Purina One: Where’s the Fish?

purina salmon Many animal owners love to pamper their pets. Whether it is with special grooming products, cutesy outfits, or special food, nothing is too good for their little furry friends.

Purina One is inviting cat owners to “see the difference” in their “exciting new kibble mixture.” It is “great nutrition”, they say, and is “made with real ingredients.”  For their salmon and tuna flavor cat food, they use real salmon and real tuna, as pictured above [and in their Valassis ad, 1/28/07].

Exactly how much salmon and tuna is in this cat food?

*MOUSE PRINT: According to the product label, which lists ingredients in the order of predominance, there is more fat in Purina One than fish. In fact, salmon and tuna are the seventh and eighth ingredients down the list, just before dried yeast. The product is actually mostly poultry-by product meal and other ground grains, rather than what the picture depicts — lots of fish and a little bit of grain.  

Poultry by-product meal, whole grain corn, brewers rice, soybean meal, corn gluten meal, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), salmon, tuna, brewers dried yeast, non-fat yogurt, calcium carbonate, phosphoric acid, animal digest, caramel color, salt, potassium chloride, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, choline chloride, calcium phosphate, L-Lysine monohydrochloride, taurine, zinc sulfate, Vitamin E supplement, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, niacin, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.

To try to better understand exactly how much salmon and tuna are in Purina One, MrConsumer asked the company. They responded that “the exact amount of ingredients used in our formulas is considered proprietary.”

Their website indicates that one cup of Purina One is 106 grams, and that is the largest daily portion recommended for the largest cat. Assuming all the other ingredients comprise at least 80% of the product (and that is probably a conservative assumption), then only about 20 grams — about a tablespoon and a half — of dried fish is actually in it.

Funny how some products can be fishy and not fishy at the same time.

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17 thoughts on “Purina One: Where’s the Fish?”

  1. People should really read the labels on what they feed their pets. It’s kind of shocking, but – you can find much higher quality stuff without resorting to the super-expensive brands if you do a little homework.

  2. Re – tuna – yeah, it would be cheaper, but it lacks amino acids they need and breaks down vitamin B1, so if you substitute tuna for regular cat food, eventually you’ll have a dead cat.

  3. Funnily enough, I heard on some science documentary that fish isn’t actually part of a cat’s natural diet. They do like it, but they don’t need it.

  4. By-Products are nasty, nasty stuff:

    By-product: An ingredient produced in the course of making a primary food ingredient; a secondary or incidental product. Feathers are a by-product of poultry meat processing. Feathers which are removed from a carcass during production of poultry meat are then hydrolyzed (pressure cooked with steam until they are an edible gel) which makes them an acceptable feed grade ingredient. Hydrolyzed feathers have been assigned the (IFN) International Feed Number 5-03-795 and can appear on a label as “Poultry By-products.” On page 158 in the AAFCO book, Official Publication, 1994, Association of American Feed Control Officials Incorporated, they show: Hydrolyzed Poultry By-Products Aggregate is the product resulting from heat treatment, or a combination thereof, of all by-products of slaughter poultry, clean and undecomposed, including such parts as heads, feet, underdeveloped eggs, intestines, feathers and blood.” The IFN assigned to this mix is 5-14-508. Today’s regulations allow the entire mix or any part of it to appear on a label as “Poultry By-products.” A “Fish By-product” can contain heads, tails, intestines and blood. This fish process residue has been assigned the IFN 5-07-977. A “Meat By-product” could be viscera and blood soaked sawdust from the floors of a packing house where meat is being processed. The meat being processed can be lamb, beef, horse, or any other source. Each one has its own IFN. Some of the animal feed IFN’s that contain wood shavings from the floor of a processing facility include “Dried Ruminant Waste” #1-07-526, and “Undried Processed Animal Waste Products” #5-02-790. It is important to note that the amount of wood shavings in either of these two “Meat By-products” is limited and should not be more than 35% in one and 40% in the other. When a pet food label’s list of ingredients shows the word By-product you can be assured that there is NO measurable amount of meat in the ingredient. If the ingredient contained enough meat that it could be measured the pet food company would proudly list the MEAT, not just the By-product of that meat’s production.

  5. @ Nancy

    Very informative, thank you for the information, but can you please list the source website/document when you post that type of information.

    And on a more personal note: ewwwwww.

  6. After reading Nancy’s comment I think I’ll stick with the can of Tuna and supplement with Science Diet dry food!

    And I better double check the label on those chicken patties I bought the other day!

  7. evidently Tom S.doesn’t count a cat or dog part of the family. I don’t feed my dog any commercial dog food.Also if you read the list of ingredient in Science Diet you will see it is not better than other cheaper brands.

  8. Part of my family? Do you mean on the same level as my children? Then no I do not. You people thta treat animals as if they were people confuse me. A cat is a cat, not a kid, and if they could elarn to use the can opener they would have no use for you at all.

  9. Nancy
    When a cat does its natural thing and catches and eats a mouse or bird it eats the whole thing except maybe a few feathers. Most of that meal was animal by-product. The cat did not sort our the head, bones, skin and other body parts from the meat. Animal by-products are not “nasty things” They are part of the cats natural diet.

  10. It’s true a cat would eat all of those parts, I’ve seen my cat do it many times, and honestly, it makes me think twice the next time my cat licks my face anyway. What bothers me is that I’m paying for that stuff when they try and pass it off as a better quality food with meat. Since they show meat, and not feathers in the pictures, I feel they should have the meat, not the by products, in the food.

  11. I came to this link as research that we are doing into the deaths of three cats this month and a vet’s knowledge of others in the community. suspition is that all were fed Purina Brand Cat Chow. Altopsy and test of catchow are being started today

  12. I work as a veterinary technician and we have had several animal food companies talk to us about what all there product information means.

    For a company to call there food something like “Beef Dinner” it only has to contain like 10% actual beef, and thats by AAFCO standards.

  13. I’m wondering why Tom S has such a problem with people who want to treat their pets like they ARE part of their family…let them feed the what they want–why criticize someone for wanting to feed their pet good, wholesome food–what’s confusing about that? Eating a mouse is far different than eating bloody sawdust from a meat processing plant..besides, i’d much rather spend a few extra bucks on food like blue buffalo than have my dog come home with dead animals every night.

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