/contact.htm (her clinic)
    * http://www.yourdiabeticcat.com (her feline diabetes information and message board)

    Just don’t flood her with so many emails I can’t bug her for help with my cats! (wink)

  23. MRB says:

    The real truth in labeling requirement for the pet food industry should be a dislcoure that the garbage sold as food is nothing more than industrial garbage and toxins.

    Dog food manufacturers have made a fortune since the postwar years peddling a fraud that these bags of waste are good for our dogs. How many dogs lives have ben shortened by eating the products of these manufacturers may never be known.

    If better regulation is not feasible due to money, manpower or will, then at least a warning such as those stamped on cigarette packs would initiate a campaign for better public awareness and a reduction in demand.

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