Pet Food Industry

Don’t Be Fooled By "Human-Grade" Pet Food Claims

At Tom&Sawyer, we are really onto something – that feeding lightly cooked, nutritious real food will promote better health and longevity for the beloved four-legged members of your family.  We have observed overwhelming evidence from our customers of reduced veterinarian costs, resolution or substantial improvement of a wide range of health issues ranging from skin and eye rashes through to more involved internal organ conditions, and having much happier pets all around.

Given the trend of promoting health and nutrition for pets, so many pet food companies are now promoting their own “human grade” pet food.  The problem is that the pet food industry is unregulated, so there is no real way to stop companies from deceptively marketing their products.  You just have to look at most bags of kibble that show photos of fresh meat, when there is no real meat in any of those kibble products.  “Human Grade” is also a meaningless term in the pet food industry – it literally means nothing.  Many justify using it by claiming that their ingredients are “human-grade”, which they claim means they come from a facility that processes food edible by humans.  The problem is that pet food companies buy the waste coming out of these plants, the parts that are not edible by humans.  There are also no standards of how this waste is stored and handled.

Consumers pay a premium for these “human-grade” products because they think it will be better for their pets, but it’s the same old garbage (literally).  At Tom&Sawyer we are different in that we impose self-regulation from the human food industry, so we actually make human food that has been nutritionally balanced for pets.  (You can also read about the 5 main ways we are different here)  This way, you can be sure that the ingredients on our labels are actually in our pet meals, and that we are actually using the restaurant quality ingredients we talk about.  In fact, we want you to come and visit us so you can see our Chefs making our pet meals in an open kitchen, ask questions and see every step of our process.  We are completely transparent, so your pet actually gets the nutritional benefit that you are paying for.

While the pet food industry is unregulated in Canada and most parts of the world, there are some light voluntary regulations in the US by a feed organization (AAFCO).  We have some problems with the fact that AAFCO’s main business is regulating livestock feed to promote the cheapest way for farmers to have their livestock gain weight as quickly as possible, to get to slaughter faster, in the safest way for human consumption of their meat.  Clearly this organization’s main focus is completely at odds with the desires of pet parents to promote healthy, happy long lives for their cherished four-legged members of their families, but unfortunately they are all the pet food industry has.  However, even they have come out recently with an article about the use of the meaningless term “human grade” in pet food, which can be read here.

At Tom&Sawyer we ask you to read labels, ask questions and use common sense.  If your pet food is sold in the cleaning supply aisle of the grocery store (traditional pet food needs to be at least 6 feet from real food in grocery stores, because it is not real food itself) or from a pet store (which are not inspected by public health for real food sale), it does not contain “real food”, so by the cheapest possible (it’s all the same).  If you want to promote health, try some of our Tom&Sawyer dog meals and cat meals.  Our customers feed our meals across the spectrum from exclusive diet through to a few meals per week, as a healthy treat!