Shared News Story – An Exposé on Prescription Diets from WJLA ABC7 News

How lab tests show prescription pet food ingredients are no better or cleaner than off-shelf brands

< A short link to this blog post >

< Updated 13MAY21 >

In this news story dated 22MAY19, and broadcast by WJLA ABC News 7 in Washington, senior investigative reporter Lisa Fletcher examines prescription pet food sold through veterinary offices. This is what Fletcher said about this story in a Tweet: “You pay a lot for prescription pet food. Wonder what’s in it? Bet you didn’t know you might be buying arsenic, lead, pesticides and BPA for your sick pet. We tested 125 top products. Results tonight, only on @ABC7News.”

Notable quotes and information in this report are listed below.

  • There is no medicine in prescription pet foods. There’s nothing ‘prescription’ in the food at all,” said Dr. Karen Becker. “There are no drugs, there’s no medicine, there’s no herb,” said Becker. “So, “by prescription” means you have to buy it from your veterinarian. But the list of ingredients on the back of the food is usually not much different than regular pet food.
  • In fact, “Prescription Diet” is a marketing term, trademarked by Hill’s, the maker of Science Diet. That trademark is the reason other “prescription” pet food manufacturers alternatively label their prescription products “therapeutic” or “veterinary” diets.
  • WJLA had Ellipse Analytics, a specialized lab in Denver, tested 125-prescription pet foods from four leading brands: Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin Veterinary Diet, Blue Buffalo Veterinary Diet, and Purina Pro Plan Veterinary Diet. They tested for 130-contaminants including heavy metals like mercury and arsenic, antibiotics, pesticides, and mycotoxins, produced by certain molds, that can cause illness and even death. The results were compared to similar tests on more than 14-hundred traditional pet foods. Overall, prescription pet foods performed no better than their off-the-shelf counterparts.
  • And in some cases, prescription brands performed worse.
    • Our tests showed 40% of prescription pet foods contained pesticides, one of the highest incidence rates of any category the lab has tested.
    • The lab also found glyphosate, the controversial weed killer that is the active ingredient in Roundup, in some of the products.
  • For more than two years, Ellipse Analytics has compiled a comprehensive data set containing more than 2,000 pet food products. The lab believes it is the largest and most detailed data set of its type, giving their scientists a unique vantage point.
    • Pet food products tend to be significantly more contaminated when it comes to heavy metals when it comes to pesticides and things like that than what you’d find in a human food product, which is a concern because humans have a varied diet,” said Callan. “Whereas, when you’re talking about pet food, you’re feeding the animal the same thing every day, multiple days in a row and in the case of prescription pet food, you’re feeding a sick animal the same thing every day, multiple days in a row. So, what would be, with us, something that could be spread out over the course of the diet, ends up being a concentrated event.”
  • Several lawsuits have alleged in class actions that Mars, Purina, Hills, and others deceptively sold prescription pet food in violation of state and federal laws. One such claim, in California, was dismissed by the trial court and is now on appeal in the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. A decision is expected by the end of the year. Two cases are pending in Kansas and Missouri.
  • These types of test results that you have discovered are not only not shocking to me it’s very frustrating because it causes pet parents to lose faith not only in the veterinarian but in pet food companies across the board.” – Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Becker

To see the story <click here> < >

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