February 26, 2019
Re: Susan Thixton article “Is It No Hide or Rawhide from China?” Follow Up to Further Questions
Thanks to all of you who have commented in reaction to our posting yesterday, specifically those voicing concerns about the presence of imported rawhide on the premises of our manufacturing partner. Our position remains that, at no point has this rawhide come in contact with our No-Hide® products or been used in Earth Animal’s manufacturing process. As previously stated, there are now (in addition to our own constant supply chain diligence) several exhaustive governmental investigations that have all come to the same indisputable conclusion, that our No-Hide® products are what we say they are, and they do not contain rawhide. To refute this once and for all, we have elected to publish the summary findings of The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s final report, the same investigation which Ms. Susan Thixton made her Freedom of Information request about. As you will see from the attached, the closing letter states that the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture “has no evidence that Pony Express is misleading consumers by misbranding or adulterating No-Hide® products with rawhide.”
We at Earth Animal also understand that these false and misleading allegations are troubling to our loyal customer and trade partners, and so have discussed today, with our manufacturing partner Pony Express Foods, the concerns over their procurement of imported rawhide which Pony Express has used for other purposes not related to No-Hide® products. As a result of this conversation, and to provide further assurance to our customers that we are providing only the highest quality No-Hide® products, Pony Express Foods has committed to cease the procurement, importation and storage of any rawhide materials in the facility where No-Hide® products are made.
We would like to thank our loyal customers and trading partners for their loyalty and look forward to continuing to provide only the highest-quality No-Hide® products.
February 25, 2019
Re: Susan Thixton article “Is It No Hide or Rawhide from China?”
Earth Animal would like to take this opportunity, once again, to refute Susan Thixton’s inferences that there is rawhide from China in Earth Animal’s No-Hide® product.
Ms. Thixton first challenged our product integrity on her “TRUTH about pet food” web offering on July 27, 2017, with a follow up on December 27, 2017 as part of her “pet food review 2017”. This narrative has resulted in extensive investigations by both federal and state bodies over the last 12 months, all which have concluded that there is no direct evidence to support that our products are not what we say they are.
As our thousands of loyal customers and trade partners already know, Earth Animal is an animal health and wellness company that is committed to improving the health and happiness of animals and takes false allegations such as these very seriously.
In counter to these claims, we have consistently provided statements on our position which remain available on our website ( earth animal statements ). In addition, we have also authored our formal position on the topic in a document “There is no hiding the truth on No-Hide” and have recently updated this to reflect the findings of the recent Pennsylvania Department Agriculture’s investigation which was concluded at the end of the last year. This document is also available on our website and is attached to this correspondence for reference.
As you will see from Ms. Thixton’s article, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s investigation was thorough, and significant data points from this study have been omitted from the “TRUTH about pet food” opinion piece. Most importantly that the conclusion of the investigation at the end of last year was (as was clearly stated in the final report ) “during the production and processing of the No-Hides® at Pony Express it appears the final product takes on the characteristics of rawhide products such as low to no measurable starch, a high crude protein percentage, multiple animal species DNA and in appearance, due to the proprietary machine process and hand rolling”.
Moreover, the PA investigation team had complete chain of custody throughout this proprietary process…meaning that they witnessed the dough being made from the raw ingredients as well as being placed into and out of our ovens. The investigative team then tested the product that they witnessed being made from our raw ingredients and then compared the results with No Hides® that they purchased from a store…and concluded that there was no discernable difference.
Another point to raise here is that the PA investigative team also were able to access raw ingredient purchase records that correlate with No-Hide® produced to once again satisfy that Earth Animal’s No-Hides® are what we say they are.
While it is true that our Manufacturing partner imports Raw Hide from China, this has nothing to do with Earth Animal’s No Hide® production. Earth Animal has a signed affidavit from the owner of Pony Express foods that there is no rawhide used at all in the plant that produces Earth Animal’s No Hide®.
If anyone has any further questions regarding this, we encourage you to contact Earth Animal directly by email firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone 855 326 4625.
August 30, 2017
To our Earth Animal Friends & Community,
Approximately 30 days ago we announced our intention to conduct a thorough review of certain questions raised about our No-Hide® Chews, including laboratory analysis and expert evaluation by third parties. We are pleased to provide the attached report that summarizes the results of this work and we are further pleased to relate that the research clearly demonstrates the fact that our products contain the ingredients that we claim, and that they do not contain rawhide.
Earth Animal Ventures was established to provide solutions for perpetuating health & wellness and healing conditions in dogs and cats for their pure and natural journey. In fact, the reason we first produced the No Hide® Chew products was out of concern over the unhealthy attributes of rawhide products. Nothing is more important to us than our reputation and our integrity as a company that is making the world a better place for pets.
While it has been difficult to see the integrity of our products and our company challenged by some, we have been heartened by the overwhelming displays of support we have received over the past several weeks from so many. In addition, as a responsible company always aiming to be the best we can be for our community, we have identified opportunities to further our mission by enhancing our internal processes moving forward.
We will continue to operate in an open and transparent manner and welcome your questions and feedback at all times. We share the belief that pet parents should know and understand what their pets are consuming and we hope this information provides you with the confidence that No Hide® Chews provide a healthy, rawhide-free option for your pet.
As always, we are so thankful and appreciative for our wonderful community, your support for our products and mission, both now and in years past.
Dr. Bob, Susan and the team at Earth Animal Ventures
On July 27, 2017, there was a report issued suggesting that Earth Animal No-Hide® Chew products contain rawhide. We have provided the following statements:
July 29, 2017
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.
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. 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.
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: