Hill's Science Diet Responds to Pet Food Ratings Flap

science diet dog food ratingsHundreds of pet lovers reacting strongly when Hill's Science Diet was chosen by Consumer Ally partner GoodGuide.com as the the best dog and cat food on the market.

Most of the negative reaction centered on the accusation that grain-based pet foods, such as Science Diet and Purina, are bad for animals and that Science Diet is part of a conspiracy with the veterinary community.

We invited GoodGuide to respond to criticism, which it did, and now Colgate Palmolive subsidiary Hill's has too.Hill's said the reaction was the product of myths, including the oft-repeated claims the company uses slaughtered pets to make its food.

Here is the company's statement:

"We at Hill's are honored that a highly reputable rating service like The GoodGuide has awarded top ratings to Hill's Science Diet pet foods. GoodGuide pursues a rigorous, scientific and unbiased methodology to provide consumers with the information they need to find the best products. We appreciate that GoodGuide's rigorous assessment recognizes the extensive, mission-driven commitment we make to produce precisely-balanced nutrition in all of our products. We firmly believe that our products are the best available in the market today.

It is unfortunate that some comments made in this discussion have given credence to myths and false statements that should be corrected.

FACT: Corn and other grains used in Hill's products, rather than serve as filler, are carefully selected by our veterinary nutritionists. They help deliver the precise balance of nutrients in each product that our research shows provides the optimal level for wellness.

For centuries, people and their animals have relied on corn as a superb source of the following nutrients:

  • Highly digestible carbohydrates for energy
  • Essential fatty acids for healthy skin and coat
  • Beta-carotene, vitamin E and lutein - nature's antioxidants
  • Quality proteins for muscle and tissue growth

No single ingredient provides the best protein balance for your pet. That's why Hill's selects a combination of ingredients. The protein building blocks in corn are essential for pets and complement those in other ingredients to give dogs and cats the precise balance of nutrients needed for their health.

FACT: Science shows that ground corn is safely and easily digested by dogs and cats, and is not a common cause of adverse food reactions in pets. A review of published veterinary literature indicates corn has been implicated in fewer allergy cases than other common protein sources used in pet food such as beef, dairy products, wheat, chicken, egg, lamb or soy.

FACT: Hill's is veterinarians' number one pet food choice for their own pets. We have maintained a strong bond with veterinarians and fostered nutritional education from the start, when the company was founded by a veterinarian over 70 years ago. Today, we reach out to veterinarians around the world because it helps foster nutritional education that can benefit both pets and pet owners. Hill's never pays veterinarians to recommend our product to their clients.

Hill's does, on occasion, sponsor activities, educational initiatives or other programs for veterinary professionals. For example, Hill's is proud to support a new teaching and learning center, which just opened in July 2010, called the Hill's Pet Nutrition Primary Healthcare Centre. Part of Guelph University's Ontario Veterinary College, the Centre is a full-service veterinary hospital that integrates preventive and general medicine with nutrition, behavior, public health, good citizenship, rehabilitation, communication and animal welfare.

FACT: We only use high-quality ingredients in the production of our pet food, and we carefully source all ingredients to ensure they meet that standard of quality.

Our ingredients include by-products, which are common ingredients found in both human and pet food. Chicken by-product meal is a high quality, very palatable, concentrated source of protein. The chickens are sourced from human grade processing plants. Meat by-products consist of the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat from slaughtered mammals.

Reckless statements online about our use of ingredients are false and suggest behavior at Hill's that is contrary to our values as an organization of people dedicated to enhancing and lengthening the bond between people and their pets, and who also love our own pets."

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