Over the past few years, commercial raw pet food has become so popular that some ‘shady’ companies have popped up on the market. They use crappy, cheap ingredients, held together with crappy, cheap binders. They then slap the label “Raw Holistic” on it, and charge a premium price. They’re the raw food equivalent of Old Roy, with better packaging and marketing.
Also, the term Holistic makes me suspicious, because:
a) there’re absolutely no regulation as to what this word has to mean, when applied to food
b) there’s almost never a good reason for it to be used to describe a food, other than as a market buzz term
Instead of getting caught up in what terms food manufacturers use to describe their food, I prefer to get down to brass tacks, and ask some clear questions that I believe let me decide if a food is really quality, or just masquerading as such.
I’ve created what I consider to be my own ‘wish list’ when it comes to shopping for a commercial raw food.
Things I would personally look for:
Is the company using HUMAN grade ingredients, specifically grade “a” certified meat, poultry and fish? If not, then you’re not getting top quality protein, but you’re probably paying top price.
Are they doing in house testing for Salmonella and e coli? The only answer I want to hear to that question is “yes, on every batch”.
Do they outsource, or is all their food prepared in house? Outsourcing is when you have another company make the food for you, at their plant, and then slap your label on it. Think “Menu Foods”.
Are all of their ingredients domestically sourced, if possible? ie; is all of their meat/fish/game/poultry from the USA or Canada? You can’t expect their papayas to be from here, but for most ingredients the answer should be ‘yes’.
An added bonus – do they use as much local and/or organic produce and ingredients as possible? Not necessary, but it’s a sign that the company is putting some thought into what they’re making, and how sustainable it is.
I believe that you almost always get what you pay for, and that this is doubly true for raw pet food. If one food is 50% cheaper than almost everything else on the market, I’d be asking “Why?”, instead of just rushing to buy it. A bargain is good – but a bargain that seems too good to be true, usually is.