This post is sponsored by Purina. All thoughts and opinions are my own. For more information on Purina’s ingredients and sourcing, check out their website.
Having just returned from the Natural Products Expo, an annual gathering of vendors providing natural and healthy products for a discerning consumer audience, and having written about my quests for healthier and safer foods for my family, you might be surprised that I’m a devout purchaser of Purina foods for my pets.
The reason I mentioned “surprise” is because a mainstream pet care brand might not be what comes to the top of your mind when you’re thinking of healthy choices for your pets. But the bottom line is that I scrutinize my pet food as much as I scrutinize the food I buy for the rest of my family.
One of my first engagements with Purina was when I visited their campus in St. Louis. It was a packed few days where I got an overview of the people, the process, the research & development, and the quality and care that goes into manufacturing the food and ensuring it meets Purina’s high quality standards. (Yes, the quality control team has been known to even taste the food to ensure quality).
But of course everything sounds rosy when it comes straight from the horse’s mouth. I’m sure that’s what you’re thinking too. So I asked some hard questions and I continue to ask the hard questions each year when I attend Purina’s Better With Pets Summit, an annual gathering of great minds across the pet care industry. Those questions are almost always about safety, sourcing, and quality of ingredients in Purina’s pet food.
Last year, for example, one of my questions was was specifically about transparency in pet food ingredients:
I asked if they would look to break down their ingredient lists in more detail (do you really know what “meat by-product” is? Turns out it’s not nearly as awful as it sounds). And I also asked if they would consider looking at educating consumers so that we understand why certain ingredients are in our pet food.
They explained that meat by-product is, very simply, organ meats which supply high quality protein similar to what canines would eat in the wild. Even better, Purina has an entire section on their website that very clearly states every single ingredient that can be found in their pet food and, more importantly, why that ingredient is in their pet food. It comes down to three basic reasons:
- Advancing nutrition
- Enhancing taste
- Elevating quality
There’s an entire team at corporate that works tirelessly to find innovative ways to keep your pets happy and healthy. But once the ingredient list is determined, how can you feel confident in the quality of what you’re buying? Is it simply about the ingredient list? Is it as simple as looking at the country of origin for the food you’re buying? Well, it’s both of those things and more.
Sourcing Pet Food Ingredients
The first concern you should have when buying your pet food is where the ingredients are coming from. I used to have a strict policy of not buying anything pet-related that originated in China. Last year, in talking with Purina staff, I learned how flawed my thinking was.
While the source is important, it’s the entire supply chain process that lends to the ultimate quality. Purina does thorough audits of its supplier facilities, runs regulatory, food safety and toxicology reviews, and uses Near Infrared Technology to “fingerprint” or evaluate select ingredients for purity, protein and moisture levels.
Quality Manufacturing for Pet Food
Once the ingredients are sourced, the integrity must be maintained throughout manufacturing.
Last year, I listened to one of Purina’s factory managers sharing his passion for what he does. And he’s one of many that’s part of the process to ensure that ingredients are checked for purity and quality before they even enter their facilities. In fact, 99% of Purina’s pet food is crafted in the USA in sites that they own, which allows for greater control over the quality process.
The True Test of Pet Food Quality
Ultimately what makes pet food the right one for my furry members of the family is more than just the label. It’s the quality of what’s on the label and the quality that brings it into my home. From there, it’s up to my pets.
For years, my dogs and cats have been exclusively eating Purina Pro Plan. They’re happy, healthy, and eagerly anticipate mealtime every day (a little too much, if you ask me). And my sister’s dog liked my dogs’ food so much that she’s switched too.
If you’d like more information on the quality of Purina Pet Foods from ingredient sourcing to manufacturing, I strongly encourage you to visit Purina’s website where they continue to provide more transparency into what they’ve been doing for years.