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Features > Exposed—Iams Nutrition Violations

Exposed—Iams Nutrition Violations

UPDATE:

As expected, Iams was not too happy that news of its serious nutritional violations reached the public. Now in a desperate effort to allay the public’s concerns, Iams has begun releasing the following statement:

“In each of these cases [cited by PETA], Iams ingredients exceeded AAFCO required minimums, so dog and cat well-being and food safety was never at issue. … We use only the highest-quality ingredients from USDA-inspected suppliers.”

But the truth of the matter is that AAFCO standards only ensure that dogs and cats won’t roll over and die as a result of eating a particular food—they don’t ensure that dogs and cats won’t get sick from eating the food.

Furthermore, Iams gets much of its meat supply from the rendering industry—which is not regulated for quality assurance by the USDA as Iams claims and has a long history of supplying big pet-food companies with so-called “4-D meats” (which come from dead, dying, disabled, or diseased animals).

Iams is simply trying to avoid the truth—that it has serious nutritional deficiencies in its products—and we owe it to our furry friends not to feed them inhumanely tested food that could also endanger their health and well-being.

Exposed—Iams Nutrition Violations
It seems as if Iams has a problem providing “complete and balanced” nutrition in its dog and cat food despite all the animal testing it does! PETA recently uncovered official reports issued by state and federal feed inspectors whose job it is to analyze pet food products and determine whether they are what they say they are and whether they pose dangerous risks to animals. Iams obviously would rather these reports not reach the public for fear of a consumer backlash, and it turns out that Iams has good reason to fear such scrutiny since the company’s violations are shocking and could potentially induce great harm to animals consuming Iams diets!

Since 1999, Iams has had an astounding 27 violations in Texas alone! The most worrisome case came from the most recent Texas inspection report, in which an Iams cat food had a 54.7 percent vitamin A deficiency compared to the amount of vitamin A that was guaranteed on the product label. According to Animal Health Care, “In young, growing animals, vitamin A deficiency causes abnormal bone growth and nervous system disorders. In adult animals, a deficiency affects reproduction, vision, and the normal functioning of tissue cells. Clinical signs may include appetite loss, eye problems, unsteadiness, skin problems, and multiple disorders in the lungs, salivary glands, and testicles."

Another violation of great significance was described in the most recent report issued by South Dakota inspection officials—an Iams cat food had a 22.86 percent taurine deficiency relative to what was guaranteed on the label. Ironically, Iams has an entire Web page dedicated to the dangers of taurine deficiency entitled, “Taurine and Its Importance in Cat Foods.” Specifically, Iams notes the following: “If insufficient taurine is present, the retinal cells don’t function properly and may die, eventually causing impaired vision and even blindness. This process is referred to as feline central retinal degeneration. … Taurine deficiency leads to weakening of the heart muscle, which in turn can lead to heart failure. This condition is known as dilated cardiomyopathy and can be fatal. … Taurine is necessary for optimal reproductive and growth performance.”

In the most recent commercial feed report issued by Rhode Island inspectors, they found an Iams adult cat food and an Iams kitten food that had a 35.76 percent and 29.36 percent deficiency in fat content, respectively, relative to what was guaranteed on the product label. Iams’ gross nutritional negligence should land the company in hot water with its close business partner and supporter—the ASPCA—given that organization’s stance on the importance of dietary fat in cat foods: “Essential fatty acids must be provided in the diet because they cannot be synthesized by the … cat in sufficient amounts to meet their needs. A deficiency of essential fatty acids may result in reduced growth or increased skin problems."

Just as alarming is the most recent commercial feed report issued by Illinois inspectors, in which they found an Iams cat food that had a 32 percent magnesium deficiency. According to FelineFuture.com, “A deficiency of dietary magnesium severely affects cardiovascular, neuromuscular, and renal tissues, and contributes to calcium deposits in the kidneys (kidney stones), in blood vessels, and in the heart. It can also be the cause of gastro-intestinal disorders, irritability, irregular heart rhythm, lack of coordination, muscle twitch, tremors, and weakness. The symptom picture of long term dietary deficiency of magnesium is very similar to a deficiency in calcium, including muscle cramps, high blood pressure, and malformation of the bones.”

Unfortunately, dogs fed Iams food don’t fare any better than their feline counterparts. Texas inspection officials found an Iams dog food that had a 12.03 percent deficiency in crude protein relative to what was guaranteed on the product label. The Merck Veterinary Manual—an authority on animal nutrition—notes, “The signs produced by protein deficiency or an improper protein:calorie ratio may include any or all of the following: weight loss, skeletal muscle atrophy (dogs), dull unkempt coat, anorexia, reproductive problems, persistent unresponsive parasitism or low-grade microbial infection, unexplained ‘breaks’ in vaccination protection, rapid precipitous weight loss after injury or during disease, and failure to respond properly to treatment of injury or disease."

Even more damaging for dogs was the recent revelation by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that an Iams dog food had dangerously high levels of the amino acid DL-methionine, which could cause methionine toxicity or imbalance. Upon recognizing the scope of this danger, the FDA ordered a recall of 248,080 pounds of the Iams dog food from New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.

For years, Iams has laid claim to the notion that it has “complete and balanced diets that enhance the well-being of dogs and cats.” After reviewing these violations, it’s easy to see that Iams doesn’t take its duty to companion animals or consumers very seriously.

Iams’ nutritional violations raise an important question: What’s the point of caging animals in labs for years on end to conduct “scientific” studies that result in the creation of products that are nutritionally inadequate and unhealthy for companion animals? Answer: There is no reason—legal, ethical, or scientific—to continue conducting cruel laboratory tests on animals to make pet food.

Please click here to see which companion-animal food companies conduct cruelty-free research and create products that are truly “complete and balanced.”

We will continue to gather commercial feed inspection reports to alert consumers to the dangers of feeding their animal companions Iams food products, so please check back for updates. Given these violations, Iams’ insistence that it tests on animals for the sake of animal health and well-being rings even more hollow. Please click here to see what you can do to convince Iams to abandon cruel laboratory tests and instead pursue cruelty-free and scientifically accurate home-testing alternatives.


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