In response to a recently issued report suggesting that Earth Animal No-Hide™ Chew products contain rawhide, we have provided the following statements:
As stated on our packaging and in our marketing materials, Earth Animal No Hide™ Chew products do not contain rawhide. Our products are made of 100% natural human-grade ingredients, including fresh chicken, salmon and beef. Our products are manufactured entirely in a USDA-registered human food facility where USDA inspectors are present on all days when production is taking place and where, by law, rawhide material would never be present. Independent testing conducted by Dr. Timothy J. Bowser, Ph.D., P.E., at PetMech, LLC (see full report) found that No-Hides™ digest in the animal’s system on average at a rate of 80% (compared to an average of 18% for rawhide), demonstrating that the products do not contain rawhide. As a responsible company, however, we will look into this matter immediately and report back any relevant information we discover. Earth Animal is committed to offering solutions for perpetuating health & wellness and healing conditions in dogs and cats and we stand by our products and the “No-Hide” claim 100%.
To our Earth Animal Friends & Community,
We’re aware that many of you have questions about the reports circulating on the Internet regarding our No-Hide products. As you know, we provided a company statement last evening. And, although we are only one day into our investigation, we did want to provide you with some additional information that may be of help during discussions you might have and allow for a more balanced understanding of the situation.
First, unlike most investigative reporting, in which information is gathered from all sides and then presented to the pertinent parties for comment, we were not asked for information or given the chance to review or respond to the information posted on the Truth About Pet Food sites. So we saw it when you saw it.
As a responsible company, deeply committed to the health and well-being of animals for almost 40 years, we are distressed at anything that casts a shadow on our products and causes discomfort and concern for our business partners and the consumers who purchase our products. We are moving forward with a full investigation that will include engaging top scientists in their fields and extensive testing. We hope you will be patient and allow us the time to do a thorough review so that we can come back to you with fully defined answers.
In the meantime, on the next page are a few pieces of information that may be helpful to you and your teams. We only learned of these claims about our products when they were published on-line, so we are just at the beginning of our investigation. As we receive concrete, thoroughly researched conclusions, we will report them back to you.
Additional Clarifying Points and Information:
1. No-Hide is manufactured in a USDA certified, human food processing facility. On all days when production, of any kind, is taking place, a USDA inspector is on site. The ONLY ingredients that are permitted to enter the doors of a USDA facility are those that are approved for human consumption. Rawhide is NOT an ingredient that is approved for human consumption, so it cannot go through the doors of the plant. Any person who brings, or attempts to bring, non-human-edible ingredients into a USDA facility is subject to penalties that include imprisonment.
2. The DNA testing has indicated the presence of beef in non-beef No-Hide. The presence of beef protein is not the same as the presence of rawhide. The processing facility produces beef, pork, chicken and salmon products. In plants dealing with multiple proteins there is some protein migration, in which traces of one protein will be found on products of another protein. Ingredient migration is a recognized occurrence and it’s why, on some human foods, you see warning statements such as, “manufactured on equipment that also processes products containing [peanuts, wheat, soy…].
3. One report discusses seeing microscopic blood vessel passages and flesh fibers. While we are engaging the services of scientists who can review the methods and conclusions contained in this report, we can also pass on that we are not surprised at these observations as meat is an essential part of the “dough” portion of the No-Hide. So the presence of flesh fibers and blood vessel materials is to be expected.
4. We have posted a digestibility study that has been done for us. https://www.earthanimal.com/wp-content/uploads/ 2017/07/No-Hide-Digestibility-Report-Earth-Animal.pdf. This study compared the digestibility of No-Hide in simulated GI tract conditions with rawhide under the exact same conditions. Over 8 hours, No-Hide digestibility averaged 80% while rawhide digestibility averaged only 18%. If No-Hide products were really rawhide, they would never test out at 80% digestibility.
Finally, the analyses of our products were apparently prompted by a very unfortunate accident in early July in which a 125+ lb mastiff swallowed a whole 4” No-Hide without chewing. The dog’s parent, while occupied during a 90 minute conference call for work, was unaware of the dog’s distress. As soon as she was aware, she rushed the dog to an emergency hospital. The dog walked in to the hospital under its own power and was immediately admitted and anesthetized so the fully intact No-Hide could be dislodged and removed. The dog sadly passed almost 10 hours later, perhaps from a combination of stress and anesthesia reaction. The veterinarian who treated the dog called it a “horrible accident”, and we agree. We are truly saddened by the dog’s tragic passing and we have extended our sympathies and support to the owner, who we know loved her dog dearly. Additionally, in response to this tragic loss, we are launching an educational awareness program to help retailers and consumers alike better understand how to choose an appropriately sized chew for a dog, and on the importance of supervising dogs whenever they have something in their mouths.
We understand the concern that is being generated by the news of this dog’s death and the testing reports. You have our promise that we will thoroughly and scientifically evaluate all of the facts. In the meantime, your support for our products and mission, now and in years past, is deeply appreciated.
Dr. Bob, Susan and the Team at Earth Animal Ventures
August 1, 2017
To our Earth Animal Friends & Community,
In an effort to ensure that you have accurate information about our business and our products, we want to address a question that was raised today about the validity of our claim regarding the USDA oversight of the facility in which our No-Hide Chews are manufactured. The statements on our website say: “No-Hide is manufactured in a USDA certified, human food processing facility. On all days when production, of any kind, is taking place, a USDA inspector is on site.”
This is an entirely accurate statement and one that is very important for pet parents because manufacturing in a USDA human food processing facility ensures that you are purchasing products that contain only human-edible ingredients (as ingredients that aren’t approved for human consumption cannot even enter the doors of the facility), that production equipment and processes meet the highest standards, and that there are no lapses in sanitation. Your animals are getting all the same benefits of human food production standards. There are very few pet food or treat manufacturers who maintain production in human food facilities, but that was the standard that Earth Animal chose.
The question that TAPF posed to the USDA misrepresented our statement by saying: “The pet company claims the treats are manufactured under USDA inspection.” This implies that we are claiming that our products are human food. But we only state, truthfully, that we are made in a human food processing plant. In fact, asking the question in that misrepresented form ensured that the USDA could only respond by saying “no”.
But what is most important in this conversation is your ability to believe in the integrity of our products. To help you to feel more comfortable, our manufacturing partner has confirmed in the letter below that that they are a USDA human food processing facility (which means they are an inspected facility), that they manufacture our products in that facility, that only ingredients approved for human consumption are allowed in the facility and that our products do not contain rawhide.
Despite our knowledge of the facility certifications, and our belief that our products are what we say they are, we are still taking the initial allegations raised about the ingredients seriously. We cannot and will not ignore any claim that disrupts the trust you have in our products. So, as we announced Friday, we have begun an investigation that includes laboratory analysis and expert evaluation by third parties. While several experts have already expressed reservations about the conclusions that have been inferred by TAPF, we believe the most responsible approach is to wait for the full testing to be completed and then share the results at that time so you can have the benefit of all the scientific information at once. That process will take approximately 3 weeks. We hope you will be patient and allow us to come back to you with concrete, thoroughly researched conclusions. As always, your support for our products and mission, now and in years past, is deeply appreciated.
Dr. Bob, Susan and the Team at Earth Animal Ventures
August 4, 2017
Response to Questions about Pony Express Foods,