Nutro Modifies Advertising Claims For Lite Pet Food Products

NutroThe National Advertising Division of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (NAD) recommended that Nutro change their advertising for its “lite” pet foods to conform to industry standards established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

Hill’s Pet Nutrition challenged Nutro’s claims on their “lite” pet food because Hill’s said the pet food products exceeded the maximum calorie allowance for lite pet food according to industry guidelines.

Nutro said that AAFCO had no standards for “lite” pet foods when the company introduced Natural Choice Lite 13 years ago. The company called the pet food “lite” because it contained less fat and protein than their other dog food products.

After reviewing the products and evidence, the NAD concluded that Natural Choice Lite and Natural Choice Small Bites Lite did not meet AAFCO’s standards for “lite” pet food products.

NAD recommended that Nutro immediately stop labeling these products as “lite” until they have taken the steps to ensure that the products do not exceed AAFCO’s calorie limits.

The company disagreed with NAD’s findings that their “lite” pet food exceeded AAFCO’s guidelines, but Nutro said, “[We will] take all of NAD’s suggestions into account for [our] future advertising and make any necessary modifications in accordance with NAD’s recommendations so that [our] Natural Choice Lite product continues to comply with AAFCO guidelines.”

Source: PetAge

(Thanks menusux)

21 Responses to “Nutro Modifies Advertising Claims For Lite Pet Food Products”

  1. Robert Davis says:

    The AAFCO and Hill’s are worried about “calories” yet if the “calories” provide more benefit to the dog (energy and nutrition) without the dogs gaining weight and maybe even losing weight, then maybe the AAFCO needs to change their reading of calories and definition of lite.

    The type of calories eaten is VERY important - calories with lots of butter fat (think Swiss Chocolate) vs. lean chicken breasts is a good example - which do you think, given the same amount of calories, will your body better use for fuel and which will be used as fat storage? I would gain weight on the chocolate but utilize the energy of the lean chicken breat more efficiently and thus keep the weight off and most likely lose weight as well.

    I do NOT use Nutro by the way.

  2. 2CatMom says:

    What did you expect from Nutro? A company that knowingly lies about the safety of its food isn’t going to be very concerned about calorie counts.

  3. furmom says:

    As long as the food manufacturers put accurate protein, carbo, fat, analysis on the package, and calories per cup , and sources for those ingredients, I think this is far more helpful to the owner in comparing feeds. Terms like “lite” or “weight control” are not all that useful because these terms are misleading at best. My biggest complaint is that the total amount of food suggested to give on the bags is usually far too much for most couch potato pets (and may not be enough for very active or outdoor winter dogs). Owners have to control amounts accordingly regardless of how the food is classified.

  4. catbird says:

    *prints off Nutro logo to use as dart board*, based on past experience.

    I agree that the “weight control” and “lite” terms are misleading. I’ve heard quite a few people say that their pets still gained weight on the so-called weight control foods, and had other problems with them.

  5. Adelyn says:

    Hill’s complaining about labeling with nutro. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. Hill’s makes a lot of false claims about their foods too!

  6. catmom5 says:

    Maybe they’d all be smart to worry more about the ingredients in the food rather than the advertising. It does depend where those calories come from. And it does make a difference what the age, health and activity level of the animal is. Nutro and Hills, and all the others, really ought to focus on making healthy, safe food! THAT would be a step in the right direction!!!

  7. menusux says:

    It sounds like they have “manufacturing irregularities” on a regular basis there:

    (From the PetAge article)

    “Furthermore, Nutro noted that temporary manufacturing irregularities at its plants had allowed the unauthorized addition of fat to the “lite” pet food products, skewing the results of certain product tests performed by the challenger. The company presented evidence that the irregularities had been corrected.”

    Now, why is it if the food is so nutritious and wholesome, the following problem isn’t correctable?

    Victorville Daily Press December 4, 2007

    “Emotions ran high at a workshop commissioned by two City Council members to address concerns about the odor from the Nutro Pet Products Plant on Tuesday night.

    ““My only recreation is to sit in the backyard and fish,” said Robert Davis, a Spring Valley Lake resident and cancer victim. “Now I can’t even do that,” he said in regards to the smell coming from the factory.

    “He added that the quality of life for him and his neighbors has been ruined.

    “The Nutro Pet Products plant opened in March of 2006 at the Foxborough Industrial Park at Nisqualli and Hesperia roads. Residents began to complain about the smell shortly afterwards.”

    Nutro’s spent $4 million on trying to get rid of the smell and is planning to throw another $6 million at it in 2008.

    If you’re near a Campbell’s soup plant, you can smell the soup-not unpleasant at all; if you’re near a Nabisco plant, there are times the air smells like chocolate, because they’re baking the cookies for Oreos, etc.–that’s not unpleasant either.

    Two options which surely would have cost less than the $10 million projected without surety that this 2008 “fix” will solve the problem:

    1) Change the name to PU-tro

    2) Reformulate, buy better ingredients and get rid of the byproducts.

  8. Rober Davis says:

    I agree - healthy, safe ingredients are far more important than a label that can be misleading. In 2006 I had Lobo on Nutro Ultra Holistic for weight loss….he didn’t lose any weight and was actually getting worse health wise. I stopped using it and I’m glad I did - pet owners/guardians need to research and make sure they feed a good quality food that works well for their babes.

  9. peace2us says:

    Hill’s has a lot of nerve whining about another product’s labeling. A quick check of their own labels shows ground yellow corn as the lead ingredient on a lot of their foods, followed by meat by products, and many unhealthy fillers.

    Pot calling the kettle black indeed.

  10. Pukanuba says:

    I think if Putro used real honest-to-goodness food, as advertised, there would be no offensive odor. If Campbells & Nabisco plants don’t have a putrid odor, that may be because they use real food as ingredients, not……well, let’s not go there.

    I used to work very close to a Nabisco plant & it always smelled like cookies when I drove by. I can’t even imagine (nor do I want to) what is going on inside the Putro plant to cause that gross an odor.

    Buyer beware……

  11. Cathy says:

    Any pet eating QUALITY food at the recommended amount should not need ‘lite’ food. No wonder animals are overreating - they are not getting the nutrients they need in their food so they continue to eat to meet the need in their bodies. In my opinion, Nutro (Mars) gets away with selling more crap than most of the big companies - my proof is a 6 yr old dead dog. I don’t know if it was the mold or bad protein or what - but i do know it was the food. He began getting sick when we switched and our vet didn’t diagnose the problem as the food. Sorry all, but I still carry a grudge and labeling won’t make any difference. They sell poison. Look at the number of people still having problems with this crap they sell:

  12. Dennis says:

    The Federal Trade Commission FTC investigates false advertising claims and imposes pretty large fines on companies it finds have falsely advertised their products. But for it to do that, it usually takes a consumer complaint. I’m not sure this really qualifies because it is debatable whether lite in this case was misused especially given the timing. But it is worth remembering the FTC for a future issue.

  13. Sandi K says:

    While I agree that people need to read whats in the product, I think what the article is saying is more fat was going into the food than what Nutro even knew about. This could be devastating to a pet even deadly that has pancreas or other health issues or even a normal pet if too much fat was going in. Reading the ingredient label wouldnt have told someone more fat was going in as it sounds like Nutro didnt even know about it. And what else is/was going into that food or for that matter other products from that company? After the pet food recalls why did they have such an ‘irregularity”? I thought they continually checked their food as they supposedly claim on their website ( ya right). How long was this going on and why was there no notice to the public? How much more fat was going in? Can adding fat boost a protein content? Im curious. Its really suspicious that they just happened to find out they had more fat going in to their product when it was called to their attention for another reason…..the whole thing doesnt set well with me. oh and we just happened to find out that there was an irregularity and fixed it? It seems too convenient…..

  14. martin says:

    Looks like the pot calling the kettle black!

    I wouldnt buy either one unless i had a headache.

  15. Cathy says:

    Martin, does that mean you think acetaminophen is the problem?

  16. Louie W. says:

    Adelyn writes: “Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.”

    My thoughts, exactly.

  17. About Dogs says:

    Nutro caused my two dogs to have HIGH liver panel Alkaline Phosphatase levels.

    My female was on Nutro Natural Chicken Lite (which caused her to gain weight).

    My male on Nutro Natural Lamb and Rice (which caused him to be underweight).

    Nutro is being sued and rightly so for their part in murdering pets. I hope the class action plaintiffs prevail.

    Thank God the very first day of the first recall I pulled both off dog feed and began home feeding. Additionally receive milk thistle.

    Both dogs are of normal weight now and have completely normal full blood panel levels.

    I will NEVER again feed my dogs dog food or dog treats! Homefeeding can be just as economical and easy as feeding pet food. Keep your dogs healthy. Stop feeding pet food!

  18. Pukanuba says:

    I found this handout at the high-end pet store I go to get food, vitamins & the like. It’s called “22 Pet Food Fallacies” & it’s by Dr. R. L. Wysong……I know, we all have a little chip on our shoulders because of his defense of MF but I found these two to be quite interesting:

    Overweight pets need to be put on “lite” formulas & fiber to lose weight.
    FALSE. Most lite formulas increase the fiber content of the food & decrease fats & meats. The cause of obesity in modern pets is not a lack of fiber. The cause is high carbohydrate processed foods, sedentary living, pampering with snacks & feeding more food than is necessary to sustain the animal’s activity.

    Pets require special life stage diets.
    FALSE. In the wild, animals eat essentially one diet consisting of a variety of raw, natural foods for their entire life. A 10-yr old wolf eats the same food as a 3-month old one. Life stage formulations are a marketing scheme, not a nutritional necessity.

  19. furmom says:

    The “wolf diet” logic doesn’t really apply very well to our pets, and its flawed to some extent anyway. Three month old wolves don’t have to go out on the hunt so they are using calories to grow, their food is brought to them . At the same time in large breeds they put on as much bone in one or two years as humans do in 10, so they need a lot of bone chewing time to get calcium. Adult wolves often go days with very little to eat (human owners would consider this cruel for a pet), yet may be travelling miles on the hunt, and use up a lot of protein building a thick winter coat, and they are not neutered,so not much similarity to our pets life style, caloric and nutrient needs hormonal status would be very different. Also I doubt many wolves make it to 10 years old. On the other hand wolves would not be eating huge bags on corn and lard, or watching hours of TV in their centrally heated homes everyday like most pets out there today.

  20. Realist says:

    While the wolf studies may not apply in every aspect of our feeding decisions common sense should. Dogs are opportunistic carnivores, not omnivores as the pet food companies would like you to believe. They can get by eating a diet high in carbs, but, just getting by is not the same as thriving.

    I think the most important aspect of feeding our pets is to leave our own (albeit limited) knowledge of human nutrition out of it. We need a lot of fiber for very specific reasons and tend to transfer that over to our pets. If we get blocked up we eat more fiber. With pets it can actually work the opposite way. Of course every body is different and works for some won’t work for all but in general carnivores should be eating lots of muscle meat, organ meat, bones and fat. Throw a few apples, blueberries and sweet potatoes in and they’ve got a meal fit for a king.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Adelyn writes: “Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.”

    My thoughts, exactly.

    Ha! Ha! Ha! Let them go after one another. I hope they both go belly up!

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