Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Pet Foodies: Pooch Pate

Magazine article The Wilson Quarterly

Pet Foodies: Pooch Pate

Article excerpt

"Considering the similarity of its ingredients, canned dog food could be a suitable and inexpensive substitute for pate." That's the dubious hypothesis set forth by John Bohannon of Harvard University's Program in Ethics and Health and two coauthors, in a working paper for the American Association of Wine Economists (April 2009). To test the hypothesis, Bohannon and colleagues managed to recruit 18 subjects (with informed consent) to taste the contents of five unlabeled serving bowls, which held duck liver mousse, pork liver pate, liverwurst, Spam, and Newman's Own Canned Turkey and Chicken Formula for Puppies/Active Dogs. A food processor gave all samples the same consistency. They were salted, refrigerated, and garnished with parsley.

A majority of participants, 10, identified the duck liver mousse as the tastiest, and 13 chose the dog food as the worst. But a plurality, eight of the 18, identified the liverwurst as dog food. The researchers speculate that participants expected dog food to taste better than it does. Bottom line: "Even with the benefits of added salt, a smooth texture, and attractive presentation, canned dog food is unpalatable compared to a range of similar blended-meat products. …

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