The Federal Commerce Fee is a federal company that “protects shoppers by stopping unfair, misleading or fraudulent practices within the market. We conduct investigations, sue firms and folks that violate the legislation, develop guidelines to make sure a vibrant market, and educate shoppers and companies about their rights and tasks.“
With the various ‘unfair, misleading or fraudulent’ practices in pet meals, you would possibly marvel why we by no means hear of the FTC suing pet meals producers. The rationale the FTC is silent in pet meals is as a result of 22 years in the past – in 1999 – the FTC rescinded its advertising and marketing pointers for cat and pet food, turning over false advertising and marketing claims to AAFCO rules.
Some of the vital advertising and marketing points the FTC pet meals pointers (see abstract web page 19) prohibited was firms misrepresenting the product on labels and in promoting:
“(1) Misrepresenting canine or cat meals in any materials respect; for instance, misrepresenting the composition, kind, suitability, high quality, coloration, taste of any canine or cat meals; misrepresenting that any canine or cat meals meets the dietary or dietary wants of canine and cats; or misrepresenting that any canine or cat meals will present medicinal or therapeutic advantages;“
So…the query is…did the actions of the Federal Commerce Fee rescinding the advertising and marketing guides change the best way pet meals is marketed to pet homeowners right this moment? Did pet meals producers take benefit with nobody watching them?
It seems that the FTC pet meals advertising and marketing guides had been initially revealed in 1969 (on the identical time business pet meals started to grow to be extra fashionable). And these FTC advertising and marketing guides had been rescinded in 1999.
In different phrases, after 1999 pet meals producers didn’t have the Federal Commerce Fee telling them what they may or couldn’t say in advertising and marketing.
Beneath are photos of pet meals labels when the FTC advertising and marketing pointers had been in place, in comparison with photos of the identical pet meals label right this moment.
In every instance, the earlier label didn’t embrace pictures of human meals on the pet meals label – however the present pet meals label did. Every of the 2021 pet meals labels included a picture of roasted or grilled human grade meat. And to be clear – none of those pet meals embrace roasted or grilled human grade meat because the picture on their labels signifies.
The FTC pet meals advertising and marketing pointers particularly said pet meals labels couldn’t use pictures that deceive purchasers to high quality of the product.
“241.4 Misrepresenting composition, kind, suitability, or high quality in labeling.
An business member shouldn’t use on the label of an business product an announcement of identification, vignette, or some other illustration, pictorial or in any other case, which has the capability and tendency or impact of deceptive or deceiving purchasers or potential purchasers with respect to the composition, kind, suitability, high quality, coloration, or taste of the product or any of its components.”
Utilizing the above label of Meow Combine as instance, the pet meals label states “Rotisserie Hen Taste“. This pet meals is ‘flavored with’ rotisserie hen, it doesn’t really embrace rotisserie hen. However…the picture on the cat meals label shouldn’t be of a taste ingredient, it’s a picture of an precise rotisserie hen.
If the FTC pet meals advertising and marketing guides had been nonetheless in place, would right this moment’s Meow Combine label be in violation? Is the picture of a rotisserie hen deceptive or misleading? Ought to the picture on the Meow Combine label be of the particular taste ingredient as a substitute of the rotisserie hen?
The FTC oversees human meals advertising and marketing too – the company regulated human meals within the Seventies and nonetheless oversees human meals advertising and marketing right this moment. Since human meals advertising and marketing remains to be beneath FTC scrutiny, how does modifications in human meals labels examine within the Seventies to present day?
Beneath are pictures of a meatloaf TV dinner label from the Seventies and the identical TV dinner label in 2020.
Human meals labels are nonetheless held to FTC requirements that stop deceptive pictures. Due to FTC supervision, the label of the TV dinner didn’t change in the identical manner the pet meals label modified.
We don’t know why the FTC rescinded the pet meals advertising and marketing guides, however clearly as a result of they did many pet meals labels right this moment are terribly deceptive.
As a result of we don’t have the FTC’s assist, pet homeowners need to nudge regulatory authorities to guard us in opposition to deceptive pet meals advertising and marketing. In case your pet’s meals label contains a picture of contemporary, roasted, or grilled meat (or different doubtlessly deceptive picture or declare), name or electronic mail the producer and ask if the pet meals accommodates that actual high quality of contemporary, roasted, or grilled meat. If the producer can not assure you the picture (or declare) on the label is correct – report that deceptive pet meals label to FDA and to your State Division of Agriculture.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the very best,
Susan ThixtonPet Meals Security AdvocateAuthor Purchaser Beware, Co-Creator Dinner PAWsibleTruthaboutPetFood.comAssociation for Reality in Pet Meals
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