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Formaldehyde in Pet Foods

Formaldehyde in Pet Foods

Provided to us by our friend – animal feed forensic scientist Dr. Gary Pusillo – a warning regarding formaldehyde in pet foods.

Written by Dr. Gary…

Most of the 50 + age group remember dissecting animals preserved in formaldehyde, in high school biology class.

Many pet parents believe that what AAFCO approves and recommends is in best interest of their pet’s health and well being.

Formaldehyde is approved by AAFCO for use in animal feed, but there are regulations on how much can be used. Please review 87.15 Formaldehyde in the 2014 AAFCO official Publication.

For many companies rendering dead animals for fat and meat meals, the formaldehyde levels added during processing do not always follow the correct meaning of what is defined in AAFCO publications.

Currently, there is “fresh” product on the market that contain “meat” pieces; which when separated from the tube of solidified meat paste, washed and allowed to dry; these pieces will remain pink and perfectly preserved for over one year. It makes one wonder what allows this to happen. Our lab is currently investigating this amazing phenomenon.

Formaldehyde is used as a tissue preservative in medical laboratories and as an embalming fluid in mortuaries. I prefer not to feed my pets formaldehyde laced products even though AAFCO allows it to be used.

Preserving our pet’s heath and well being does not mean pet parents should use formaldehyde as part of their efforts to achieve optimum health and quality of life for their pets. Fresh food should never contains formaldehyde as an additive, or as part of the manufacturing process of one of its ingredients.

Check out the following for more information on formaldehyde:


Dr. Gary’s alerts are something I take very seriously. The AAFCO Official Publication – Dr. Gary mentions above – requirements of formaldehyde cover two pages. But the principle requirements established by AAFCO are as follows…

“The food additive formaldehyde may be safely used in the manufacture of animal feeds in accordance with the following conditions:

(a) The additive is used, or intended for use, to improve the handling characteristics of animal fat in combination with certain oilseed meals by producing them from a dry, free-flowing product…

(b) The food additive is formaldehyde. It is used at a rate of 5.4 pounds per ton of animal feed or feed ingredient. It is an antimicrobial agent used to maintain complete animal feeds or feed ingredients Salmonella negative for up to 21 days.”

We do not know which pet foods contain formaldehyde (our pet food testing project is getting prices on formaldehyde testing – we hope to test a few foods). Do not hesitate to ask your pet food manufacturer if any ingredient contains formaldehyde (added by ingredient supplier or manufacturer).

Thank you to Dr. Gary!


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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2014 List
Susan’s List of trusted pet foods.  Click Here



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  1. This lab testing is the most exciting thing to happen in the pet food world! Thanks again for mobilizing this effort. I cannot wait to hear about this “fresh” product and the results you get, as well as testing other foods with animal fat for formaldehyde.

  2. uggh. the horrors of pet food keep coming. did you read the USA today story about the out of date Chinese beef and chicken relabeled for human fast food consumption, and the recent disclosures about illegal Chinese antibiotic use in human consumption chicken? And manufacturers insist Chinese chicken produced for pet consumption is safe???

  3. After reading Buyer Beware and a couple other books I ordered Dinner Pawsible and started cooking for my fur kids. Thank goodness!! They are doing great and I don’t have to worry about the junk in dog food. Thanks Susan.

    • I bought Dinner Pawsible and have been cooking for my little fluff for over a year. It’s been great. No more allergies, no hot spots, no tear stains. Lab work is perfect. Plus he loves the food. I will never switch back to dog food. I’m so thankful for the book.

  4. Does the formaldehyde added to animal feed also include animal feed to farm animals that people consume? In your book “Buyer Beware” meat and bone meal were shown to have high flouride levels. Would Solgar or Now bone meal used for people and pets also have high flouride? Your web site is a great blessing. Thank you for all the work you do.

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