Q&A: Plastic in Your Raw Pet Grind?

Occasionally, we have (rightfully) concerned raw feeders send us photos or bring us in samples of worrisome bits of plastic-looking material that they found in their pet’s food.

While it has only happened a few times in all the years we have been selling and making raw foods, we take each and every one of these concerns very seriously. Thankfully, this has happened only twice with our own food, and a few other times with other products that we sell. Fortunately, the mystery object was immediately and very easily identified as either fish scales, part of an animal’s organs, or pin-feather quills – all 100% edible and perfectly safe to feed.

Question: Hi Kasie, I wanted to ask you about something I found in the EcoPawz food.  I’ve noticed it a few times and was wondering if it’s plastic?  I had a photo of one next to a dime, but couldn’t find it now.  The few times I saw it, it looked like a flattened straw.  There could possibly be times when I missed it and fed it to the dogs.  Anyway, it felt like plastic to me, and I didn’t know what part of an animal it could be if it wasn’t.  Please let me know if you have an idea of what it could be.  Thanks so much!  Christine

Answer: Hi Christine, Thank you for asking. Yes, I DO know what that is!  Rest assured, these odd looking bits are not plastic! These are just feather quills/shafts – also referred to sometimes as pin feathers – 100% natural and a part of the turkey, duck or chickens (any bird); they are just a natural part of the bird that is found in the skin.  Totally edible and completely safe to feed. No worries! Cheers, Kasie


At SFRAW, we put an enormous amount of effort and care into each and every product that we provide to our dear members. As the founder, I genuinely love, admire, and an inspired by the obvious concern SFRAW members have for their animals well-being. The intention and work they put into ensuring they are feeding the safest, healthiest foods to their beloved animals is, after all, a shared interest, important responsibility, and common goal we all have as part of this wonderful community.  I am humbled to know that all the work and research we do to provide the very best possible for our members, is not only relied upon, but also appreciated by our most conscientious and observant members.


We had some bits presented to us yesterday, and it was definitively determined, with the help of meticulously and carefully reviewing the product in question with our production staff, to be a sardine fish scales.  The sardines we have right now are a bit bigger than in the past, and the scales looked like this (top is of the fresh scale, bottom of the one brought in to us):

sardine fish scales can certainly resemble a piece of plastic to the uninitiated! 

We encourage people to inspect all food & treats that you provide to your animal before feeding – examining edible items upon serving and smell for freshness. Be sure anything you give to your animals looks and smells as expected/normal, to make sure it is safe to eat.

If you see anything questionable – please, take the time to report this to the manufacturer/butcher/producer where you got the food. Give them a chance to examine your findings – it may be something problematic, or you may be surprised to learn about odd bits that look a lot like plastic, but are really just edible parts of your animal companion’s fresh raw natural meals!

Ever noticed unusual colors like green or rainbow tint to your raw or frozen meat? We were once delivered a few bags of green tinted beef cuts, but it’s been many years since that happened. Thankfully, we learned that it was not a safety or quality issue in that case – we contacted the producer to determine the cause, and they were even kind enough to replace the product to ensure we were comfortable feeding it to our animals. Learn more about the different colors that may be found in your raw/frozen meat & poultry and what they may indicate/if they are safe to eat or not here.