Monday, January 24, 2011

Corn Rules!

I was at Shaw's the other day to pick up a few things - well more than a few as I was going on 5 weeks since my last trip to the grocery store - an interesting side effect of being home for a few weekends is that I actually have food in the fridge and pantry - most of the time my refrigerator contains dog food, dog treats, yogurt and if I'm very lucky (and I've planned for the week) I've got milk for my cheerios and perhaps a crock of chili to work through for the week - Martha Stewart I am not.
Corn Rules - at Shaws Market

So as I'm shopping, there at the end of a spice isle is a sale display of Frito-Lay products (Fritos, Doritos, etc) with the slogan "Corn Rules" - which got me thinking? Really? Corn rules you say? Hummmm.

I don't eat a lot of corn (though I DO love a good ear of buttered sweet corn in the late summer) and I do not (never have, never will) feed my dogs any "dog food" that contains corn or corn by-product. Yes, dogs are by nature omnivores - but have you ever heard about the pack of wild dogs that got into the neighbor's corn field and ate the crop? Have you ever seen a mighty wolf take down a cornstalk in the prime of the growing season?

On the scale of digestibility corn is about as digestible for dogs as it is for humans. Cows and horses have a very different digestive system than we do - they can make much better use of grains. Our dogs are not livestock - why do so many companies INSIST on feeding them as such?

Sure if I'm a buyer for Iams*, Kibbles and Bits**, Purina***, Beneful^, Pedigree^^  I probably do think that "corn rules". Corn is easily accessible and available in most corners of this country. Corn is (relatively) cheap to purchase in bulk - particularly if one is purchasing corn as livestock feed (vs for human consumption). As a result, corn is a great filler for dog food. Why use more expensive ingredients like chicken by-product or rendered animal fat when plain old corn will do? Why use real ingredients when slick marketing and store promotion sells the product? Consumers aren't reading the package labels, they're buying food because in the commercial the dog looks really happy and seems to like the dog food - or they don't know any better.

Consumers need to do better by their dogs, they NEED to read labels and think about their choices. I'll even go a step further and declare that if you've seen a commercial on TV for the dog food that you are currently feeding, go directly to your local pet supply store and find a better food (do not pass go, do not collect $200). I'll wager that you can find a much better product that ends up being less expensive than the crap advertised in Super Bowl commercials.

So Frito-Lay, I'm afraid corn doesn't rule - but I will agree that the box looks really pretty - festive even!

* Iams "ProActive Health" Ingredients: Chicken, Corn Meal, Ground Whole Grain Sorghum, Chicken By-Product Meal, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Flavor, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed Tocopherols, a source of Vitamin E), Potassium Chloride, Dried Egg Product, Brewers Dried Yeast, Salt, Caramel, Calcium Carbonate, Flax Meal, Choline Chloride, Fructooligosaccharides, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Potassium Iodide, Cobalt Carbonate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin A Acetate, Calcium Pantothenate, Biotin, Thiamine Mononitrate (source of vitamin B1), Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Riboflavin Supplement (source of vitamin B2), Inositol, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (source of vitamin B6), Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid), L-Lysine Monohydrochloride, DL-Methionine, Rosemary Extract.

**Kibbles and Bits Ingredients: corn, soybean meal, beef and bone meal, ground wheat flour, animal fat (bha used as preservative), corn syrup, wheat middlings, water sufficient for processing, animal digest (source of chicken flavor), propylene glycol, salt, hydrochloric acid, potassium chloride, caramel color, sorbic acid (used as a preservative), sodium carbonate, minerals (ferrous sulfate, zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), choline chloride, vitamins (vitamin E supplement, vitamin A supplement, niacin supplement, D-calcium pantothenate, riboflavin supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, thiamine mononitrate, vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), calcium sulfate, titanium dioxide, yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, BHA (used as a preservative), dl methionine.

***Purina Pro Plan Chicken and Rice: CChicken, brewers rice, whole grain corn, corn germ meal, poultry by-product meal (natural source of glucosamine), wheat flour, whole grain wheat, corn gluten meal, soy flakes, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), soybean meal, fish meal (natural source of glucosamine), animal digest, glycerin, wheat bran, calcium carbonate, salt, zinc proteinate, Vitamin E supplement, calcium phosphate, choline chloride, potassium chloride, manganese proteinate, ferrous sulfate, sulfur, L-ascorbyl-2-polyphosphate (source of Vitamin C), niacin, copper proteinate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, garlic oil, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite. B-4487

^ Beneful Ingredients: Ground yellow corn, chicken by-product meal, corn gluten meal, whole wheat flour, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), rice flour, beef, soy flour, sugar, propylene glycol, meat and bone meal, tricalcium phosphate, phosphoric acid, salt, water, animal digest, sorbic acid (a preservative), potassium chloride, dried carrots, dried peas, calcium propionate (a preservative), L-Lysine monohydrochloride, choline chloride, added color (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2), DL-Methionine, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium carbonate, copper sulfate, Vitamin B-12 supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, garlic oil, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin D-3 supplement, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, folic acid, biotin, sodium selenite.

^^ Pedigree Adult Complete Nutrition: Ground Whole Corn, Meat And Bone Meal, Ground Whole Wheat, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (preserved With BHA and Citric Acid), Wheat Mill Run, Chicken By-product Meal, Natural Flavor, Salt, Rice, Potassium Chloride, Vegetable Oil (source of Linoleic Acid), Vitamins (Dl-alpha Tocopherol Acetate [source of Vitamin E], Choline Chloride, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate [source of Vitamin C*], Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Biotin, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement [Vitamin B2], Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement), Dried Vegetables (Peas, Carrots), Minerals (Zinc Sulfate, Zinc Proteinate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Potassium Iodide), Added FD&C Colors (Red 40, Blue 2, Yellow 6, Yellow 5).

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