How Kibble Is Made – Part One

Judge rules against prescription dog food companies

Rewards 12.5 Million judgement

Our next couple of blogs will focus on what kibble really is and how it is made. Once you understand the process you can decide for yourself just how much of it you would like to feed your dogs.

Rendering Plants – What Are They?

Rendering plants are where most pet food companies get their raw materials, especially protein. If your dog food label has terms like “beef meal”, “chicken meal”, “animal by-product meal” or “bone meal”, you are feeding your pet rendered ingredients.  “Animal fat” and “beef flavoring” or “chicken flavoring” are also products of the rendering process.

Since the 1800’s, rendering plants have used an industrial process to re-cycle animal remains and other waste products, including moldy grains. Some say that because we eat so much meat today, these waste products would pollute the environment with bacteria, viruses, pesticides, and molds if it were not for rendering plants.

shutterstock_231831193There are two types of facilities. Plants that operate in conjunction with slaughter houses or poultry processing plants are called Integrated rendering plants. These usually only process one type of raw material. They are USDA inspected and produce edible fats and proteins. You will see them in the processed foods we eat labeled as chicken fat, beef fat, lard, glycerin, tallow, and food flavorings. Remember, these are still highly processed  slaughter house waste products.

The second type is called Independent rendering plants. These plants collect their raw materials from a variety of sources. They are not USDA inspected but are operated by the Independent Renders Association, meaning they are self-regulated. They produce inedible fats and proteins which are used in livestock, poultry feed, and dog food. By the way, these inedible fats are also present in the cosmetics we use. Look for :

Oleic Acid – found in soaps, permanent wave solutions, shampoos, hair dyes, lipstick, liquid make up and nasal sprays.

Stearic Acid – found in deodorants, food flavorings, hair sprays, and other cosmetics as well as pharmaceuticals.

Even cosmetics that say “not tested on animals” can contain rendering plant products.

So, What Raw Materials Are Processed By Independent Rendering Plants?

The list is long and scary. They include:

  • animals that have died other than by slaughter – this means animals that were euthanized (including pet dogs or cats from veterinary hospitals or shelters) or diseased animals.
  • dead cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, skunks, rats, raccoons, road kill and zoo animals.
  • dead animal raw material can include drugs, antibiotics, pesticides, heavy metals from the cattle ID tags, surgical pins and needles.
  •  also included are hooves, feathers, cancerous lesions, intestines, bones and any other slaughter house wastes.
  • other sources   – expired meats from butcher shops, supermarkets, fast food restaurants, feed lots, farms, and ranches.
  • restaurant grease, Styrofoam, plastic, contaminated grain (moldy rice, from the flooded areas of Louisiana this summer, was sent to rendering plants).

Once all these ingredients reach the rendering facility, they are shredded and cooked at high temperatures. The fat is skimmed off and the remaining material is dried and sold as “meal”.

This is just the start of the story of how pet foods are made. They certainly have a questionable beginning. Pet foods have become our dumping ground.  Our next blog will deal with the next cooking step of extruded kibble.

The use of Presciption dog food is one of my pet peeves and shows that the
phrase “Marketing over Mother Nature’ holds true.
If you are a dog owner, you may have heard about the class action suit
against prescription dog foods. Hills, Science Diet, Royal Canin and Purina
are some of the brands that are accused of misleading consumers and
veterinarians about the benefits and ingredients of their products. The
lawsuit claims that:

  • these companies charge premium prices for prescription dog foods that are not significantly different from regular dog foods. In fact, they are made in the same facilities, using the same suppliers as low-quality grocery store brands like Alpo and Beneful.
  • they do not have any scientific evidence to support their claims of treating or preventing various health conditions in dogs. They are not made in facilities that follow traditional drug manufacturing protocols.
  • that these companies have violated consumer protection laws and engaged in false advertising.

The class action suit was filed in 2019 by a group of dog owners who purchased prescription dog foods from these brands for their pets. They are seeking refunds, damages and an injunction to stop the companies from selling prescription dog foods without proper authorization and
. The suit is currently pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Prescription dog foods are supposed to be specially formulated to address specific health issues in dogs, such as kidney disease, diabetes, allergies, obesity and more. However, according to the lawsuit, these products are not
regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or any other agency,
 and they do not require a prescription from a veterinarian to be sold.

The lawsuit claims that these companies have exploited this loophole to market their products as prescription dog foods, even though they are not approved or tested by any authority.

This suit also accuses these companies of using low-quality ingredients and fillers in their prescription dog foods, such as corn, wheat, soy, by-products and artificial colors and flavors. These ingredients may not only be ineffective for treating or preventing health conditions in dogs, but they may also cause adverse reactions and allergies in some dogs. The lawsuit cites several examples of dogs that suffered from health problems after
consuming prescription dog foods from these brands, such as vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, skin infections, kidney failure and death.

The lawsuit seeks to hold these companies accountable for their deceptive and unlawful practices, and to provide compensation and relief to the dog owners who have been harmed by them. It also aims to protect the public interest and the welfare of dogs by ensuring that prescription dog foods are properly regulated and labeled, and that consumers and veterinarians are informed about their benefits and risks.

Please be aware that the FDA does not review or verify the health claims on any veterinary diet.

Take a close look at the ingredient list and ask your vet for evidence that the foods in the prescription diet are any better than most regular diets. Also please keep in mind that while your vet has the best intentions, they get little or no nutrition training and often what little training they do get comes from the very companies that are named in these lawsuits. 

Ultra processed foods made with poor quality ingredients are not what your dog needs if they are suffering from an illness. Give your dog a fighting chance with fresh, quality foods for a long and healthy life. 

This lawsuit was settled in July of 2021. Hills Pet Food paid $12.5 million to participants.

Is it any wonder that here at Lucky Dog Cuisine we believe wholeheartedly “Fresh is Better”
The food we send your dog is the exact same food we feed our own beloved pack. 


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