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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-26-2006, 11:48 AM Thread Starter
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Full o'meaty goodness

The Sunday Times - Britain



The Sunday Times March 26, 2006


Health food? Try the dog’s dinner
Marc Horne

Pet meat has less fat than Big Mac


THE epitaph for a horrible meal used to be “I wouldn’t feed it to my dog�. A new analysis has shown, however, that pet food is now healthier than many fast foods, containing less fat, salt and sugar.

Laboratory tests carried out last week found that a can of Gourmet Gold, a popular brand of cat meat, contained 2.9g of fat per 100g, one eighth the level of KFC chicken pieces and less than a third that of a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Pizza Hut pizza.



Cesar dog food contained 4.4g of fat per 100g, higher than the cat meat but still much lower than fast foods. Levels of salt and sugar in the pet food were also substantially lower than in the human meals.

Nutritionists said this weekend that the findings highlighted the continuing problem of unhealthy amounts of fat, salt and sugar in food.

Earlier this month the Food Standards Agency launched a red, amber and green “traffic light� scheme to indicate on food packaging the proportion of unhealthy ingredients.

“On all levels the cat and dog foods that we analysed would be categorised in the green or amber levels, while some convenience foods aimed at humans would fall in the red or unhealthy category,� said John Searle, the scientist who carried out the pet food analysis at the government accredited Global food testing laboratory in Burton-upon-Trent.

“It would not do a human any harm to eat this cat and dog food. The taste would be a bit different from what you’d expect, but nutritionally it is fine.�

Makers of pet food include the same multinationals — such as Nestlé and Mars — that make commonly eaten snacks.

Manufacturers point out that pet food is designed for a different purpose from human food. Pet owners must be able to use the same food to give the animal all its nutritional requirements day after day. Humans, by contrast, expect variety and can balance out unhealthy meals with healthy ones.

Manufacturers say fast foods should be seen as an occasional treat rather than an everyday meal. However, Jeanette Longfield, co-ordinator of Sustain, which campaigns for better food and farming, said: “I hope this acts as a wake-up call for manufacturers and shoppers.�

Dog owners said this weekend they were unsurprised by the findings, adding that over the past decade there had been substantial advances in knowledge about animal nutrition and the composition of pet food.

Jim Barnes, vice-chairman of Bearsden dog training club in Glasgow, who owns two cocker spaniels, said: “It has got to be nutritious. If the dog is not getting proper nutrition it can affect growth and even mood by turning animals aggressive or hyperactive.�

Pet food has been heavily regulated in recent decades. All ingredients must, according to European Union law, be fit for human consumption.

The meat has usually been rejected for humans as it is mangled or discoloured or comes from parts of the animal, such as lungs, rarely eaten in Britain.

Pet food cannot, however, include material such as spinal cord, which was excluded from the human food chain following the BSE crisis.

Manufacturers in the £1.5 billion-a-year market are even introducing “gourmet� touches with recipes that include pasta, steamed vegetables, risotto and Mediterranean herbs.
To investigate whether the wholesomeness of pet food still comes at the expense of flavour, The Sunday Times carried out a taste test last week. Anna Lawlor, 25, from Streatham, south London, gave her verdict on premium pet foods and items bought in supermarkets.



The items she compared included a Ginster’s Cornish Pastie and a spoonful of a leading dog meat — Butcher’s chicken, ham and pea casserole.

“When I tried the meaty dog food and the pastie, I could identify the pastie because it was so heavily seasoned, whereas the dog food tasted more meaty,� said Lawlor.

For comparison, Rye, her parents’ eight-year-old mongrel, was given a Big Mac. He wolfed it down.

The laboratory analysis found some positive signs for human food — fibre, for example, which is an important aid to digestion, was lower in the pet food.

However, on key measures the pet food came out well. The unhealthiest fast food item was KFC chicken pieces, which contain 23.2g of fat per 100g and 1.9g of salt. If a KFC meal is eaten with fries, the figures are lower. While a McDonald’s Big Mac contains 10.7g of fat per 100g, a combined meal with fries has an average 12g.

In addition to the products tested in the laboratory, 30 human foods and 15 pet foods were compared using their labels. The pet food consistently outperformed the human in terms of health.

All food manufacturers insisted this weekend they were taking steps to offer healthier options and cut salt levels. A spokesman for Unilever said there was a limit to the changes that could be introduced to make food healthier. “It cannot be so extreme that we drive people away,� he said.

“We eat to enjoy. Taste and texture elements are very important to how we enjoy food.�



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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 03-27-2006, 02:01 AM
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RE: Full o'meaty goodness

I gave our family dog cooked vegetable leftovers on his plate the other day - small dish of cabbage, broccoli, and pumpkin. (found in fridge stuff).
His look was dog equivalent of 'You must be fucking joking!' - until I also added the leftover gravy - result..instant Wolf!.
Later result:..fart...fart..
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