Why Clean Label Project’s Methodology is Unique
Here is How it Works
Here is Why it Matters
Clean Label Project’s mission is to educate consumers so they can make informed choices every time they shop. We accomplish this by using scientific data to identify toxins in consumer products and by sharing this information with you, the consumer. We evaluate the good stuff too like ingredient quality. Listed below are some of the 130 contaminant pet foods and consumer products are tested for and the potential health effects.
The Sampling & Analysis Process
Not all contaminants are created equal
Clean Label Project's overall product ratings factor in heavy metals, process contaminants, and by-product contaminants in addition
to nutritional superiority in order to provide consumers an overall snapshot of America's cleanest products.
Clean Label Project Evaluation Process
Environmental & Industrial contaminants' analytical chemistry results + Nutritional Superiority = overall score
Why do we weight heavy metals the highest? Because scientific evidence suggests that
these contaminants pose the greatest risk to health.
Clean Label Project also downgrades products and brands for food safety-related recalls.
Contaminants We Test For
Cadmium is a toxic natural element found worldwide. It enters the food chain through industrial contamination of soil and water, but is also found in cigarettes. Cadmium can be found in fruits, vegetables and grains such as rice, as well as organ meats, shellfish and protein drinks. Exposure to cadmium can damage kidneys in humans and animals.1
1ATSDR https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=47&tid=15; Nazima et al., 2015
Like mercury, lead is a harmful toxic heavy metal. It is used in many industrial processes, and used to be a common material for making paints and water pipes. Like other toxins, lead can leech into water and soil and contaminate foods. Lead poisoning affects memory and learning in children, and can cause stunted growth and kidney damage. In dogs and cats, lead has been linked to brain damage, kidney damage, and death.1
1 ATSDR https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=93&tid=22; Knights and Kumar, 2003; Hogasen et al., 2016
Mercury is a metal that occurs naturally in the environment, but can also be found because of pollution, farming, industrial practices and manufacturing (e.g. processed food cans). A form of mercury (methylmercury) is found in most seafood, which is why the FDA recommends limiting how much seafood you eat. Mercury damages the central nervous system, including the brain of humans, cats, and dogs.1
1 ATSDR https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxfaqs/tf.asp?id=113&tid=24 ; Farina et al., 2012
Acrylamide is an extremely toxic chemical used in manufacturing. It is used in the treatment of water, and it can sometimes wind up in soil through that route. It is also found in tobacco, and made naturally when certain plants (like potatoes) are cooked. Acrylamide has been linked to brain damage in both cats and dogs, and cancer in laboratory animals.1
Spencer and Schaumburg, 1975; Satchell et al., 1981; Beland et al., 2013
In food processing, residual solvent, as the name suggests, is the remaining solvent that is present after doing some type for extraction. Residual solvents usually occur when the required processing and solvent-purging methods or steps are not properly utilized. For example, hexane is a petroleum by-product of gasoline refining and a common solvent used by conventional grain processors to extract oil from different grains such as corn, soy, and canola. Most soybeans are processed through a hexane bath to separate soybeans into oil, protein and fiber. Soybean processing releases this highly explosive, neurotoxic chemical into the environment where it reacts with other pollutants to create ozone, which is a serious human health and environmental hazard.1