June 17, 2015



Did you know that pet parents all over the country love Steve’s Real Food?  Here are just a couple of the experiences we have heard from owners everywhere.



“I foster dogs for French Bulldog Rescue Network (FBRN), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing French bulldogs in need.  I would like to share the story of one of my recent foster dogs, Mambo.
Mambo was surrendered to FBRN in a vet’s parking lot, suffering from his second rectal prolapse in three weeks. After the first prolapse, his owner had opted for a purse-string procedure, but the cause of the diarrhea that had precipitated the prolapse was not diagnosed, so it continued unchecked and the prolapse recurred.  The poor little mite, only a year old, was hunched over in agony.  A 3-inch section of tissue protruded from his bottom, and every few moments, he strained and screamed in pain.  As soon as the surrender paperwork was signed, I rushed him into an examining room, and the vet went to work.  Unfortunately, about 1-1/2 inches of rectum was gangrenous, and had to be amputated.  He underwent the necessary surgery and I took him home the next day.
For the first two weeks after surgery, Mambo had to eat a bland, canned diet, and was on antibiotics and medication to keep his poops liquid so that he wouldn’t tear his sutures.  Despite taking him outside eight times per day, I went through 150 potty pads during the first two weeks.  After four weeks, I began to experiment with his diet, to see if I could get him on a more manageable potty schedule.  I tried a high-quality, grain-free kibble —  It didn’t go well.  I tried canned food — he gained weight, but he still pooped 8-12 times per day, including during the night, and there was a great deal of straining involved.  I also tried a dehydrated formula, but it was very high in carbs, mostly potato, and this boy was an active one-year-old, and needed to put on lean muscle.  I tried giving him probiotics and enzyme supplements, but they didn’t seem to improve his digestion.  In fact, the probiotic supplement seemed to make him worse.  We had him allergy tested to see if the food he was eating was causing irritation, but he was not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Finally, my thoughts turned to raw.  I had several criteria in mind as I searched for a suitable product.  The food could not contain ingredients which the allergy test indicated that Mambo might be sensitive to (including pumpkin).  It had to contain high-quality, preferably human-grade proteins, organs, fish oils for omega-3 fatty acids, and vegetables and flaxseed for fiber.  It had to be reasonably priced.  Finally, It had to be easy to use — no frozen chubs that required power tools to cut into meal-sized portions.  My quest led me to Steve’s Real Food.  I bought a 5-lb bag of the Turducken formula, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.Mambo_3
I was not disappointed.  Mambo loved it.  More importantly, I noticed that almost immediately, his poops improved in diameter, frequency and consistency, and he had an easier time passing them.  Because of his special needs due to the fact that he had very little rectum remaining, I added a few things to his meals – a little baked sweet potato and extra ground flaxseed for additional fiber, and goat milk yogurt for probiotics.  It was not long before Mambo had improved to the point that he could be adopted.
Three-and-a half months after his horrendous ordeal, a happy, healthy Mambo headed off into the sunset with his forever family, a bag full of his favorite toys, and a styrofoam cooler full of Steve’s Real Food.”
Heather Mayrand
FBRN Volunteer


Hendrix“I have an 18 month old gordon setter who has had stomach issues since I got him at 9 weeks. He is pretty thin because he had never been interested in “food” and had never had a solid stool in his life. I decided to switch him to a raw diet using Steve’s Real Food. Since the switch almost 2 weeks ago his stools are solid and he is loving his meals (maybe too much if that’s possible). It’s safe to say poop scooping is going to be a dream compared to what it was! I am so excited my puppy, Hendrix, has found your real food to be exciting and delicious.”

Ashley Wilke – Omaha, Nebraska


Continue reading...

The Cost to Feed Raw Pet Food

June 3, 2015

What's the Real Price words on a tag to ask for the actual value

One of the biggest hurdles that keeps pet parents from a transitioning to a raw diet is the cost. It is no secret that a commercially made raw dog food is more expensive than kibble. But when everything is factored together, how much are you really saving by buying kibble? Let’s take a look at exactly how much in this blog by Nicole Lindsley.

Cost: Kibble vs. 100% Raw Dog Food

Many people feel that the price of raw food is beyond their financial reach.  It is my argument and belief that with a little creative financial juggling, anyone can afford a raw diet.  If the only food you feed is a high quality, grain free kibble and you want to transition to a raw diet you will spend approximately 1.5 times more to do so. You may be thinking “Whoa, that is too much… there is no way I can afford that,” but hold on, the dollar amounts are not as alarming.donationdog

I calculated the feeding cost of five top grain-free dry pet foods by first determining the weight of a cup of kibble (4oz per cup). Then I determined the recommended feeding amount per cup and solved for the weight that it represented.  In the end I determined that the average daily cost to feed a grain-free diet to a 50 pound dog is $1.66. If you were to transition to feeding 100% Steve’s Real Food it would cost you $2.38 more each day. That seems like a lot, but it is about the cost of one cup of coffee and quite a bit less if you get the fancy lattes or cappuccinos. It is even less if you have a smaller dog such as a 25 pound Cocker Spaniel who would only cost $1.19 more.

Cost: 75% Kibble & 25% Canned vs. 100% Raw Dog Food

The cost difference gets even less if you are feeding a mixed diet such as canned and raw. I calculated the daily feeding amounts and cost for feeding a quality kibble such as NOW by Petcurean and a canned diet made by PureVita. If you feed 75% kibble and 25% canned then you are spending an about $2.37 per day. To go from that diet to Steve’s would cost a $1.67 more per day. That is just over a 3/4th increase for an astronomical improvement in quality and nutrition. Remember, with a kibble and canned diet you are still missing out on any type of enzyme-dense raw nutrition.

Cost: 85% Kibble & 15% Freeze Dry vs 100% Raw Dog Food

A lot of people have decided to add raw nutrition to a dry diet by adding a freeze dry product as a topper. To get the full advantage of the raw nutrition from these products, it is recommended to add 8oz of freeze dry food topper to a kibble diet. That comes out to be about 15% of the recommended amount compared to a 100% freeze dry diet. Therefore, if you are feeding NOW by Petcurean 85% of the time and Stella and Chewy’s 15%, then you are spending about $5.28 per day, over a $1.00 more than if you were to feed a 100% Steve’s Real Food diet.

Raw Brands Vary In Price

group - 500px with shadowIt is important to note that all these price comparisons are for transitioning to Steve’s Real Food and not other raw brands. Many raw foods are $1 to $2 more expensive per pound than Steve’s Real Food.  We believe that all pets should be fed a raw diet 100% of the time and this is why we keep our MSRP per pound around $4.50. We do not do this through low quality ingredients, we do this by keeping our margins low and offering large package sizes. If the average Steve’s Real Food customer purchases a 13.5# box compared to a Stella and Chewy’s customer who buys 6#, we are selling more volume at a lower cost.


sick dogVeterinarian Bills:  People who feed their pets a wholesome, raw diet will see a great increase in health for their pet.  Many chronic diseases can be managed or eliminated through proper nutrition. This means if your pet is having health issues that are requiring expensive vet visits, shots, or medication, the need for those expenses can be eliminated through feeding raw.  You will save money in the long run by spending more on their dog food because it can save you medical costs in the future.

Your pet is worth it: 
 If you are reading blogs on the internet about raw pet food, then it is reasonable to assume you have a healthy obsession with giving your dog (or cat!) a good return on the love and adoration they lavish on you.  Your animal depends on you to make sure they are safe, healthy, and happy.  They are trusting you, and you have accepted that responsibility, because you know what we know – they make life good.  Your pet enriches your life, and feeding a healthy, raw diet – ensuring their long term health and happiness – is totally worth paying for.

In Summary:

  • Going from feeding Kibble to Raw Dog Food it will cost you one cup of coffee each day.
  • Going from feeding a Kibble & Canned Diet to raw dog food will cost you a cup of yogurt.
  • Going from feeding kibble with freeze dry topper to raw dog food will actually save you money.
  • Raw food keeps your pet healthy and happy, and they are worth it.
Continue reading...

May 19, 2015


See Part I
In the second part of our three part series on dogs and cancer, Shantel McCook discusses the different types of cancer and treatment options:

Types of Cancer

The wait is over on the diagnostic tests, and yes it confirms our worst fear for our dog: definitive diagnosis is CANCER. These tests will also tell us what type and grade of cancer our pet has.  There are many types of cancer, but according to Veterinary Oncologists, some of the most common types are:

  • Lymphoma represents 20 percent of all canine cancers, encompassing four main types. Currently, dogs are 2-5 times more likely than people to develop lymphoma. This tumor can affect any breed of dog at any age. Some breeds, such as the Golden Retriever, are more likely to be affected, indicating a likely genetic component to the development of lymphoma.





  • Hemangiosarcoma is a tumor that develops from cells that line blood vessels (endothelial cells). This tumor most commonly affects middle-aged or older dogs of any breed. There is an increased frequency of occurrences in in Golden Retrievers, German Shepherds and Rottweilers. Hemangiosarcoma develops slowly over time and is not painful to the dog. The organ most frequently affected is the spleen, which can cause extreme blood loss, with the dog showing signs of shock such as sudden weakness, pale gums, and labored breathing. This tumor also frequently affects the heart, liver and skin.
  • Osteosarcoma is the most common type of primary bone tumor in the dog. It most frequently affects the long bones in front and rear limbs of the dog, but can be found in any bone including the skull or spinal column, which are more rarely seen. This tumor is usually associated with the large and giant dog breeds, and are most commonly diagnosed in dogs between 2 to 8 years of age. Males are slightly more at risk than females for developing this form of cancer.
  • Mast cells are immune cells found throughout the body that play an important role in allergic reactions. Most mast cell tumors are found on the skin and may be detected by a sudden swelling or growth. Boxers and bulldogs are more frequently diagnosed with Mast Cell Tumors compared to other breeds. Mast cell tumors account for about 20% of skin tumors.

mast cell

mast cell



  • Melanoma is a tumor made of pigmented or dark skin cells that can be found anywhere on the dog’s body. Any dog can be affected, but dogs with dark skin or hair coats, such as the Scottish Terrier or Doberman Pinscher, are more frequently diagnosed. Melanomas behave differently depending on what part of the body they are found.

    ocular melanoma

    Ocular Melanoma

  • Soft Tissue Sarcoma is a tumor of fibrous tissue, fat, smooth muscle nerves and lymphatic vessels. Soft tissue sarcomas comprise 15% of all skin/subcutaneous (under the skin) tumors. These tumors are typically very invasive to the surrounding tissue but generally have a low risk of spreading.


Armed with this information, what do we do?  There can be many options and ways to look at treating cancer, but the single most important thing to keep in mind is that you, as the owner, know your dog the best, you want what will be the best option for them with the best quality of life and support, and you are the advocate for your pet.  Keeping that in mind with that “full spectrum” approach will help you feel confident and comfortable that you are making the best decisions for your pet family.

When the time comes to discuss treatment options, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed. There are many treatment options out there and your decision on how to best treat your pet may be based upon the grade, stage and type of cancer they have, and what is available in your area. Let’s take a quick look at some of these options, both a conventional and alternative, to help you understand your options for a balanced approach.

  • Surgery at one time was the only form of treatment for cancer. The goal of surgery is to completely remove a solid tumor. In cases where those solid tumors are localized to a particular organ or site, surgery may be curative. Depending on the tumor type, surgery may be combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation to target any residual cells left by surgical removal.


  • Limb Sparing is a surgical procedure that provides an alternative to amputation in selected dogs being treated forbone tumors. The idea of preserving a limb in dogs is not new, but it is only recently that advances in medical technology have made this procedure possible. The goal in limb sparing is to remove the diseased bone and surrounding tissues while still preserving the function of the remaining limb. The piece of diseased bone that is removed is replaced by a combination of healthy bone from a donor and bone graft from other parts of the patient’s body (see the work being done by the Clinical Oncology Service Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania).


  • Immunotherapy is the use of the body’s immune system to treat a disease. Immunotherapy is most effective in treating certain cancers such as melanoma, hemangiosarcoma, and lymphoma, among others. There are various types of immunotherapy, ranging from vaccines to injecting cytokines (chemicals that stimulate the body’s own immune system). One advantage of immunotherapy is that it is generally less toxic then chemotherapy.


  • Chemotherapy is used to treat cancer at the tumor site, as well as the cancer that may have spread to other parts of the body. Most chemotherapeutic drugs act directly on the cancer cells, preventing them from maturing or reproducing. And unlike humans, the side effects of chemo in pets is relatively mild. The goal with chemo is to slow down the growth of cancer cells, while producing minimal effects on normal cells.


  • Radiation Therapy is often used in conjunction with surgery or chemotherapy. Radiation therapy is a conventional medical treatment that sends high-energy particles into tumors. These particles interact with the atoms in the DNA of the cancer cells and destroy them. This, in turn, destroys the cancer cells.  Radiation also kills healthy cellsthat fall in its path, such as those in the skin, which can also be harmed. A dog must be under general anesthesia to receive radiation therapy and may require multiple treatment sessions.


  • Cryotherapy is a technique that uses extremely cold temperatures produced by liquid nitrogen to kill the abnormal cells. Usually used to treat relatively small, external tumors such as those on the skin, a local sedation or general anesthesia maybe required.


  • Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) is a treatment that uses a drug called a photosensitizer with a specific type of light to kill cancer cells. The agent is absorbed by normal cells as well as cancer cells, but stays in cancer cells longer. The tumor is exposed to light after a period of time. The photosensitizer in the tumor absorbs the light and produces an active form of oxygen that destroys the tumor cells. The light needed to activate most photosensitizers is unable to pass through tissue thicker than 1 cm. For this reason, PDT is usually used to treat tumors of the skin or on the lining of internal organ or cavities. PDT is less effective on large tumors, because the light cannot pass very far into the mass. PDT is used for localized tumors and cannot be used to treat metastatic cancer.


  • Acupuncture treatments are generally given as an adjunct to support western cancer treatments. Acupuncture can reduce the side effects of chemo and radiation. Acupuncture also increases blood circulation to the cells that need to get blood. There is some thought that acupuncture can help to pull blood away from cancer cells and give it to
    dog acupuncture


    the parts that need it. Often times with cancer, the body ends up without enough nutrients and energy because the cancer takes it all, and acupuncture is believed to help reverse this.

  • Herbal Medicine is the use of botanical remedies. Herbal healing is considered by many to be the oldest form of medicine and has been used by all races, religions, and cultures throughout the world. While most western conventional drugs have one or two specific actions, an individual herb can display multiple actions within the body. When properly administered, herbal medicines generally have far fewer side effects than pharmaceutical drugs.
    Herbal medicine is very beneficial in the treatment of cancer. One of the most appropriate and effective uses of herbs is to help reestablish an underlying balance and general state of health of the patient after the patient has been rendered “cancer-free” with conventional therapies. Herbs may also be used as an adjunct to ongoing conventional cancer therapies to offset the side effects of radiation and chemotherapy, enhance the patient’s immune system and aid in tumor reduction itself.
  • Food Therapy/Nutrition This can be a big part of the complete treatment of cancer in your dog. There are many different “Cancer Diets” out there and a lot of different beliefs in this area regarding raw vs kibble vs home cooked, more protein, less protein etc.


In part 3 of our cancer blog we are going to focus on the question of what kind of nutritional needs your dog may have while going through some of the above palliative treatments or when just keeping him comfortable as long as you can. I strongly believe that some of the nutritional changes I made in my dog McCain’s diet after I found out he had tumors on his liver and spleen gave him a better quality of life and helped him to survive with cancer for many years.  So check back!

See Part I

Continue reading...

May 6, 2015
The word “recall” sends the average American into a panic checking lot codes and best buy dates on everything from spinach to peanut butter. Here is the secret, the scary thing about a recall is not the Salmonella and here is why:

For the majority of my career life, I worked in IT as a project manager; a field that is far from government-regulated. It is probably safe to say that it is self-regulated, where the risk of compromising a customer’s personal information is the driving factor for extensive security measures and strict programming methodology. In the second phase of my career, I have entered the pet food industry; it is a far cry from technology in many ways, not least of which is the ways in which it is regulated.

When I started with Steve’s Real Food I was a liberal Obama supporter whose perception of the government was positive and filled with excitement; something that was not felt my many Americans back in 2010. Now, after five years of navigating the muddy waters of federal, state and industry regulations, my stance on government has shifted. I am not anti-government but have found that between the corporate influence and the naïveté that is a result of mass group thought, not only is it nearly impossible to make change happen, but the change that is attempted is based on archaic information, making it hard to keep up with the speed of reality. The result is that the majority of the consumer population is misinformed, and in turn, given a false sense of security.


One of the biggest misunderstandings about food safety is the Food Safety Modernization Act. Modernizing the food system to ensure that there are not bacteria in our peanut butter sounds like a good idea. However, relying on a large governing body who requires billions of dollars to make small changes is, in my opinion, not the solution.FSMA-4-30-Regulations
In 2011, Obama signed into law the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which gave the FDA the ability to proactively test food for bacteria and then require “voluntary ” recalls by the manufacturers when pathogens were found. In theory, this is a good idea; however, there are two major issues.

The first issue is that in their attempt to protect the consumer, they miss the real source of the problem and cause irreparable damage to companies that are not at fault for the problem. If you want to stop bacteria from being in our food (raw pet food in particular), then you need to go to the source – the suppliers of raw material.

The bacteria starts at that point, and it would make sense to improve processes to keep the bacteria out of the food source in the first place, rather than adding processes to sanitize the food after the issue exists. This leads to regulations that over process food and depletes it of important nutrients. Better to keep bad bacteria from reaching unsafe levels to begin with, but there lies another problem surrounding the whole concept of “unsafe levels.” Which brings me to my next point – overly sensitive tests.The second issue with FSMA is that the testing is extremely sensitive and will have a positive test result even with minute amounts of bacterial contamination. Before you get defensive and start commenting that you want zero amount of bacteria in your food, let’s remember that there are over 1 billion microbes in a gram of soil. Bacteria is all around us and it is in our food in many different forms. We have identified specific types which will make us sick, but the level of sickness is more dependent on the health of our immune system rather than how much harmful pathogens we are exposed to.The FDA’s hyper-sensitive tests can test a sample of food twice and get two different results. This means that there is a possibility that some of the recalls that go into effect may be unnecessary, especially when we are talking about raw pet food. In addition, the levels that are required for industry standards vary widely – with raw pet food, we are held to incredibly strict standards of bacteria levels in our testing results. Yet have you noticed the number of listeria recalls lately? An employee of Avure HPP foods, Dr. Errol Raghubeer, said off the cuff in a conference presentation in 2013 that in his opinion, a company that met the minimum USDA standards of listeria in their factories shouldn’t be in business because those levels were ridiculously lax.

Funding FISMA

Now let’s talk about the logistics of the Food Safety Modernization Act. As with most government run initiatives it is very expensive and yet can’t get much done. Prior to the bill going into law, the FDA requested $583 million which was planned to cover expenses from 2011 to 2015. By the end of 2011, the FDA reported that they will need an additional 400-450 million.

At a state budget hearing in March of this year, Commissioner Margret Hamburg stated “Significant funding gaps still loom”, and that “A shortfall in funding will undermine Congress’ intent to transform our country’s food safety program.” Without the proper funding, the FDA will not be able to properly train inspectors or hire enough inspectors to provide proper oversight, which will result in fragmented implementation.

The most upsetting part about all this is that last year in an American population of 319,000,000, there were 380 deaths due to salmonella; compare that to 611,105 deaths due to heart disease and 75,578 due to diabetes. Salmonella is certainly good fodder for news program’s ratings, but is it worth spending over a billion dollars on when that money could be used so someone on food stamps could afford to buy whole foods instead of mac and cheese or on a national educational program on the importance of a healthy gut? If we put the dollars where the problems were – on overly processed, nutritionally depleted junk food and an ignorant public – we would see a safer, healthier American public.


Now to the truly scary part. This overregulation and government inefficiency will physically make us sick. It is true. The “cleaner” our food, the worse off we are – something that is directly fueled by overregulation.

In the raw pet food sector, the best way to save a company from a costly recall is to implement a “kill” step in the manufacturing process. There are two highly effective options – Irradiation or High Pressure Processing (HPP). Irradiation is the process of using ionizing radiation to attack bacteria by breaking chemical bonds in molecules that are vital for cell growth. It does not result in radioactive food, but it does increase the free radicals and has shown to reduce nutritional values of food in the same way that cooking does. High Pressure Processing (HPP) is another sterilization process where food is put in a plastic bag, submerge it in a vat of water, and 50,000 pounds of pressure is applied. This technology is fairly new and studies are showing that there may be degradation of enzymes. An abundance of enzymes in raw pet food is the very reason we feed raw pet food. Top it off with the fact additional processing increases the cost of your food. HPP and Irradiation are being used on meats, produce, juice, and many other ingredients that we assume to be raw when we purchase them. These processes do not have to be indicated on the package leaving the consumer misinformed as to what they are eating. 

If Americans keep pushing for a sanitized food system we will end up with enzyme and probiotic-deficient raw food. We will slowly see our immune systems deteriorate, leading to more disease at younger and younger ages. Enzymes disorders will leave our vital organs struggling to function and our overall health will diminish.

The answer to food safety is a combination of buying local to get cleaner foods, eating fewer processed foods to improve overall health, and handling your food properly. If we do this we may not only reduce the 380 deaths caused by salmonella, a more statistically significant, the 686,000 due to diabetes and heart disease combined.


Sylvia, D. (author), Fuhrmann, J. (Author), Hartel, P. (Author), Zuberer, D. (Author). Principals and Applications of Soil Microbilogy (2nd ed., p. 672). Prentice Hall.








Continue reading...

Introduction to GMO’s & Pet Food

April 22, 2015


detailed illustration of a blackboard with GMO Term Explanation,


If you are the type of person who is feeding (or considering feeding) raw pet food, you probably are already conscious of the effect nutrition can have on your pet.  Nutrition is the foundation of why raw diets work – raw food is unspoiled by processing and heat, allowing it to retain as many nutrients as possible in an easy-to-digest way for your pet.  So it will probably come as no surprise to you that common sense and the international scientific community agree that keeping your food as close to nature as possible is kind of a good idea.

That means using food that comes from the earth and not a laboratory.  One of the growing outrages of the American public at the moment is the powerful lobby that pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies hold over our government, allowing them to control what we eat, and worse – our right to know what is in the food available to us.  Why do I say worse? Because knowledge is the key to voting with your pocketbook, which is the one thing large corporations will listen to. And without the right to know whether your food is laden with chemicals, pesticides, and GMO’s, you are incapable of showing them with your dollar where your opinions lie.

With dog food, this is no different.  If you are currently feeding a kibble and thinking of switching to raw, the information you learn from raw food advocates may come across as scare tactics designed to convince you to buy a product. Unfortunately, we don’t need to put a spin on it to convince you to switch. The facts themselves are scary enough, and the reality is that big box stores sell cheap pet food that is full of chemicals, animal byproducts (including kill-shelter cats and dogs), skunks and raccoons, GMO corn and soy, and renderings unfit for human consumption. They have enough nutrition to sustain life, but evidence shows that, like humans, full bellies can belong to nutritionally starving pets.

What Are GMOs?

GMO’s are a big part of the problem, and knowledge is the key to the solution.  So what are GMO’s, and why should you care about avoiding them?

According to Wikipedia, “A genetically modified organism (GMO) is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.”  According to the US Department of Agriculture, by 2012, 88% of corn grown in the USA and 94% of soy was genetically modified.  The majority of these crops are designed and owned by Monsanto, the biochemical giant, and have been genetically altered to grow bigger, faster, and to be “Roundup-Ready”, meaning that they can resist the pesticide produced by Monsanto that would kill any other plant living – a pesticide that is, among other things, rapidly depopulating the earth of a non-resistant and crucial part of the eco-system: honeybees.

Igmocornf this doesn’t worry you, maybe it should.  Corn is the number one ingredient in kibble, (and in many human foods) because it is heavily subsidized by the US government and so can be grown cheaply by farmers.  Yet as prevalent as it is in our food, the largest buyers of corn in the US are not food manufacturers, but large-scale meat companies that feed their animals an unnatural, corn-based diet, which their bodies were never designed to eat.  This translates into a decrease of nutritional value in the meats you and your dog eat.  Nutritionally deficient cows = nutritionally deficient meat.  The rise of chronic disease, cancer, infertility, anxiety/depression, ADHD, obesity, and many more diseases can be linked back to nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances that come from eating cheap foods manufactured with an eye on the dollar and not on public health.

But GMO’s Are Safe, Aren’t They?

Well, they were approved by the FDA, but it is scary that GMO’s were never fully studied for safety in human or pet food.  The FDA accepted short-term studies funded by companies with a vested interest in producing GMO’s – studies that showed no negative effect. These studies were not peer-reviewed by disinterested parties at the time, and current third party studies and longer term studies are beginning to show links to kidney damage, shorter life spans, infertility, mammary tumors, and more. Articles that claim this isn’t true cite ‘long-term studies’ – of 90 days up to 2 years. This is hardly adequate to judge the effects of 90+ years of consumption in the average human.  Oh, wait – obesity and chronic diseases means that our kids are the first generation in centuries expected to live shorter lives than their parents, so let’s knock that number down to 75.  That is just in humans. Those two-year studies can’t even give us adequate results for our pets’ lifespan of 10-15 years. In essence, GMO’s are considered safe by the FDA despite the lack of research and are not regulated any differently than natural foods.  Click on the photo below to get an idea of why this might be…


If the government will not step in, it is up to the general public to defend itself against these attacks on our health. The good news is people are stepping up and the movement is growing.  The Non-GMO project, the increase in awareness, and the growing demand for Organic food is fueling the only change American culture will react to – the dollar.  As demand grows, large corporations are increasing their focus and production on products that are certified to be free from these GMO’s and pesticides – a clear sign that you are not alone in your disapproval.  Corporations are realizing there is money to be made here and are adapting their products accordingly. Conversely, companies that are founded on GMO’s and chemicals are seeing their profits spiraling downward, and institutions as iconically American as McDonalds are scrambling to try to revamp their fast food image as consumers run the other direction.

The Disappointing Reality of Labeling


Unfortunately, for some corporations that refuse to truly understand the market, this just means adjusting their labels, rather than making any real change.  The FDA has very little ability to enforce proper labeling, as anything claimed to be a ‘trade secret’ can be left off the federally mandated food label.  Some companies have realized the market for ‘freshness’ and ‘natural food’ and are changing to green packaging, slapping on the word ‘natural’ (which has no regulated meaning or standards) and calling it good without improving their product at all. So it is important to know what different labels mean.

When looking at pet food for your dog, remember that corn- and grain-free are best. The number one ingredient should be meat, and it should be identifiable meat, such as chicken or pork. Even better if it tells you exactly what part of the animal it is, such as beef hearts or pork loins.  You should be able to recognize every ingredient on the list, as GMO Soy can be hidden under a number of different names. Finally, if they can’t explain the ingredient in an easy to understand way, it may be bad for your pet. If you are just starting into the world of educated label-reading, this is a good starting point.

Smart phones are your best friends in this day and age, as you can quickly look up an ingredient to see if you really want it in your pets’ body (or yours!) before you purchase. It is worth the time to stand there for twenty minutes at the store looking at an ingredient list if it will save your pet from cancer later, and it is worth paying a little more at the pet store to save on vet bills in the long term.  Not only will your pet be happier and healthier, but you will save money and improve their quality of life when you consider thoroughly what you are feeding your pet, and take the time to educate yourself on the risks and benefits of different pet foods.  Of course, if you have read this far, you are clearly doing your research, so good job, pet parent!  Cheers to your beloved pet!

Happy little girl with her mastiff dog on a meadow in summer day


Steve’s Real Food is dedicated to the education and increase of awareness of the consumer.  That is why we have an open book policy, where you can ask us anything, and we will give you an honest answer.  In case you are wondering, Steve’s Real Food is completely GMO-Free.


Continue reading...