The FDA has just notified “animal food ingredient suppliers, animal food manufacturers, and the public” that GRAS ingredients (Generally Recognized As Safe) can be used in pet foods/animal foods based on “the firm’s own determination, not FDA’s determination.” No kidding.
Any ingredient in a pet food/animal food can/could be added at “the firm’s own determination” to be safe. No unbiased proof required. How do you feel about that?
The FDA website explains…
“A GRAS substance is not subject to premarket review and approval by FDA. A firm can market a substance intended for use in animal food based on its own determination that the intended use is GRAS. A firm marketing an animal food substance on this basis does so at its own risk.”
‘At its own risk’? I see/read this as at the pet/animal’s risk. FDA’s alluding that a pet food manufacturer or a pet food ingredient manufacturer would be/has ever been held accountable for an ingredient harming a pet is fantasy. Example of this is ethoxyquin as a fish meal preservative.
Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative that is still commonly used to preserve the pet food ingredient fish meal. It is not listed on the pet food label, because the pet food manufacturer did not add it – the pet food ingredient supplier did (pet food regulations ONLY require ingredients added by the pet food manufacturer to be listed on the label). Ethoxyquin is scientifically linked to serious illness including cancer (http://lib.bioinfo.pl/meid:179734). Yet this risky ingredient is added to some pet foods without pet owner knowledge. To my knowledge, not one animal owner has ever been provided the ability to hold a pet food ingredient supplier or pet food manufacturer accountable for using ethoxyquin and in turn sickening or killing their pet. Including myself; an ‘e’ preserved dog food was believed to have killed my dog some 19 years ago. My Veterinarian told me at the time he believed her cancer was due to ethoxyquin preserving the food.
In my book, the pet food or pet food ingredient supplier using a GRAS ingredient ‘at its own risk’ statement is ridiculous. At our pets risk would be more appropriately worded.
Which brings up another point. We won’t know what GRAS ingredient will be added to a pet food ingredient if it was added by the ingredient supplier. A Chicken Meal ingredient as example might include some GRAS ingredient added by the chicken meal supplier and pet owners will be none the wiser. This GRAS ingredient could prove to be dangerous and we’ll never even know. We won’t even know what questions to ask of the manufacturer.
While a GRAS ingredient could benefit the health of a pet, just as easily and without any substantial evidence a GRAS ingredient could harm the health of a pet. A GRAS ingredient that can be added to a pet food/animal food without any clear unbiased scientific evidence to prove its safety can be/could be something of great value to our pets or it could be something along the same lines as ethoxyquin. FDA’s direct words to pet food/animal food manufacturers and ingredient suppliers ‘at its own risk’ is clearly the fox guarding the hen house. The fox guarding a multi-billion dollar a year hen house just doesn’t make sense.
The pet food companies that show us consistent integrity could use this new GRAS FDA message well. The pet food companies that have not shown us consistent integrity (or no integrity at all) now have the ability to do more damage. Keep asking your pet food manufacturer questions; build a relationship with them. Choose ONLY pet food manufacturers that you believe to have (and from your experience with them have consistently shown) integrity. Ask them if they use any GRAS ingredients or if their suppliers use GRAS ingredients and if so, ask to be provided with documentation to verify safety.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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