PET | TAO Transparency: How We Make Our Products

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Here at PET | TAO, Transparency is important! Transparency means truth. Transparency in pet food means you know what’s in the box, bag or can.

Is your pet food manufacturer transparent? Can you go online and read exactly where the products and/or materials come from?

In the U.S., four manufacturers account for more than 80 percent of all retail sales in the pet food market.

Because of the monopoly, it can be difficult to differentiate between brands.

Which company is looking out for the needs of your furry friend?

At PET | TAO, we understand ingredient selection and recipe choice are important factors in choosing your pet’s diet.

Our customers are curious and selective consumers, which is why we are transparent about what goes into our pet food line.

We encourage you to ask questions about the “What?” and “Why?” behind our products and any other products you feed your pet!

The Meat in Our Food is Not Human Grade, Here’s Why

Many pet foods tout the human “human grade” when describing their food. We think that’s great! For them.

Our philosophy on pet food is a little different than the norm in several ways. And here’s one of them.

The meat we use cannot be USDA labeled “Human Grade”.

Why? Because we have bones, cartilage and ligaments ground up in with the meat.

It’s pretty much the same concept as bone broth, only we grind everything up instead of cooking it for days.

However, according to the USDA, meat with ground-up bones is it is not considered human grade.

But here’s where pet food advertising gets tricky.

The pet food industry is regulated by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) to ensure quality in pet food.

AAFCO is a voluntary membership association of local, state, and federal agencies charged by law to regulate the sale and distribution of animal feeds (including dog and cat foods) and animal drug remedies. The organization defines and establishes regulations for pet food and feed ingredients, as well as sets standards for nutritional adequacy.

AAFCO, in their own words, state the following:

Whether a product is or is not advertised as human-grade has no impact on product safety. All pet food products must meet feed requirements, including being unadulterated.

Our food is a perfect example.

For a more complete understanding of the situation, here’s the complete statement from AAFCO about “human-grade” and pet food:

There have been“human-grade” claims on some pet foods for a few years. This term has no definition in any animal feed regulations. Extremely few pet food products could be considered officially human edible or human-grade. Pet food that actually met these standards would be expensive. While pet owners can buy what they feel is best for their pets, they should understand the definitions and the odds.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines products fit for human consumption to be officially “edible.” These foodstuffs have been processed, inspected, and passed manufacturing regulations (i.e. process control regulations) that are designed to assure safety for consumption by humans.

Edible is a standard; human-grade is not. For a product to be deemed edible for humans, all ingredients must be human edible and the product must be manufactured, packed, and held in accordance with federal regulations in 21 CFR 110, Current Good Manufacturing Practice in Manufacturing, Packing, or Holding Human Food. If these conditions are met for pet food, human-grade claims may be made. If these conditions are not met, then it is an unqualified claim and misbrands the product.

Misbranding a feed is a prohibited act subject to enforcement action on the responsible party. The presence of human grade on a label implies a product or ingredients may meet the legally recognized edible standard.

A product formulated for a pet is unlikely to be nutritionally adequate for a human and vice versa. Because pets become like family members in many homes, it should be underscored that not everything that a human can eat is safe for a pet. Such ingredients as chocolate, macadamia nuts, and onions, to name a few, are edible and good for humans but can be toxic to cats or dogs. Human grade does not automatically equal nutritional safety for pets.

A product might claim to be human-grade because its ingredients“came from a USDA meat-packing plant.” But materials leaving a USDA meatpacking plant may be either edible or inedible. The piece of meat is rejected because it does not meet edible standards and some slaughter by-products are not human edible, nor can they be implied to be unofficially human-grade. Whether a product is or is not advertised as human-grade has no impact on product safety. All pet food products must meet feed requirements, including being unadulterated.

Why We Choose Meat Ground With Bones, Cartilage, and Ligaments

We grind meat with bones, cartilage, and ligaments as a natural source of nutrients easily absorbed by the carnivore body.

It’s the same reason raw-feeders feed meat with bones in it.

Doing so supplies natural sources of:

  • Calcium and phosphorus in the correct ratio
  • Bone marrow
  • Collagen
  • Gelatin
  • Glucosamine

In fact, food containing bones, cartilage, and ligaments are more akin to what our furry friends’ ancient ancestors ate.

Who Manufactures PET | TAO?

Wisconsin Freeze Dried makes our treats and our freeze-dried foods.

Nutripack makes our canned diets.

Nutripack and Wisconsin Freeze Dried source all our meat ingredients sourced from local (USA) meat processors in their area.

Garmon Corporation makes our supplements.

Wisconsin Freeze-Dried (WFD)

Wisconsin Freeze Dried is owned and operated by veterinarian Dr. Chris Bessent. Dr. Bissent also owns and operates the Herbsmith line.

Wisconsin Freeze Dried is a USDA audited and third-party audited to cGMP 21 CFR 111. (GMP is the quality seal for human supplements.)

They also audit our suppliers to ensure their high-quality standards are met even before our manufacturing process begins.

More on Wisconsin Freeze Dried

  • Sources meat and other ingredients from local (USA) meat processors in their area.
  • Is USDA audited and third-party audited to the FDA Code of Federal Regulations
  • Audits its suppliers to ensure the manufacturing process meets their quality standards.
  • Maintains quality standards during the manufacturing process.
  • Maintains documented safety standards on-site and their performance on a daily basis.
  • Keeps samples of finished products at their facility to ensure long-lasting quality, freshness, and manufacturing performance.

Nutripack

Nutripack is a family-owned private label pet food manufacturer located near Chicago, Illinois.

Nutripack sources 90% of its raw ingredients come from a 50-mile radius of our plant. They also make visits on a regular basis to their suppliers.

Nutripack also tracks every source of ingredient inside the can and sends them out for periodic testing.

All of Nutripack’s products are purchased and processed in the United States.

More on Nutripack:

  • Sources meat and other ingredients from local (USA) meat processors in their area.
  • Makes foods from human-grade ingredients with no soy, corn, wheat, or artificial ingredients. (Note: our canned products cannot be labeled as “human-grade” because the food includes ground-up bones, as discussed above.)
  • First, Nutripack blends natural vitamins and minerals with all-natural meats for nutrition that is completely balanced for all life stages, ages, and breeds.
  • Then, they pack the cans with natural, raw ingredients in their own natural juices. There is no added water.
  • Finally, Nutripack cooks the ingredients inside the sealed can to lock in the nutrients and flavor of each variety.
  • The process assures wholesome nutrition.

Garmon Corporation

Garmon Corp. touts over 25 years of experience in private label pet supplement solutions for dogs and cats.

In fact, Garmon Corp. is a founding and audited member of the National Animal Supplement Council (NASC) and is dedicated to protecting and enhancing the health of companion animals.

The mission of NASC is to work cooperatively with state, federal, and international government officials to create a legislative and regulatory environment that provides a consistent framework in manufacturing, labeling, and marketing animal health supplements.

All PET | TAO supplements carry the NASC seal.

More on Garmon:

  • Manufactures natural health supplements for dogs, cats, and horses.
  • Is a certified NASC member as well as an FDA-audited facility with over 30 years of experience in the pet industry.
  • Manufactures several other top brands like NaturVet, GreenTree, Pet Organics, Vet Classics, and Overby Farm.
  • Uses in-house formulators and scientists have developed more than 200 products including tablets, powders, liquids, soft chews, biscuits, and gels.
  • Manufactures all products in the United States.

How Do We Manufacture & Test Our Products?

Most pet food companies begin formulation with a vitamin and mineral premix meeting AAFCO standards.

However, their formulations do not include vitamins and minerals from the ingredients.

PET | TAO creates the food first, then has the food tested to see what vitamins and minerals are missing from the diet, according to AAFCO standards.

Then, we add a custom vitamin and mineral premix created specifically for each recipe.

Our canned foods contain vitamin and mineral premix. However, in our freeze-dried dog food, all vitamins and minerals are from natural sources.

Then, we retest the food. Sometimes, we must tweak the vitamin and premix recipe several times to create the exact amounts of vitamins and minerals needed.

The goal of creating the food before adding supplements is to meet AAFCO standards is to make sure pets receive the correct amount of vitamins and minerals, not too much.

However, excess of certain vitamins and minerals causes poor health in pets when ingested over a period of time.

Our testing involves different reports.

In addition, we use several laboratories depending upon the test performed.

For example, Labs include Nestle Purina Analytical Lab, Midwest Laboratories, and A&L Laboratories.

Transparency: Has PET | TAO Ever Had a Recall?

No.

According to the FDA:

  • Recalls – of which there are three types – occurs when a firm takes actions taken to remove a product from the market.
  • A firm may conduct a recall on its own initiative, upon FDA request, or by FDA order under statutory authority.

The three types of recalls are:

  • Class I Recall: if the product will cause serious adverse health consequences.
  • Class II Recall: if the product may cause temporary or medically reversible adverse health consequences.
  • Class III Recall: if the product is not likely to cause adverse health consequences.

Transparency: Where Do PET | TAO Ingredients Come From?

Wisconsin Freeze Dried sources our freeze-dried ingredients.

Nutripack sources our canned ingredients.

Garmon sources the ingredients for our supplements.

Likewise, all our food ingredients are from the USA except the vitamin/mineral premix and guar gum. The guar gum is from India.

Trouw Nutrition sources premix vitamins and minerals globally. However, they come from the USA if available.

However, none of our ingredients come from China.

Get PET | TAO Products at TCVM Pet Supply

Is your pet food manufacturer transparent?

Can you go online and read exactly where the products and/or materials come from?

In the U.S., four (4) manufacturers account for more than 80% of all retail sales in the pet food market.

Because of the monopoly, it can be difficult to differentiate between brands.

Which company is looking out for the needs of your furry friend?

At PET | TAO, we understand ingredient selection and recipe choice are important factors in choosing your pet’s diet.

Our customers are curious and selective consumers, which is why we are transparent about what goes into our pet food line.

We encourage you to ask questions about the “What?” and “Why?” behind our products and any other products you feed your pet!

Here’s What Pet-Parents Have to Say About PET | TAO

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