White is hot! Dr. Gary Pusillo
According to PPG, a leading international coatings company, white is hot for the 2011 car colors. Twenty-one percent of 2011 model year cars around the world are white. Black and silver were tied for second place with 20 percent, with gray coming in next at 13 percent. Silver ranked #1 last year.
What has this to do with pet nutrition? White is also very “hot” in the world of commercial pet foods. The amount of “white fish,” “white tuna” foods and treats is increasing in availability but unfortunately, most of the time the Ocean white fish is a dramatically different fish.
If it is not fit for your dish, it still can be a pet food fish. In the US, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~frf/seaintro.html) maintains a registry of 93 approved market names (http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/SEARCH_SEAFOOD/index.cfm?other=complete) to protect consumers against economic fraud. As of 2011, applying these names to the pet food industry is not something foreign pet food suppliers and many domestic commercial pet foods manufactures remotely worry about.
Very rarely will the premium parts of any fish popular with humans be used in pet foods; rather the only parts used are heads, innards, fins, skins, and racks (the remaining skeleton and tissue, devoid of the best flesh). If you find a canned or fresh pet food that look and perform like popular human grade fish, then you have struck gold and you should stick with it.
In the world of dog foods “ocean white fish”, “white fish,” white tuna, cod, and albacore tuna are surpassing salmon as the most popular fish showing up in ingredient lists. People eating fish labeled as “cod,” “super white tuna” or “white tuna,” have known to suffer from oily diarrhea ( keriorrhea) as a result of eating Escolar (Lepidocybium Flavobrunneum) and “oilfish,” Ruvettus Pretiosus (often identified as Escolar) . Recently, the fish labeling controversy was reported by a number of news and media organizations.
According to Lowenstein, Amato and Kolokotronis, 2009, “A piece of tuna sushi has the potential to be an endangered species, a fraud, or a health hazard.” In the pet food industry, “Ocean White fish,”“white fish,” “tuna”, “salmon”, or even “trout,” on the label can be whatever fish is available at time of manufacture.
My best advice to you is, “if you did not see what fish actually was put into your pet’s food, then you really do not know what fish it was.” Furthermore, if you are not a fish expert, you probably would not recognize the species of fish you observed anyway.
Ocean white fish in your pets dish, is not always the type pictured above. White fish can be any number of “white fish;” traditionally all those not of the “oily” variety such as menhaden, herring, mackerel, pilchards, sardines, sprats, tuna, salmon, trout and eels.
“Pure white tuna” cat foods in a can are the easiest to distinguish between Escolar and authentic “white tuna.” Escolar in canned cat foods appears very white, oily, and somewhat sticky in texture.
The truth is in the poop. Cats and dogs not accustomed to Escolar pass “wet gas” and have messy accidents when least expected. If a cat has never been exposed to Escolar previously, its poop will be very loose for about 48 hours after the first feeding.
Dogs accustomed to oily fish or fish oil supplements and fed low levels of Escolar will often have “cow feces;”soft pudding like piles; before the “oily diarrhea” starts to pour out. The fresh feces will have a rancid odor due to steatorrhea (fecal fat.)
When fed Escolar or “oilfish,” Dog’s get “gurgle tummy;” abnormally loud gut sounds that resemble rain running into your house gutter and through the down spout. If you have ever gone to a sushi bar, ordered “super white tuna” or “white tuna” and got a terrible stomach ache and explosive diarrhea; you probably had Escolar instead of tuna.
Never feed Escolar or “oilfish” to dogs with a diagnosed condition called EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency).
Escolar, in places like Hawaii, is known colloquially as the Ex-Lax fish; thanks to its high content of indigestible wax esters (remember olestra?).
If your pet develops explosive diarrhea soon after consuming the new “white fish” food, Escolar might be something to mention when talking to your veterinarian about its mysterious excessive pooping activities. Real white fish (Caulolatilus princeps); as show in the top left picture; does not have the same effects as Escolar.