Two independent studies have found evidence of endangered sharks in pet food sold on opposite sides of the planet by some of the world’s top pet food companies. Yet the mystery remains how animals in danger of extinction, including mako or silky sharks, ended up in pet foods sold in Singapore or the United States. Neither Mars Petcare nor Nestlé Purina PetCare uses sharks in any of their recipes. Both have supply chain protocols designed to screen out ingredients made with sharks, along with other endangered species. While scientists have identified the genetic signatures of sharks in pet foods, researchers need to investigate how sharks enter the pet food chain despite preventive measures.
Studies found shark DNA in pet foods
A biologist identified 17 examples of DNA from endangered mako shark (Isurus oxyrinchus) and one from the blue shark (Prionace glauca) in pet foods sold in the U.S. He published his results in Conservation Genetics in 2019.
Representatives of both Mars Petcare and Purina PetCare stated that their companies never use sharks, or even endangered species, in their recipes.
“If true, this is an extremely worrying study,” Lisa Campbell, Mars Petcare’s foreign affairs director, told Petfood Industry in an email. “We do not source endangered fish species as defined by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Pet Food Industry