There is some misleading information being told to pet owners (by pet food) about ethoxyquin preserved fish meals. The following is more information on ethoxyquin.
One pet food company has told pet owners their fish meal is ‘e’ free; yet supposedly they provide test results showing 5 ppm of ‘e’ in their fish meal. Another pet food company is telling pet owners about pet food #1’s claim of ‘e’ free, plus sharing there is a shortage of ‘e’ free fish meal. And then there’s the claim that the ‘e’ is cooked out during the pet food manufacturing process and that naturally preserved fish meals (using Naturox or natural tocopherols) is causing an alarming rate of peroxide levels in fish meal, thus more harmful than ‘e’. Hmmm…here’s what I found out.
Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative used in some pet food/treats directly and indirectly. ‘E’ used directly you would find listed in the pet product ingredients; used indirectly you would not…it would not be listed on the pet food/treat label. Pet food regulations allow pet food/treat companies the priviledge of NOT including ingredients that were added by ingredient suppliers. As example, fish meal is a very common pet food ingredient. Many fish meal suppliers use ‘e’ as a preservative in the fish meal sold to pet food/treat manufacturers. Because the manufacturer did not add the ‘e’ to the manufacturing (the ingredient supplier did), ‘e’ would not be required to be listed on the pet food/treat.
First off, ethoxyquin was developed by Monsanto (doesn’t that make you feel safe). In 2007, Greg Aldrich, PhD (Pet Food Industry Consultant, Journalist to PetFoodIndustry.com) reported on the Pet Food Industry website that in the 1980’s there were a “number of anecdotal reports to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by pet owners of reproductive problems, cancer, itchy skin, etc. in their pets.” Dr. Aldrich states most of these claims have been refuted, thanks to additional studies provided by Monsanto (yes, additional studies performed by Monsanto – the manufacturer was trusted). The FDA has basically dropped the issue of ethoxyquin concern since. http://www.petfoodindustry.com/ViewArticle.aspx?id=12892#Scene_1
Today, I discovered no mention of ‘e’ on the Monsanto website; however I did find on ChemicalBook.com a list of six suppliers of ‘e’; each one of them based in China. Safety data from Chemicalbook.com states ethoxyquin is harmful if swallowed, avoid contact with skin, and is assigned the Hazard Code Xn – hazardous. http://www.chemicalbook.com/CASEN_91-53-2.htm
Ethoxyquin is registered with the EPA for use as an antioxidant to control scald (browning) in pears. ‘E’ is also regulated by the FDA for its use as a preservative in animal feed, dehydrated crops and sorghum, and as an antioxidant for the preservation of color in the production of chili powder, paprika, and ground chili. The EPA admits there is limited information on the risk of ‘e’ and states what we do know provides enough information “for the limited use of this chemical.” http://www.epa.gov/oppsrrd1/REDs/factsheets/0003fact.pdf
Although Federal regulations state that ‘e’ must be used as a preservative on fish meal entering the United States, ANY fish meal supplier can opt for an approved safer preservative with full government approval. One such safer preservative is Naturox (used by many pet food companies). I spoke with Jim Mann of Kemin Industries the manufacturer of Naturox.
Unlike what some pet food companies are telling pet owners, Kemin Industries shared that there is no shortage of Naturox; thus there would no shortage of naturally preserved fish meal should any supplier wish to use Naturox versus ‘e’. Fish IS a seasonal product, but no more seasonal than many other products commonly used in pet food. Because Naturox is approved by the U.S. government for use as a fish meal preservative, no supplier of fish meal (or pet food company) would need to apply for any costly and/or time consuming permits. Kemin works closely with fish meal suppliers providing instructions for proper use of Naturox and proper storage of the meal. Which leads me to…
Again, unlike what some pet food companies are telling pet owners, Kemin Industries told me a fish meal preserved naturally would NOT be more likely to have higher peroxide levels; “not if it’s managed properly.” Mis-management of fishmeal would include improper application of ANY preservative and improper storage. Quoting one pet food manufacturer “Also, the peroxide levels are much higher than we feel comfortable with. Peroxide is an indicator of oxidation. Peroxide can cause vomiting and may even cause damage to vital organs.” Yes, peroxide is an indicator of oxidation…as well, an indication of mis-managed fish meal. Mismanaged fish meal, higher peroxide levels resulting in a risk to pets can occur with ANY preservative including ‘e’. It is not indicative of natural preservatives as pet owners are being told.
One more note about ‘e’ that pet food has neglected to mention. ChemicalBook.com states “Ethoxyquin may undergo a hazardous polymerization at temperatures above 320 degrees F. Tends to polymerize and darken in color on exposure to light and air. Not compatible with oxidizing agents and with strong acids.” http://www.chemicalbook.com/ChemicalProductProperty_EN_CB5296077.htm
Thus, if any pet food containing ‘e’ is heated above 320 F, a hazardous chain reaction could very well alter the entire pet food/treat. Since many pet food/treat companies claim cooking temperatures are ‘proprietary’, even if ‘e’ is listed on the label (instead of hidden within an ingredient itself), pet owners have no idea if ‘e’ has damaged the food/treat in a ‘hazardous’ way.
Why some pet food manufacturers are telling pet owners their fish meal is ‘e’ free, yet they state their meal analyzes at less than 5 ppm is confusing. Ethoxyquin is NOT naturally found in fish; it would ONLY be discovered at any part per million ONLY if the chemical was added somewhere along the processing line.
Don’t believe everything pet food tells you. Do your research. If you are lied to by a pet food…that should be a very clear sign of the quality of the food/treat this company produces.
My thanks to ALL that helped me in researching ‘e’. Your help is greatly appreciated!
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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