Chemical additives in pet food
Our society today is aware of the important impact that a proper diet generates on our health and our pets. In fact, there is a greater tendency towards the consumption of foods and / or natural products, less processed and free of chemical additives.
Often, dog owners transfer their philosophy of life and eating habits to their pets.
From Veterinaria Digital comes to mind a question, how do we know that the food we offer our dog daily is beneficial or harmful to it health?
To find out this issue, we will focus on the explanatory label that all commercial pet foods are bound to have and which unfortunately, is not always so easily readable. This label collects information regarding the composition and formulation of the food. Among the components, we can find nutrients (chicken, beef, cereals … expressed in percentages) and additives, among which we highlight stabilizers, flavorings and preservatives. It is precisely the inclusion of chemical preservative additives that have generated controversy in recent years because some of them are precursors of cancer.
Among the most dangerous preservative additives for our pet's health are:
1) Butil-hidroxi-anisol, better known as BHA, numerically identified by E-320 and which is used in the food industry as a preservative. Currently its use is totally prohibited for human consumption because it is a carcinogen. It causes kidney and liver disorders as well as being associated with allergic reactions in pets. Its toxicity is considered inferior to that of BHT.
2) Butil-hidroxi-tolueno, known as BHT and numerically identified as E-321. Like the previous chemical additive, it is included in the food industry as a preservative. In the early 1970s, studies in mice showed that the addiction of this chemical preservative produces abnormalities in the fetal development of offspring from mothers supplemented with this additive. Today it is prohibited to use in food intended for human consumption, however, it is still used as an artificial preservative in pets.
3) Etoxiquina (E-324), preservative and antioxidant of pet food. One study demonstrated severe kidney disease in experimental rats, two years later the FDA decided to reduce the maximum permissible limits of this chemical preservative.
All these additives come from the oil industry, being highly effective in capturing free radicals responsible for the oxidation of fats and oils. That is why they are considered very good food preservatives, although they are still inexpensive chemical additives with applications also in the cosmetic industry.
Logically we should give our pets an increasingly natural and healthy diet, and within this trend would also include the additives added to their food. It does not make sense to administer a food containing the most natural nutrients and obviate the quantity and quality of chemical additives incorporated.
In search of alternatives to chemical preservatives, we find as example plant extracts or mixture of tocopherols, among others. These preservatives are naturally occurring, safe in animal feed and allowed by the FDA. Unfortunately, the cost to feed manufacturers of chemical additives is lower than that of adding natural preservative products to the food, which justifies the use being made of them in the animal feed industry.
Despite this, large pet food manufacturers seem to have heard the current market demand and the needs that owners claim in their dog's food. Many new pet food companies are emerging and all have a common denominator characterized by a composition as natural as possible and meticulously revised, without even neglecting the provenance of added additives.