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"The Thinking Person's Pet Food"™ – Since 1979

Meat Meals

I was wondering if you might be able to answer a question I have in regards to fresh meat vs. meat meals in pet food.

On your website in the section titled "Critiques of Pet Food Companies Claims" under the section "Real Chicken" it says, "If it is chicken meat, as implied, it is far inferior to the meals."

This is stated because muscle meat alone does not have the nutritional merit of meals that combine meat with bones, viscera and organs. If meat and meals are both cooked products, the meat meal would be superior since it would match more closely the genetic expectation of carnivores.

However, in the section titled Fresh Meat vs. Meat Meals, it says, "Put simply, meat meals are inferior to fresh meats."

In this instance a cooked ingredient is compared to raw. Since meat meals are cooked, their nutritional merit is reduced to less than if fresh raw meats were fed. (This assumes a person is feeding other foods to balance the meat as in the Optimal Health Program).

Thanks for your response. But in the second instance, the discussion is also about commercial pet food, not feeding raw fresh meat. Reading further it states, "Fresh meats are not precooked and stored, but only cooked once into the final pet food product." Farther along when talking about Wysong products it says, "Meals are only used when fresh alternatives are not available . . ." This is a cooked product just like the first example.

You stated, "If meat and meals are both cooked products, the meat meal would be superior since it would match more closely the genetic expectation of carnivores." If this is true, why is there a lengthy article explaining why meat meals are inferior to fresh meats in commercial pet foods? If meals are superior why only use them when fresh alternatives are not available?

I'm not trying to be argumentative--I'm simply trying to understand. It simply seems counter-intuitive to critique other companies for marketing a claim that you clearly believe in yourself.

Thank you for your response.

The issues you raise all relate to terminology.

The fresh "meat" we use in our extruded products is not merely muscle meat, but viscera and organs as well, as consumed by wild carnivores.

That is superior to meat meals since it escapes two prior cooks that meat meals have before they reach an extrusion plant.

Perhaps the best way to understand what we try to convey is to study the Optimal Health Program™ (http://wysong.net/wohp/) where various choices are scaled in terms of merit.

Could somebody please explain why you're moving to so many "meal" ingredients, when that was one of the big no-nos and hype about Wysong all these years..literature and book(s) included?? If you've found a way to make it fine to use, I wish you'd explain it. I haven't been in pet/pet food related forums in the longest time but I can about imagine people have/are talking about that subject. Heck..I even used to post in such forums and point out the benefits of Wysong- one being that they didn't use these multi-cooked etc etc chicken and other meat meal ingredients.

We have not abandoned what we have previously taught regarding meals. However, in an effort to incorporate more meat in the dry products--and decrease the starch component-- we have had to include meat meals in order for a dry kibble to form. We still use as much fresh meat as possible.

Please review the following FAQs. If you peruse these and still have questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us again.

First, please know that all of our recent formulation updates were implemented in the interest of improving the nutrition of the diets. This has always been our foremost goal. Most Wysong Diets have been in existence for decades, and fed to tens of thousands of companion animals over multiple generations with remarkable results. We would not have altered them unless it was for the better.

All of the ingredients in Wysong Diets fulfill nutritive and functional purposes, and there are no fillers, artificial additives, or the like. We encourage you to visit the following web pages to learn the rationale behind the new formulations and for each of our ingredients (http://www.wysong.net/dietfeatures.php, http://m.wysong.net).

Quite to the contrary, the ingredient upgrades are MORE expensive as is the advanced processing used in production. The nutraceuticals and micronutrients are particularly costly, and note that the protein levels have been boosted in most diets, which always reflects increased costs. However, on a value/lb. basis, the foods are actually more inexpensive than the previous formulations.

The fish meal was added to formulations to contribute protein, as well as healthful omega-3 fatty acids. We have no scientific or anecdotal evidence that fish, in particular, cause allergies in pets. In fact, the fatty acid content of fish is anti-inflammatory and will actually improve any skin or coat issues related to allergies. See: http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/the-food-allergies-are-cured-myth.php.

We utilize meat meals in our formulations alongside fresh/frozen meats as concentrated sources of protein. Since fresh meats are 70% water, achieving an optimal carnivore protein level is only possible by using predried meats.

The vegetable and fruit elements in our products are very minor and are used to help preserve the product, provide nutraceutical benefits, and present nutrients to animals they would naturally get by eating the viscera of their herbivorous prey in the wild. See this link for further information: http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/fruits-and-vegetables.php.

This ingredient has been in Wysong formulations for over 30 years resulting in great benefits. It was previously called kelp, composted sea vegetation, or Chelamin™, but regulatory changes require the new nomenclature. This composted ancient sea bed ingredient contains over 72 trace minerals commonly deficient in modern human and animal processed diets and serves to help adsorb and neutralize mycotoxins should they arise in a food. See: http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/montmorillonite.php.

We've always kept our packaging on the small side in the interest of nutrient preservation. With larger packaging the food is often exposed to the elements over weeks and months, which is very destructive to the food. So many of the micronutrients included in our products are fragile, and must be treated accordingly. We want our painstaking manufacturing efforts to result in superior nutrition reaching the companion animal, not degrading in a "convenient" large open bag. For more information, please see http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/why-are-nutri-pak-sizes-small.php.

One size permits the use of our new packaging technology that affixes a computer generated label to the bag. The resulting flexibility permits formulation changes as new advancements in the rapidly unfolding field of nutrigenomics occur. Additionally, having only one size permits more efficient turnover of products and reduces manufacturing waste.

Thanks for the response. I guess I'm still wondering *how* your meat meals are made. Is the process done any differently than

other companies- are they made by Wysong etc? I just can't get out of my head how Wysong used to shoot down and ridicule

the use of these "meals" in pet food. And aren't your Uncanny etc the way to go instead- use more "freeze-dried" or whatever

process you use?

Our meat meals are processed like other meat meals. We do not produce them.

We agree that they have their drawbacks. However, it is the only way to boost meat protein to high levels in an extruded food.

As you know, we do not advise feeding any food exclusively meal after meat. That is why we offer the options we do and advise on home prepared foods.

As for using only freeze-dried meats, such products are extremely costly and would not permit some people to have the other benefits we provide in all of our foods.

I have been using the original formula Epigen for my two cats and they seem to be thriving. However, I use several other cat foods with them as well. I was reading on another pet food web site that the "meat meals" are generally poor quality meat substitutes and that we should avoid them if we are concerned about feeding our pets quality food.

They specifically said that they may include inferior meat from disabled, dying, dead animals, etc. I then read on the Wysong web site that Wysong does not support the use of meat meals such as chicken meal in pet foods either.

But, my Epigen food lists "chicken meal" as the second ingredient on the list. Does Wysong create their own chicken meal and do they use higher quality ingredients from healthy animals only? Can you please tell me more about the chicken meal that you are including in the Epigen food?

Wysong Reply:

Our chicken meal contains the entire chicken minus heads, feet and feathers, which is what carnivores would eat in the wild. It is not of poor nutritional quality.

If you refer to the Optimal Health Program™ you will see that we have developed a scale from best to worst. Nutrition for health is not black and white selection of ingredients as one would assume by all the myths and lore about "no this or that."

In this regard raw meat is best, one time quick cooked is next best, then extruded and dried, then canned, meals, starch products, etc. This does not mean that any of these are 'bad' per se. If they are fed exclusively at every meal that's another thing. A person does not have to always achieve the ideal, just do the best possible and keep the diet varied.

Please see these links for more information:

Ingredients, including the use of "4D" in foods: http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/the-pet-food-ingredient-game.php

100 Pet Health Truths

Myth of the 100% Complete Pet Food: http://www.wysong.net/pet-health-and-nutrition/the-100-percent-complete-pet-food-myth.php