I’ve had a number of minor conversations over the years that pondered the disappearance of the crumbly piles of white doggy poo that people of a certain age, myself included, swear were common place in the 70s and early 80s.
I kept meaning to have a rummage on the Net to see what I could find, and have only just remembered to.
I found a fair number of opinions that think maybe it’s just down to better cleanliness (poos cleared up more often, and often picked up by their delivery-agents’ owners).
That’s never really struck true with me, as no matter how clean a place is, you’re going to find a dog poo somewhere that’s been hanging around for a while, and they all remain pretty much the shade of brown they came out as.
There is an answer I came across that seems credible, and so I thought I’d repeat it here as fact for no good reason than, hey, it’s my blog! Not sure how well it applies to the UK, mind.
Back in the day, dog food was made mostly of the bone meal that remained after beef was processed at the factory. The bones were ground up into a fine powder, which was mixed with rendered fat, protein and vitamins, then compressed into happy little dog food pieces. Dogs ate the food, and crapped out relatively normal turds composed mainly of undigestable bone meal.
Bilirubin, urobilinogen, and stercobilin are what give faeces its colour, and they decay in nature much faster than bone meal does; when those colourants leached away, all that was left behind was the white calcium “skeleton” of the poo.
At any rate, in the late 80s the cosmetic industry started using up all of the fat content that had gone into dog food in the past, forcing dog food manufacturers to move to vegetable oil as a binding agent. Vegetable oil didn’t stick to the bone meal quite as well, so corn meal started to be used for part of the content. Also, good ol’ Ronald Reagan passed a bill that allowed hot dogs’ bone content to go up from “trace amounts” to a whopping ten percent by weight. This immediately depleted the bone meal supply available to dog food manufacturers, who switched over to solely corn meal filler.
In a sense, the white dog droppings of days gone by are now in your lunchtime frankfurter.