In a China Trade War, U.S. Meat Looks Like Dog Food

As Donald Trump’s campaign threats of a trade war with China loom over American industry, executives are left to determine how they might navigate that conflict. For the U.S. meat industry, the answer might be snoring softly next to the food bowl in your kitchen.

The U.S. sells billions of dollars of beef, pork, and chicken to countries all over the world, a mutually beneficial relationship that allows companies to find buyers for cuts of meat Americans shun, like offal and pig ears. If those markets should close, said Tyson Foods Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tom Hayes, such technically edible animal parts will likely land in your dog’s breakfast.

“If in fact there was a situation where there wasn’t a primary use market, we’d use it for rendering,” Hayes said in an interview this week with Bloomberg. “We do a lot of rendering of our products for pet food.” Rendering is the process of grinding up giant heaps of raw food and animal material, heating them, and separating them into components like liquid and solid fats for use in soap, explosives—and Fido’s kibble. It’s a safe and effective way to recycle the approximately 59 billion pounds of what would otherwise be waste produced by the meat, supermarket, and restaurant industries. 

“We supply people that make pet food and we have our own pet foods business,” Hayes said. Of a trade war with China, he said: “Our view is that things won’t get there, but if they do, we have options.” He noted that the 82-year-old company has “been through tough times before.”

But while American dogs and cats (if they knew what was going on) might be salivating over the possible influx of pig ears, there’s a catch for the meat industry: profit. A product sold as the main ingredient in Chinese pig ear salad fetches a higher price than what’s destined for a shelf at Petco. “Rendering is often below 10 cents a pound,” says Brett Stuart, chief executive of market analysis firm Global Agri-Trends. “A year ago, it was $2.80 a pound for pig ears in China.”

And it’s not just the ears. The U.S. pork industry exported a total of $791.4 million in “pork variety” in 2016, with Hong Kong purchasing $256.7 million and China buying $245.2 million, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. China is the world’s largest pork importer, and, according to an October 2016 USDA report, “remains an important market for U.S. exporters.” Between January and August 2015, the country accounted for 6 percent of total U.S. pork shipments. For the same period in 2016, it was 12 percent.

While trade restrictions would mean major changes across the agriculture industry, meat producers will face a particular challenge thanks to international variations in consumption preferences. “Grain is grain is grain,” Stuart said. “But once you start talking about meat, there are so many different products and different values in all markets.”

For now, though, Hayes is reluctant to alter a company strategy that brought in $4.1 billion in sales from 115 countries last year. “It’s really important to the countries that we export to that they continue to have availability of our products,“ he said. 

Stuart echoed the sentiment: “One would hope that we don’t hurt through trade restrictions a thriving, globally competitive manufacturing business at home.”

Dr. B’s Longevity Raw Pet Food Donates Food to Wolf Visions

The majestic wolf is a beautiful animal with complex social and communication structures, but as a species, they are often misunderstood. Wolf lover and teacher Vinnie Reo works to dispel many falsehoods about wolves with educational appearances and talks across the Northeast. Through his non-profit organization, Wolf Visions, Reo raises awareness about wolves and strives to preserve and restore the vital role of the wolf in our ecosystem.

Sharing that passion for wolves, local holistic veterinarian Dr. Gerald Buchoff was thrilled to have the opportunity to donate 120 pounds of his Longevity Raw Pet Food to the wolves at Wolf Visions for their care and well-being.

“Longevity is truly an ancestral diet containing pastured proteins, animal organs and vital nutrients that improve the well-being of all dog breeds,” explained Dr. Buchoff. “It is only natural that our Longevity food is well-liked by dogs’ ancestors. I am honored to be able to support Wolf Visions in their endeavor to raise awareness for these amazing animals.”

Reo and 4-year-old wolf, Tecomah, visited Longevity Raw Pet Food in Little Falls, New Jersey on Tuesday, February 28, to receive their donation, and Longevity was an instant hit. Tecomah enjoyed a sample of the food and delighted Longevity’s staff and customers with her visit.wolf2

A raw food diet is associated with many health benefits for pets including increased energy, healthier skin and teeth and a stronger immune system. Formulated by Dr. Buchoff, Longevity Raw Pet Food is designed to support a healthy immune system for pets of all ages. Longevity Raw Pet Food is designed to optimize a pet’s wellness for enhanced quality of life and lifespan. In addition to high quality, raw ingredients with full nutritional integrity, Dr. B’s Longevity adds the power of pet superfoods such as green tripe, lycopene, and medicinal mushrooms.  Longevity is available in area pet food stores, online and directly through Longevity’s retail location at 145 Paterson Avenue, Suite 2 in Little Falls.

Three q’s: Bentley’s Pet Stuff opens Excelsior location | Lifestyle

Excelsior is going to the dogs, in a great way.

Bentley’s Pet Stuff has opened a new location at 400 Water Street, across the parking lot from Kowalski’s.

The company is named in honor of a special dog, and was founded by Bentley’s parents, Lisa and Giovanni Senafe, in Illinois in 2008. After losing two cats to illnesses, they began to grow concerned with their pets’ health and specifically their diets, and set out to create a business that would connect pets and their families with higher-quality food products. Today, inventory at Bentley’s includes options that can be tailored to the specific needs of different dogs and cats, and even offers options for owners looking to explore raw diets. In addition, the stores carry non-food products including beds and toys.

Lakeshore caught up with manager Leslie Steen, a mom of two rescue dogs whose background includes experience as a canine nutrition specialist, veterinary technician and dog trainer.

1) What is Bentley’s all about?

At the core of the company is Bentley’s food promise, which says that our food contains no by-products, no food or treats from China; no corn, wheat or soy; no chemical preservatives, and that we’re quality loyal, not brand loyal and carry a wide selection for any budget.

In recent years, there have been several recalls on food from China, so almost all of the pet food lines at Bentley’s are U.S.-made, with one line from Italy, a country that has a strict vetting process for pet food. We also carry raw diet options that are great for beginners considering it, the meals are already balanced so that owners don’t have to worry about adding in minerals or making sure the animals are getting everything they need, and the choices include things like beef, goose and lamb. A raw or partial raw diet allows them to get closer to how their ancestors ate, and how and what they were born to eat.

We also have a sample table set up in the back of the store, so dogs can try things out before owners make purchases. As employees, there are four of us in this store, and we’re all passionate about pets, and do training and work to continue to learn more about the products.

Bentley’s is a family-owned business and they were looking to expand into the Twin Cities. Excelsior is just a very dog friendly place–you see a lot of people out walking their dogs and even a lot of the businesses are welcoming. We had a soft opening on Feb. 1 and at our grand opening there was a line out the door of about 50 people, and we’ve just had a steady stream of people since.

3) Are there any pet-friendly events coming up at Bentley’s?

We’re trying to do at least one rescue event a month, and as the weather gets warmer we’ll try to do two to three a month. Rescue pets will be at the store during the events, and people can come and meet them. We’re also looking to host things like Yappie Hours and ice cream socials, and are just looking forward to being part of the community. Dogs are welcome here, and we have treats ready for our dog visitors. We want this to be a pit stop for people and to have regulars, to get to know our customers and their dogs.

Recalls protect animals from low-quality and tainted food

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Pet food recalls have made headlines in recent weeks, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has announced that eight brands of cat, dog and rabbit food have been pulled from store shelves since the start of 2017. These foods have been recalled for containing possibly low levels of vitamin B1 and for carrying disease-causing bacteria, pieces of metal, and traces of the animal euthanasia agent pentobarbital.

Pet owners may find information about recalled pet food by visiting the FDA website. More information about pet food adulterated with pentobarbital is available in this FDA news release. The American Veterinary Medical Association also provides information about pet food recalls and alerts on its website.

Pet food recalls occur for many reasons. In general, the process exists to protect consumers from food that does not meet quality standards or is tainted with pathogens, excess or deficiency in vitamins or minerals, and contamination with toxins.


Two recent pet food recalls have resulted from contamination with pentobarbital, a drug used in veterinary practice for humane euthanasia of sick or injured animals. Five dogs reportedly became ill after eating the food; one died, according to the FDA.

Pentobarbital is not allowed in pet food, and adulterated food should not be legally sold. “[I]t is not acceptable to use animals euthanized with a chemical substance in pet or animal foods,” an FDA spokesperson told Food Safety News.

The FDA, in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is investigating the products that tested positive for pentobarbital to determine a possible cause for the drug’s presence. The agency is focusing on suppliers of beef ingredients for pet food, it announced.

How do you know if your pet’s food is safe?

It is important to choose food from companies that follow supply-chain regulations and enforce quality controls, including testing of products to detect problems before food reaches the marketplace. To know more about a manufacturer’s quality control measures, contact the company directly. Manufacturers are expected to test both raw materials and finished products to ensure food safety.


Many recent recalls have involved raw pet food and canned pet food.

Canned food is cooked at high temperatures to ensure it is free from pathogens. However, this process may also lead to vitamin and amino acid degradation if not done properly or if these nutrients are not supplied in sufficient amounts.

Raw pet food presents higher risk for pathogen contamination and foodborne illness. Several recent recalls have resulted from food contamination with the infectious bacteria Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

Cooking food at high temperatures is the most effective way to eliminate pathogens, therefore raw pet food — including frozen, fresh and freeze-dried food — presents a higher risk for contamination.

For this reason, the AVMA discourages raw diets for pets and provides more information in its policy on “Raw or Undercooked Animal-Source Protein in Cat and Dog Diets.”

If you are worried that your pet ate a contaminated food, contact your veterinarian or an emergency veterinary clinic.

Don’t Follow These TV Chefs’ Kitchen Routines


Viewer beware: TV chefs dish up some pretty eats but they may be ignoring basic food safety, reports the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. One oft-seen mistake: not washing hands after handling raw food, which can spread bacteria like E. coli and salmonella.

Follow these tips when you recreate your favorite as-seen-on-TV meal to avoid getting sick from foodborne bacteria:

Clean. Wash hands and surfaces often, especially after contact with raw meat or eggs.

Separate. Don’t chop salad veggies on the same cutting board as uncooked chicken.

Chill. Refrigerate perishables within two hours.

Your Wisconsin: Vital Essentials raw pet food

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – A Green Bay company is gaining international fame for their pet food.

They are getting attention for what is not in the recipe. “We are one of those well kept secrets in town. Not many people know that we are a pet food company, actually an international pet food company” says Lanny Viegut, Owner of Vital Essentials.

The company employs nearly 60 people at its Green Bay production facility. “It is the best product that you can buy out there. There is nothing else that compares to the food that we make here” says Brett Simmons, Plant Manager for the company.

They are making raw pet food that is either freeze dried or frozen to preserve its freshness.

“The framework essentially goes back to what we call an alpha prey model diet. If you take a wolf or a fox in their natural habitat, they would seek out prey and eat it and eat all of it”  Viegut explains.

Reading the labels you will not find any grains or fillers. It is just meat.  According to Laura Ritchie, Social Media Coordinator for Vital Essentials “We have the basics which are beef, turkey, duck, chicken and then we have some exotics like wild boar, rabbit, fish”.

The company started in 1969, but the original owner ran into challenges convincing consumers. “He was way ahead of his time. People did not look at packages and nutritional labels the way they do today” Viegut says.

In 2008 the founder ran out of funds and Viegut joined the company, with a brand strategy and marketing plan. “We have experienced rapid growth” Viegut says. “Our business has grown nearly 50 percent year over year”

Part of the success is due to a very serious team of taste testers. “On any given day we will have 6 or 8 dogs in our office and up to three cats” Viegut explains. “The dogs and cats are our taste testers so when we come up with a new product idea they are the first to give us two paws up or two paws down”

Ritchie says her cat loves the products. “Within the first 24 hours of me bringing a sample home, it was stolen out of my purse. My cat had ripped open the bag and eaten everything, so I knew there was something special about this product” she says.

And while the Vital Essentials team is proud of what goes into their product, pet owners also notice a big change in what comes out on the lawn. “There is at least 50 percent less to pick up” Viegut says.

Vital essentials can be found in more than 3500 independent pet specialty stores across the country. For a store locator click here:

FGCU alumni become their own bosses with Elements Real Food cafe

FGCU alumni Jenni Bier and her husband, Zack, knew they wanted to be their own bosses and leave the routine grind of their day jobs.

Starting with a student loan, the couple turned the uncertainty of their future into the successful Elements Real Food brick-and-mortar restaurant in Asheville, North Carolina.

“With having barely any money at all to start a business, a food truck seemed like a viable plan toward entrepreneurship,” Zack said. “Even when we were in college at FGCU, Jenni was always interested in healthy food and that whole world. We’d always have potlucks with our friends in college, and she would be the star.”

FGCU alumni business

(Photo courtesy of Zack and Jenni Bier)

Zack took time off from college to travel around the country, and that’s when he met Jenni.

The two had similar majors, and they were both from Fort Myers. Zack graduated FGCU with a degree in environmental communication, and Jenni with a degree in environmental studies.

After graduation, the two moved to Asheville, where they lived for two and a half years before becoming tired of the jobs they had; Jenni worked as a bartender, and Zack worked at AB Tech.

For the Biers, things began to fall into place with the success of their food truck. Zack and Jenni dove headfirst into the food business without a real plan.

The two used a $1,000 student loan to buy a trailer, which would become the Roaming in the Raw food truck.

“In the beginning, it was always the money that was the hardest part,” Zack said. “I was working at the financial aid office at the college up in Asheville, so I kind of knew how the people got student loans. And, you’re supposed to use it for school, and some people do. Or, some people use it for living expenses or what have you.”

With the food truck up and running, experience taught them the necessary skills needed to make their plan work.

It was the blind leading the blind on an adventure of ‘is this really going to work?’ After just three months of opening Roaming in the Raw, the two were able to quit their jobs to pursue a career in the food business full-time.

Jenni explained that the Biers started with raw food, smoothies and juices as their Roaming in the Raw’s staple dishes.

“While I was going to school, I got a part-time job at this place in Cape Coral called ‘Back to Nature.’ We were vegetarian, and I was making my food at home because there’s not many places to eat in Fort Myers when you’re vegetarian,” Jenni said. “I thought I would just be cleaning things, but they asked if I could cook in my interview.”

At “Back to Nature,” an organic market that serves fresh-made juices and ingredients for clean eating, Jenni learned that the foods she thought were “healthy” weren’t entirely  good for her.

During her time at the store, she learned about whole and raw foods and clean eating, which she then applied to Roaming in the Raw.

During the first Asheville frost their business saw, the pipes in the food truck froze, and they quickly needed to find another means of serving customers.

“We kind of went ‘Uh oh, what do we do?’” Jenni said. “We called some farmers markets in the Sarasota, Venice and Englewood area, figured out living arrangements and spent about three months there, from December to March. When we went back (to Asheville), we decided that we were only going to bottle juices and smoothies and not cook.”

Multiple investors asked to be a part of the business that the Biers had created. However, even with the idea of money to put toward a restaurant, the couple refused.

“We weren’t even thinking that way yet; we were still in the food truck world, not having a lot of money. We couldn’t think of a big picture yet, but they kind of planted that seed in our brain that there was a lot more than a food truck that could be possible with what we were doing,” Zack said. “We didn’t actually end up taking anybody’s investment, which I’m very thankful for. We still own 100 percent of our business.”

Elements Real Food is the newest venture for the Biers, with one location on Liberty Street in Asheville and a second location opening this year on Long Shoals Road in South Asheville.

“It’s pretty epic; it just doesn’t seem real. We’re still not used to living comfortably,” Zack said. “We were always just getting by, and this is the first time in our lives where we’re trying to set ourselves up for the future. It’s fun. It’s definitely different.”

Once Elements Real Food took off, the Biers began to offer more than just their food truck inventory, adding an option for customers to ‘build your own six pack’ with their premade, cold pressed juices or even order juice cleanses on their website, an idea that Jenni brought with her from “Back to Nature.”

Their most popular item is their cashew milk, flavored with superfoods like cacao to give a variety of flavors.

The cafe is dedicated to promoting and producing healthy, high quality “real food,” with a high demand for their glass bottled, cold pressed juices.

The Biers pride themselves on their quality food with a taste to match its clean and colorful presentation.

On the menu, customers can try everything from a traditional acai bowl — complete with acai, blueberries and cashew caramel topped with house-made, gluten-free granola (to name a few ingredients) — to their daily-made and constantly rotating desserts.

Suffering from insomnia? Eating artichokes, raw garlic may help you sleep better

NEW YORK: Intake of prebiotics — dietary fibers found naturally in foods like chicory, artichokes, raw garlic, leeks and onions — may help improve sleep and act as a buffer against the physiological impacts of stress, a study shows.

Prebiotics are certain types of non-digestible fibers that probiotic bacteria feed on, such as the fibers found in many plant sources like asparagus, oatmeal, and legumes as well as in breast milk.

The findings showed that rats on the prebiotic diet spent more time in non-rapid-eye-movement (NREM) sleep, which is restful and restorative and is dreamless, than those on the non-prebiotic diet.

“We found that dietary prebiotics can improve non-rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, as well as REM sleep after a stressful event,” said lead author Robert Thompson, post-doctoral student at University of Colorado – Boulder.

“Given that sufficient NREM sleep and proper nutrition can impact brain development and function and that sleep problems are common in early life, it is possible that a diet rich in prebiotics started in early life could help improve sleep, support the gut microbiota and promote optimal brain/psychological health,” added Monika Fleshner, Professor at University of Colorado – Boulder.

For the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience, the team fed three-week-old male rats a diet of either standard chow or chow that included prebiotics. They then monitored the rats’ body temperature, gut bacteria and sleep-wake cycles — using EEG, or brain activity testing — over time.

After being exposed to a stressor, the rats on the prebiotic diet also spent more time in rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep.

REM sleep is believed to be critical for promoting recovery from stress — previously been shown to reduce healthy diversity of gut bacteria.

But rats on the prebiotic diet were buffered from the impact, maintaining a healthy and diverse gut microbiota and normal temperature fluctuations even after stress exposure, the study said.

My family is forcing me to become a raw vegan. Is it healthy? (Query)

I am a 28-year-old software engineer. I come from a south Indian Brahmin household where non-vegetarian food was strictly banned. But today they have made a transition from veganism to raw veganism for health and spiritual reasons after they started following a guru who advocates this lifestyle. They eat only fresh fruits and vegetables without adding oil or salt to their food. Lately, they have been forcing me to go on this diet but I think it is making them terribly deficient in vital nutrients. Is this a healthy practice? 

This query has been answered by nutritionist Geeta Shenoy from Dietitian Geeta Shenoy’s Nutrition & Wellness Clinic, Chembur.

As you rightly suspected, any diet that is restrictive in nature will cause deficiencies. Do not follow such diets without proper research. The premise for raw veganism is that most nutrients are lost when we cook it. Ironically, a lot of enzymes in raw food get destroyed in the human gut. An only raw diet entails consuming vegetables, fruits and leafy vegetables in their uncooked form. They won’t be able to eat grains, lentils and pulses which will be too hard to chew.

Vitamin B 12 or cobalamin is a nutrient which is primarily derived from animal products such as shellfish, liver and mackerel and plant products like plant milk and soy. It helps protect nerve cells and produce genetic material for the human body. Vegans are often found deficient in this vitamin which adversely affects their neural health.

Similarly, vegans and raw vegans become deficient in folic acid, which helps in mental and emotional development. Studies say that the primary cause of folate deficiency is low intake of rich sources such as legumes, which is very difficult to consume if it is in the raw form. They will also become deficient in proteins if they forego rich vegan sources such as lentils.

Kindly advise your parents to visit a dietician or a nutritionist before they take up such lifestyles. In case they have underlying heath problems, they should consult their physicians first. Lastly, I would advise them to not impose their practices on you or your siblings.

Image source: Shutterstock

Published: February 24, 2017 1:06 pm

Cannabis For Dogs? – Magnetic Magazine

Dog's get stressed too!

Dog’s get stressed too!

It’s been clear for some time that cannabis is a hugely beneficial medicinal plant, and now that medical marijuana has been legalized in 28 states, more people can safely use this plant-based medicine without fear of prosecution. Given this new widespread appeal many people wonder if their pets can benefit from cannabis too, and the answer is yes they can, but they need a different form of cannabis than the kind you can pick up at the dispensary.

A special kind of cannabis for dogs, developed by vets from the hemp plant, allows your dog to experience the relief that cannabis can deliver, but because this is a low THC form of cannabis, your dog won’t be exposed to any of the potential risks inherent with the regular strains. What’s more, this type of cannabis is legal throughout the country!

Recreational cannabis is high in THC which is the substance that gives marijuana its psychotropic effects, and low in CBD, the beneficial medicinal substance. Hemp is just the opposite. It’s high in CBD and low in THC.

Hemp Plant

Hemp Plant

Hemp Helps Reduce Anxiety

Dogs can experience anxiety under a variety of circumstances, such as being left alone during the working day, being shut away from the rest of the family (their pack), or being exposed to new people or something they’ve developed a phobia toward. And when they’re anxious, not only are they distressed, they can also be destructive and aggressive, which invariably worsens the situation.

For some dogs with anxiety, a gentle dose of the pet-safe form of cannabis will be enough to calm them down and alleviate the stress that they feel. Other dogs with more pronounced anxiety issues may need to follow a program of gradual desensitization exercises. Cannabis for dogs can be helpful here too, because desensitization is much more effective if the dog is calm and relaxed during the process.

Hemp Boosts Immune System Health

A strong immune system is vital for your dog. A healthy immune system fights off infection and responds quickly to dangerous changes in the body that ultimately lead to cancer. Hemp is rich in antioxidants—free radical neutralizers that prevent the cell damage which leads to disease. Adding cannabis to your dog’s daily routine can also help to alleviate allergies and enable your pet to stop taking the drugs which keep them under control.

And It Even Reduces Joint Pain

As dogs age, they become increasingly susceptible to stiffness and joint pain which significantly impacts their quality of life. One way to help alleviate this pain is to feed your dog a raw food diet. A raw food diet eliminates carbohydrates; a significant factor in the inflammation which worsens joint pain. This diet is very simple to transition to, simply feed your dog fresh meat and bones.

A canine cannabis supplement is complimentary addition to this feeding regime. Cannabis for dogs further reduces inflammation and supports healthy joints, allowing your dog to regain mobility and his zest for life.

Before giving your dog any new supplement you should satisfy yourself of its safety and quality. Any supplement vendor should have a certificate of analysis (COA) available so that you can verify the product’s exact constituents and its purity. If you have any concerns about giving your dog a hemp supplement, you should seek guidance from your vet.