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In 2008, Rachael Ray partnered with Ainsworth Pet Nutrition to develop a line of dog food and treats under the Nutrish brand. Ainsworth Pet Nutrition, was a fifth-generation family-owned and operated company formerly known as DAD’S Pet Care.
In 2018, The JM Smucker Company acquired Rachael Ray Nutrish pet food. That will end in April 2023, when JM Smucker will sell the Rachael Ray brand along with 9Lives, Kibbles ‘n Bits, Nature’s Recipe and Gravy Train to Post Holdings, Inc, a consumer-packaged goods holding company in St Louis. The transaction is valued at approximately $1.2 billion.
The sale also includes the company’s manufacturing and distribution facilities in Bloomsburg, PA, as well as its manufacturing facilities in Meadville, PA, and Lawrence, KS. The Nutrish dog foods are manufactured in Pennsylvania in the company’s updated plant.
Rachael Ray dog food has 2 lines of dry foods and 2 lines of wet foods with a total of 20 recipes. The Premium Pate Canned foods are considered moderate risk and the other 3 lines are considered high risk.
There seems to be nothing exceptional about the ingredients used in these recipes as there’s no information about the sources or quality. However, the website lists a number of additives, preservatives and colors used to enhance the appearance and texture of the food. There is another list of palatants including low quality animal digest and natural flavors, and sweeteners to enhance the taste. This is concerning as dogs don’t care about the appearance, color, texture and sweetness of food.
Both dry food lines are ultra processed and have high carbohydrate levels as calculated, which leads to the low scores. They both have low protein levels that average about 25%.
Nutrish Dry contains grains and starches like corn, sorghum, peas and rice that contribute to the high carbohydrate level which averages 40% as calculated.
According to the company website, Nutrish Zero Grain dog food has added vitamins, minerals and nutrients, and doesn’t contain any added grain, gluten or filler ingredients. However, added vitamins and minerals reflect a lack of whole food nutrients in the ingredients used. While these recipes might not include grain, they are equally high in carbohydrates (38% as calculated) from ingredients like rice, peas, sweet potato, tapioca, canola meal and chickpeas. Dogs have no nutritional requirement for carbohydrate but starch is needed for extrusion in dry foods. Foods that are high in carbohydrate can raise insulin and cause obesity.
Nutrish Dry also contains excessive amounts of added vitamins and minerals, and some amino acids, which can be a reflection of poor quality ingredients and ultra processing which destroys nutrients. Both dry food lines contain plant proteins, which are a cheaper source of protein. Additionally Nutrish Grain Free contains sunflower oil which is an inflammatory seed oil, and glycerin, a sugar that’s unnecessary in a dog’s diet.
From an ingredient safety standpoint, these dry dog foods have high pesticide and GMO ingredients in the top 5, which cause health concerns because of the use of glyphosate. Natural flavor is used and that’s a concern as it’s often low quality animal digest or MSG. Rice is also a concern as it can contain arsenic, which is linked to chronic health issues
The wet foods score better as they are a little less processed but are still considered moderate to high risk. Both have average carbohydrates of about 22% which is high for wet foods. And both have an excessive amount of added vitamins and minerals.
The Nutrish Super Premium Wet recipes are cooked so are less processed but their score is lower than the higher processed canned foods. This is due to using unnamed fish oil and plant protein, both lower quality ingredients. Several ingredient safety concerns drop the score. In addition to containing high pesticide and GMO ingredients, they contain natural flavor and menadione, which has been linked to immune system dysfunction and liver toxicity.
Nutrish Premium Pate Canned uses canola oil which is a GMO ingredient and an inflammatory seed oil. Canned foods are processed using several stages of heating that cause a loss of nutrients. They also have high pesticide and GMO ingredients, and use carrageen, which has been linked to intestinal inflammation.
It’s also worth noting that Rachael Ray Nutrish doesn’t state the omega-6:omega-3 ratio in their foods. While this is true of most foods, it’s unfortunate since AAFCO allows a very inflammatory limit of 30:1. They also don’t mention whether fish ingredients are farmed or wild caught. Wild caught fish is more nutritious and has a better fatty acid profile.
The company notes that Rachael Ray Nutrish uses independent third parties to assess and audit their food safety programs at each manufacturing facility.
Nutrish Dry has 4 recipes that average 25% protein and 40% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods rank low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates, added vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in one recipe and using plant proteins. They score extremely low in ingredient safety for being ultra processed, which destroys nutrients. They have high pesticide and GMO crops listed in their top 5 ingredients. The recipes also lose safety points for containing rice and natural flavor.
Nutrish Grain-Free Dry has 8 recipes that average 26% protein and 38% carbohydrate as calculated. These foods rank low in ingredient quality for having high carbohydrates, and added vitamins and minerals. The recipes use plant proteins, seed oils and sugar. They score low in ingredient safety for being ultra processed, which destroys nutrients. They have high pesticide and GMO crops listed in their top 5 ingredients. The recipes also lose safety points for containing rice and natural flavor.
Nutrish Super Premium Wet food has 4 recipes that average 41% protein and 20% carbohydrate as calculated on a dry matter basis. The protein in these recipes is acceptable but the carbohydrate content is higher than expected in a wet dog food. Other quality concerns include the use of added vitamins and minerals and fish oil which is an unnamed protein. These are cooked foods so they are moderately processed (and less process than canned food). Safety points were lost for using high pesticide and GMO ingredients in the top 5. Other concerns are for using rice, natural flavor, added color and menadione which can cause liver toxicity, among other things.
Nutrish Premium Pate Canned has 4 recipes that average 36% protein and 23% carbohydrate as calculated on a dry matter basis. The protein in these recipes is lower than expected for a wet dog food, and the carbohydrate content is higher than expected. Other quality concerns include excessive added vitamins and minerals. Safety points were lost for being canned foods which are highly processed. The score is lower for using high pesticide and GMO ingredients in the top 5. Other concerns are for using rice and carrageenan.
08-2018 – Consumer complaint over dog food labeled as ‘natural’ containing trace levels of glyphosate weed killer.” Dismissed in April 2019, and again in February 2020.
06-04-2015 – FDA recall of 7 types of cat food for potential elevated levels of vitamin D.