Thursday 10 March 2022

Pet food prices are going to go up because the products contain wheat

This is a quick note to remind ourselves that cat and dog food prices are going to go up because both Russia and Ukraine produce a lot of wheat and Putin's invasion of Ukraine has disrupted production and exportation of wheat to the rest of the world, which will force up prices of wheat and therefore the prices of products containing wheat which includes cat and dog food.

Wheat is more expensive thanks to Putin's war. Image by FelixMittermeier from Pixabay

Did you know that cat food contains a product called wheat middlings? Wheat middlings are the product of the wheat milling process that is not flour. It's a source of protein which is used in pasta and breakfast cereals as well as fodder for livestock and pets.

Ukraine is known for its production of wheat. The country is being devastated by the invasion. The price of wheat has risen by almost 75% so far in 2022 and is now at its highest since 2008.

Ukraine and Russia are top exporters of wheat. Ukraine is described as the 'breadbasket of Europe'. The price of wheat is expected to rise by up to 20%. Covid has also forced prices up. This is in part due to supply chain costs.

Russia and Ukraine combined account for about 25% of global wheat exports.

Postscript: there's an interesting article on the Truth about Pet Food website concerning wheat middlings. Susan Thixton who runs that site has a colleague who is an expert on pet food. His name is Dr. Gary Pusillo. He said that he's been seeing ergot alkaloid problems in supplements and foods containing wheat middlings and other wheat products. What is this?

Susan Thixton tells us that ergot alkaloids are mycotoxins produced by fungi of the genus Claviceps. I take that to mean that they are toxins produced by a fungus on the wheat which finds its way into the food that people and pets eat.

There was a recent big pet food recall in the UK because of contamination by mycotoxins. A lot of pets died and the story fizzled out which is usually the case because the manufacturers like to dampen down publicity which harms them commercially. The link below discusses the story.

RELATED: Is there a cover-up over mycotoxins in cat food in the UK?

Ergot problems in dogs and cats might be misdiagnosed as a bacterial related problem. Cats and dogs become ill quickly. The mycotoxins can cause convulsions, diarrhoea, excessive salivation, breathing problems and ataxia. Sometimes cats detect the contamination and reject the food. But if the flavour masking agents are strong in the food, they prevent the cat from detecting this toxin.

Wheat in cat food can also cause allergies in cats. Marks & Spencer in the UK are promoting a gluten-free diet with gluten-free products. Why are they doing this? It's been done for health benefits because there's a long list of health benefits if you take up a gluten-free diet such as eliminating bloating, reducing the frequency of headaches, reducing lactose intolerance and reducing joint pain. The most common source of gluten is wheat. That's the connection in this story.

Wheat should not be in cat food. Cats don't eat wheat naturally. It's a cheap source of protein - a plant protein - to increase the profit margin for pet food manufacturers. It's unnatural in cat food and there are these potential health problems associated with it.

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