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  #1  
Old 06-21-2011, 06:24 PM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Could a human being eat dog and cat food and be healthy?

For the purposes of this thread, let's restrict it to dog and cat food only. No birdfeed or rabbit food or anything like that

I've heard of really poor people buying pet food for the canned meat. I have tried it myself, out of curiosity, and found that while the meat smells nice, it has a total lack of salt, making it kind of bland. But supposed you got your meats from only pet food. Would it be harmful to you? Is there something in pet food that would be otherwise harmless to pets but harmful to a human?

Or, inversely, would pet food be better for you than human canned meats?
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  #2  
Old 06-21-2011, 07:37 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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No, it won't hurt you. Canned pet foods in developed countries are prepared to human standards.

It is worth noting that pet food isn't just canned meat. It is meat with meal and pectin and all sorts of other stuff. So it would be considerably better for you than actual canned meat, though less so than canned human meals.
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Old 06-21-2011, 07:51 PM
Horatio Hellpop Horatio Hellpop is offline
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Doesn't dog food contain bone meal? Good for dogs, bad for humans.
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  #4  
Old 06-21-2011, 08:04 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Originally Posted by Krokodil View Post
Doesn't dog food contain bone meal? Good for dogs, bad for humans.
They used to contain a lot of bone meal. That has mostly been replaced with cereal meal.

Trivia of the day: this is also why dogshit no longer turns white.
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  #5  
Old 06-21-2011, 09:20 PM
Foggy Foggy is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
Or, inversely, would pet food be better for you than human canned meats?
Am I the only one to read this as "...canned human meats..."

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  #6  
Old 06-21-2011, 09:49 PM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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I think if I was going to exist on dog or cat food, I'd want to go with one of the premium brands. Some of the cut-rate or grocery store brands can contain things that I wouldn't want to eat unless I was seriously desperate.
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Old 06-21-2011, 10:13 PM
Der Trihs Der Trihs is offline
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Originally Posted by Foggy View Post
Am I the only one to read this as "...canned human meats..."

Now that you've pointed that out, no...
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  #8  
Old 06-21-2011, 10:24 PM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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Read the labels. The ingredients in dog food vary widely. So does the balance of amino acids. It is all formulated to meet the AAFCO standards, but what is actually in it varies. See http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/.../ucm047120.htm I am sure the FDA has similar figures for human requirements. Note the minimums add up to far less than 100%. A 27% protein dog food may have no more of some amino acids than a 17% one. While there is no evidence any brands of dog food fail to provide the nutrition dogs need, some of them are going to be better for people than others. I really have no idea how to tell how much of any nutrient is in any dog food beyond the standards.

The internet is full of people hyperventilating over ingredients in dog food. It is a matter of vast marketing hype. Just because certain ingredients are icky or require processing, doesn't mean they aren't a good source of nutrients. Dog forums are not filled with the straight dope.
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Old 06-21-2011, 11:29 PM
Blake Blake is offline
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Originally Posted by thelabdude View Post
The internet is full of people hyperventilating over ingredients in dog food.
Because an animal whose natural diet includes faeces, month old carrion, dead rats, crab grass and cockroaches has such exacting nutritional requirements.
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  #10  
Old 06-21-2011, 11:44 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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Originally Posted by Blake View Post
No, it won't hurt you. Canned pet foods in developed countries are prepared to human standards.

It is worth noting that pet food isn't just canned meat. It is meat with meal and pectin and all sorts of other stuff. So it would be considerably better for you than actual canned meat, though less so than canned human meals.
Well, there's some that might turn a normal American's stomach. But then again, there's a lot of "human foods' from other nations that might do that (I can't bring myself to eat kim-chee, smells horrid)

So yes, it's edible. But the one "cat food" that people were eating was "tuna for cats" which is just that - tuna. Sometimes with a little extra b-vit since cats will develop a vitamin shortage eating pure tuna for too long. So, it's just a cheaper, smellier grade of tuna.
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  #11  
Old 06-21-2011, 11:46 PM
badlyburnttoast badlyburnttoast is offline
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If you just ate some pet food and otherwise ate mostly normal food you'd probably be fine... depending, of course, on what all the 'other' food was.

If you JUST ate pet food only, you'd be fine for a while but eventually you'd get sick from vitamin deficiency (probably scurvy before anything else).

But I don't know why you would. The difference in price between pet food and (cheap, low end) human food is small enough that unless you are at the absolute rock bottom (in which case, you can probably get food stamps or visit a soup kitchen or SOMETHING) you can probably afford the people food.
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  #12  
Old 06-22-2011, 12:00 AM
YogSosoth YogSosoth is offline
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Oh I'm not too worried about bone meal or anything gross. I'm Chinese I eat guts and eyeballs and feet so I'm perfectly fine with that stuff. I just don't wanna get sick
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  #13  
Old 06-22-2011, 02:38 AM
Leo Bloom Leo Bloom is offline
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Doesn't the FDA, or some other agency, require that cat food be human-edible and safe? A surprisingly large (and sad) number of Americans survive mainly on canned cat food.
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  #14  
Old 06-22-2011, 02:43 AM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
A surprisingly large (and sad) number of Americans survive mainly on canned cat food.


Cite, please?
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  #15  
Old 06-22-2011, 07:14 AM
Ronald C. Semone Ronald C. Semone is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
A surprisingly large (and sad) number of Americans survive mainly on canned cat food.
This urban myth was debunked years ago.
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  #16  
Old 06-22-2011, 07:19 AM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Nothing wrong with dog and cat food for humans (unless it's been contaminated with something like melamine, which made it bad for critters, too) but there is one thing dog and cat food lacks that is essential to human life:

Vitamin C.

Dogs and cats manufacture their own, just like every other animal aside from primates and guinea pigs. If you lived on just dog and cat food you'd eventually get scurvy.

So drink some orange juice or something with it. Seriously, though - if you have a source of vitamin C you should, in theory, be able to live on dog and/or cat food indefinitely although it's probably not the greatest diet in the world. It will sustain life, though, which seems to be the heart of your question.
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  #17  
Old 06-22-2011, 07:25 AM
Lazlo Lazlo is offline
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Originally Posted by Der Trihs View Post
Now that you've pointed that out, no...
I didn't want to bring it up, but since you two already confessed...
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  #18  
Old 06-22-2011, 08:34 AM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
Doesn't the FDA, or some other agency, require that cat food be human-edible and safe? A surprisingly large (and sad) number of Americans survive mainly on canned cat food.
Pet food is required to be safe for pets, but not to meet human standards. A big marketing hype thing is all human grade ingredients. I suspect they can include human grade organ meats and tripe. Icky, but human grade.

As for people eating canned pet food, I don't recall any report of people sickened a few years ago when almost all the canned food was recalled do to melamine contamination. Let's leave the urban myths to other sites.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Broomstick View Post
Nothing wrong with dog and cat food for humans (unless it's been contaminated with something like melamine, which made it bad for critters, too) but there is one thing dog and cat food lacks that is essential to human life:

Vitamin C.

Dogs and cats manufacture their own, just like every other animal aside from primates and guinea pigs. If you lived on just dog and cat food you'd eventually get scurvy.

So drink some orange juice or something with it. Seriously, though - if you have a source of vitamin C you should, in theory, be able to live on dog and/or cat food indefinitely although it's probably not the greatest diet in the world. It will sustain life, though, which seems to be the heart of your question.
I just checked the label on my dry Pro Plan bag, minimum 70mg/kg of ascorbic acid. It may be more of a preservative. I don't know what the human requirement is. The AAFCO doesn't require it, but many dog foods include it. In choosing a pet food to eat, as I said, they vary, read the label.

Note, the Pro Plan is for my Labs.
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  #19  
Old 06-22-2011, 09:42 AM
Bill Door Bill Door is offline
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Originally Posted by thelabdude View Post
(snip)I just checked the label on my dry Pro Plan bag, minimum 70mg/kg of ascorbic acid. It may be more of a preservative. I don't know what the human requirement is. The AAFCO doesn't require it, but many dog foods include it. In choosing a pet food to eat, as I said, they vary, read the label.

Note, the Pro Plan is for my Labs.
The RDA is 60 mg/day, so as long as you can eat 860 grams per day without exceeding your caloric requirement you should be fine.
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  #20  
Old 06-22-2011, 03:59 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
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I've heard that dogs who eat too much cat food can suffer long-term problems like kidney stones from getting too much protein. If that happens to dogs, I'd expect it if anything to be even worse for humans.
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  #21  
Old 06-22-2011, 04:06 PM
Markxxx Markxxx is offline
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I often wonder if it's cheaper to eat pet food? OK maybe if you don't have access to a place where you can cook food, perhaps. But for instance, I bought a 20 pound bag of rice for 10 bucks. That's a lot of rice. And I eat beans and lentil and basically I eat that to live, as right now I'm poor. But I can cook it.

It seems to be cheaper than pet food. But then again, as I said, I can cook it. If you can't cook the rice and dried lentils/beans, you'd sort of be SOL
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  #22  
Old 06-22-2011, 05:10 PM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leo Bloom View Post
.. A surprisingly large (and sad) number of Americans survive mainly on canned cat food.
This kind of shit is only trotted out by people who aren't buying cat food for their actual cats. That shit gets expensive after a while.
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  #23  
Old 06-22-2011, 06:54 PM
Apollyon Apollyon is offline
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Originally Posted by Infovore View Post
I think if I was going to exist on dog or cat food, I'd want to go with one of the premium brands.
But don't go with the single serve sachets... those little 100g packets just aren't filling... what? what?

Oh, and if you're going for the dry cat food, the Chef and Whiskas are fine, but avoid Purina One, that stuff is just nasty.

(When my son was younger we had to hide the cat biscuits as he'd take them from the cupboard and chow down on them like poporn... as a responsible parent I tried some of them myself... tasted rather like eating dry instant soup mix. The lad didn't seem to experience any health problems from the cat food... we made sure he got plenty of water and if anything his coat seemed glossier... )
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  #24  
Old 06-23-2011, 12:51 AM
wbeaty wbeaty is offline
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Originally Posted by YogSosoth View Post
For the purposes of this thread, let's restrict it to dog and cat food only.
PET FOOD

If you limit your food to neighborhood pets found in your trapline, it might be wise to plant a vegetable garden as well.
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  #25  
Old 06-23-2011, 01:43 AM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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The high end canned stuff like Alpo or canned kibbles and bits cost more than a can of Campbells soup, or Armour Corned Beef. Heck, even raw, cheap hamburger meat that's on sale is cheaper than Alpo.

The store brand canned dog food is cheap, but I'd be concerned about the fillers used in it. How much actual meat is in the cheapest generic brand dog foods? Do most dog foods still use horse meat?

Last edited by aceplace57; 06-23-2011 at 01:45 AM..
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  #26  
Old 06-23-2011, 08:15 AM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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There may have been a time when Alpo was high end, but now it is cheaper. Many of the highest end stuff don't offer canned. Thus they can brag about not being caught in the big melamine poisoning.

No dry dog food uses any fillers, and I don't think many canned ones do other than water. ''Fillers'' is marketing double speak for grains. Properly processed, grains are quite digestible by dogs, see http://www.ddgs.umn.edu/articles-com...ins%20in--.pdf

I think the labeling laws would require listing it if if a food used horse meat. There are a few low end products that list ''meat meal'' which I guess could include horse meat. I don't know what is done with horse carcasses, but as far as I can see very little horse meat ends up in dog food. Dog food discussions are full of misinformation and I don't even see false allegations of it. I am sure the expensive foods would use horse meat to bash the common ones.

If you really want to know more about dog food, see http://www.woodhavenlabs.com/images/nutrition-off.jpg It is one of the more balanced sites on the net, but I think it still has links to dishonest, biased sites such as www.dogfoodanalysis.com

Dog food is highly profitable and responds well to emotional hype.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:06 AM
PoorYorick PoorYorick is offline
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(When my son was younger we had to hide the cat biscuits as he'd take them from the cupboard and chow down on them like poporn... as a responsible parent I tried some of them myself... tasted rather like eating dry instant soup mix. The lad didn't seem to experience any health problems from the cat food... we made sure he got plenty of water and if anything his coat seemed glossier... )
When I was a kid I had some friends whose family raised hunting dogs, so they always had these huge containers of dry dog food. As my friends walked by, they'd often grab a handful and munch it down. They were nonplussed at my horrified reaction, and didn't understand what the big deal was.
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:16 AM
Infovore Infovore is offline
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Originally Posted by PoorYorick View Post
When I was a kid I had some friends whose family raised hunting dogs, so they always had these huge containers of dry dog food. As my friends walked by, they'd often grab a handful and munch it down. They were nonplussed at my horrified reaction, and didn't understand what the big deal was.
When I was little and we had a dog, I used to eat Milk Bones whenever I could get away with it. They were yummy! The only thing I liked better was these cheaper ones the used to have at our supermarket, called "Fives Kibble." They came in different colors and the green ones were the best!
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Old 06-23-2011, 10:20 AM
purplehorseshoe purplehorseshoe is offline
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Originally Posted by thelabdude View Post
...I think the labeling laws would require listing it if if a food used horse meat. There are a few low end products that list ''meat meal'' which I guess could include horse meat. I don't know what is done with horse carcasses, but as far as I can see very little horse meat ends up in dog food. . .
AAFCO definition of "meat meal" is "The rendered product from mammal tissues, exclusive of blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents except in such amounts as may occur unavoidably in good processing practices."

So, horse meat if you're lucky.
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  #30  
Old 06-23-2011, 11:37 AM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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Originally Posted by thelabdude View Post
I think the labeling laws would require listing it if if a food used horse meat. There are a few low end products that list ''meat meal'' which I guess could include horse meat. I don't know what is done with horse carcasses, but as far as I can see very little horse meat ends up in dog food.
Even if the pet food you ate did contain horse meat, horse meat won't kill you. According to Wikipedia, horse meat is high in protein and low in fat, so it might even be good for you.

Quote:
''Fillers'' is marketing double speak for grains. Properly processed, grains are quite digestible by dogs
And cats. According to my Luna, the corn fillers are what make cheap cat treats so tasty.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apollyon
(When my son was younger we had to hide the cat biscuits as he'd take them from the cupboard and chow down on them like poporn... as a responsible parent I tried some of them myself... tasted rather like eating dry instant soup mix.
Was it as salty as dry instant soup mix?

I'd be surprised if it were. One of the reasons I've seen for not feeding your pets too much human food is that the human food has too much sodium in it for pets. My cats turn up their noses at smoked salmon, and we suspect this is because it's too salty for them. They seem to prefer unseasoned raw fish and meat. OTOH, it could be ordinary feline finickiness.
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  #31  
Old 06-23-2011, 01:15 PM
thelabdude thelabdude is offline
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I don't own a cat and have paid so little attention to cat food and cat nutrition that I am not comfortable saying much about it. I suspect that if I dug into it, I would find much of the same thing except for the differences to meet feline nutritional requirements. I would also guess finicky cats tend to be over fed the same as dogs.
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  #32  
Old 06-23-2011, 02:12 PM
Anne Neville Anne Neville is offline
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I would also guess finicky cats tend to be over fed the same as dogs.
I admit that both my cats are spoiled and Luna is overfed.

My dad ate a sample of dry cat food once. He came back looking for more later on (and then noticed the picture of a cat on the package). It must not have tasted too bad, and he never said anything about it making him sick. Of course, he didn't eat much of it.

Cat and dog food would presumably have less salt and sugar than a lot of human food. It would probably also be less tempting to eat too much of it. Those factors would make it healthier than the stuff a lot of people eat.
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  #33  
Old 06-23-2011, 04:34 PM
barbitu8 barbitu8 is offline
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Originally Posted by Apollyon View Post
Oh, and if you're going for the dry cat food, the Chef and Whiskas are fine, but avoid Purina One, that stuff is just nasty.

)
Purina One is one of the better dry cat foods. The first ingredient in the salmon and tuna flavor is salmon. What you look for in dry cat food is that the first ingredient is a meat or meat by-product, as cats are obligate carnivores. But they need more than just muscle meat. In the wild, they eat the organs and other parts of animals which provide them with necessary vitamins and minerals.

Some people contend that corn is just filler and that it is not needed. One of the ingredients in Purina One (Smart Blend) is whole grain corn. Others maintain that grains such as corn or rice, provides fiber for cats. I note that cats will eat grasses when available, and I believe it is for the fiber. It should, of course, not be the first ingredient, as it is in cheaper brands of kibble. Taurine is a necessary amino acid for cats. Smart One contains taurine in addition to any taurine that the meat or fish will provide. Purina One (Smart Blend) also contains niacin, vitamin A, thiamine, folic acid, vitamin D-3, calcium, and a source of vitamin K activity. Purina One is relatively cheap compared to some of the "higher" grade brands, but the ingredients seem well suited for cats.

Some highly priced dry cat foods do not contain grains, and proudly advertise that fact. Is that really a positive? There is a school of thought that grains do provide necessary fiber.

With all the supplementation that Purina One has (and many others have) these foods would be OK for people, but cats need taurine in large amounts. It definitely will not kill you. Both of my cats like the Smart Blend, salmon & tuna flavor, and I believe that is a good thing. I also provide other brands in a buffet I leave on the floor for them. I feed them wet food twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. The Medley brand, if you must know. Although Medley is fairly expensive compared to some others, it is not as expensive as many so-called superior brands, which my cats won't eat anyway.
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  #34  
Old 06-23-2011, 04:41 PM
Palo Verde Palo Verde is offline
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When my daughter was just learning to walk and eat solid food, her favorite thing to eat was guinea pig food. It is mostly dried ground vegetable and molasses so it wasn't too bad of a snack.
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  #35  
Old 06-23-2011, 05:28 PM
misterW misterW is offline
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I recall reading once that animal digest -- common ingredient -- was not held to the same standards regarding mad cow disease. I can't say I researched the issue any further though.
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