A Cheat Sheet for Identifying Additives and Preservatives in Pet Food

Here’s a quick cheat sheet for how to recognize those obscure ingredients on the pet food label.  AAFCO (the regulatory organization for animal feed that works with the FDA) has put restrictions or limitations on some of these ingredients because of health risks.  Be cautious, however.  Just because there are no restrictions on other ingredients doesn’t mean they’re safe.  Propylene glycol (a kin of antifreeze and de-icers) for instance, has GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status for use in pet food.  MSG is also unregulated. For more detailed information you may like to read our Newsletter or our Where’s the Beef blog post.

Name: What is it? Limits/Restrictions
Aluminum Sulfate Additive for anti gelling Yes
Asorbic Acid Chemical Preservative No
Ascorbyl palmitate Chemical Preservative No
Attapulgite Clay Additive for anti-caking Yes
Ball Clay Additive (prohibited) Yes
Benzoic acid Chemical Preservative No
Butylated hydroxyl anisole (BHA) Chemical Preservative Yes
Butylated hydroxyl toluene (BHT) Chemical Preservative Yes
Calcium Aluminates Additive – pellet binder Yes
Calcium ascorbate Chemical Preservative No
Calcium propionate Chemical Preservative No
Calcium Silicate Additive – anti-caking Yes
Calcium sorbate Chemical Preservative No
Calcium Stearate Additive – anti-caking Yes
Carrageenan Additive – emulsifier/stabilizer/thickener Yes
Citric Acid Chemical Preservative No
Chondrus extract Additive – stabilizer No
Diacetyl tartaric acid (esters of mono & diglycerides of edible fats or oils Additive – emulsifier No
Diatomaceous Earth Additive – carrier & anti-caking Yes
Disodium EDTA Additive – solubililzer Yes
Dilauryl thiodipropionate Chemical Preservative Yes
Distearyl thiodipropionate Chemical Preservative Yes
Erythrobic acid Chemical Preservative No
Ethyl Cellulose Additive – binder or filler N/A
Ethoxylated mono & diglycerides Additive – Emulsifier Yes
Ethoxyquin Chemical Preservative Yes
Fumaric Acid Additive – ph adjuster, flavoring agent Yes
Gellan gum Additive – stabilizer, thickener Yes
Glucono-delta-lactone Additive – PH control agent No
Glycyrrhizin ammoniated Additive – spices, seasonings No
Guar Gum Additive – stabilizer No
Hydrophobic Silica Additive – anti-caking Yes
Iron Ammonium Citrate Additive – anti-caking in salt Yes
Kaolin Additive – anti-caking Yes
Lecithin Additive – stabilizer No
Locust bean gum Additive – stabilizer No
Magnesium Stearate Lubricant in tableting process No
Methyl Glucoside Additive – Sufactant in molasses Yes
Methylparaben Chemical Preservative Yes
Mineral Oil Additive – dust reducer, lubricant, moisture barrier Yes
Mono & diglycerides of edible fats/oils Additive – emulsifier No
Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) Additive – emulsifier No
Monosodium phosphate derivatives of Mono & diglycerides of edible fats/oils Additive – emulsifier No
Montmorillonite Additive – emulsifier Yes
Paraffin Additive – dust control Yes
Petrolatum Additive – dust reducer, lubricant, moisture barrier Yes
Petroleum Jelly Additive – dust control Yes
Polyethylene Glycol (mono & dioleate) Additive – processing aid used with molasses Yes
Polyoxyethylene Glycol Additive – Emulsifier Yes
Polysorbate 80 Additive – Emulsifier Yes
Polysorbate 60, (Polyoxy ethylene 20 or sorbitan monostearate) Additive – Emulsifier Yes
Potassium bisulfate Chemical Preservative Yes
Potassium metabisulfite Chemical Preservative Yes
Potassium sorbate Chemical Preservative No
Propionic acid Chemical Preservative No
Propyl gallate Chemical Preservative Yes
Propylene Glycol Additive – Emulsifier GRAS – except in cat food
Propylparaben Chemical Preservative Yes
Pyrophylite Additive – anti-caking, binder, pelletizer Yes
Resin guaiac (guaiac gum) Chemical Preservative Yes
Saccharin Sodium Additive – sweetener GRAS
Stearic Acid Additive – lubricant/binder for tablets/pellets Yes
Sodium ascorbate Chemical Preservative No
Sodium benzoate Chemical Preservative Yes
Sodium bisulfate Chemical Preservative & general purpose additive Yes
Sodium carboxymethylcellulose Additive – stabilizer Yes
Sodium metabisulfite Chemical Preservative Yes
Sodium nitrite Chemical Preservative Yes
Sodium propionate Chemical Preservative No
Sodium stearoyl lactylate Additive – emulsifier Yes
Sodium sorbate Chemical Preservative No
Sodium sulfite Chemical Preservative Yes
Sorbic acid Chemical Preservative No
Sorbitan mono-stearate (withOr without Polysorbate 60) Additive – emulsifier No
Stannous chloride Chemical Preservative Yes
Sulfur dioxide Chemical Preservative Yes
Talc Additive – die lubricant Yes
Tara Gum Additive – thickener, stabilizer Yes
Titanium dioxide Additive – food coloring Yes
Tertiary butyl hydroquinone (TBHQ) Chemical Preservative Yes
Thiodipropionic acid Chemical Preservative Yes
Tocopherols Chemical Preservative No
Urea Additive – feed coating Yes
Xantham Gum Additive – stabilizer, emulsifier, thickener Yes
Yellow prussiate of soda Additive – anti-caking Yes
Yucca Schidigera Additive – flavoring agent Yes
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About Amy Renz

Amy is the CEO and Pack Leader of Goodness Gracious, LLC (www.GoodnessGraciousTreats.com) and we save lives. We make healthy 100% human-grade, USDA certified, USA sourced dog and cat treats, and give 51% of our profits to local animal shelters, rescues and spay/neuter programs in communities where our treats are sold. Our products include single-ingredient jerky and gluten free biscuits that pets love, and parents love to give. Amy is a Marathoner, a slalom skier, but first a parent to her pack of three beautiful canines. Find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/goodnessgracioustreats www.GoodnessGraciousTreats.com www.run4rescue.org Twitter @Goodnssgracious
This entry was posted in Animal Health, Dog nutrition, Dogs, Pet food, Pet Nutrition, Pet treats, Pet Treats and Supplies and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Cheat Sheet for Identifying Additives and Preservatives in Pet Food

  1. Lois says:

    I am thankful that there are people looking out for pet owners and what is in their pets food. However when the research is being presented by a company that makes and sells dog food how can we be sure that these ingriedients are as bad as they say they are in the doses in the dog food?

    • Amy Renz says:

      Hi Lois,
      Thank you for commenting and for your caution – which is always well placed when considering what our beloved companions eat. This post in particular was sourced from AAFCO’s official publication. AAFCO is the body of feed control officials that works with the FDA to establish rules and regulations on animal feed (including pet food). You can buy this publication for yourself at http://www.aafco.org/Publications/PublicationListing.aspx

      Now, I’m not a huge fan of AAFCO in its current form, as it is controlled by industry. By “industry” I mean the BIG 5 pet food companies that own 85% of the global market, as well as their big suppliers. These are BILLION dollar organizations and include Mars, Purina, Proctor & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive (Hill’s), and Del-Monte. If you want to learn more about AAFCO, from an outsider’s/advocate’s perspective then I suggest reading the blog by Susan Thixton: http://www.truthaboutpetfood.com. She just returned from AAFCO’s annual meeting and has some keen insight into how “industry” controls what our pets eat, and how they ain’t lookin’ out for them.

      These Big 5 Guys I mentioned wouldn’t like a word of my blog posts. But to them, I’m likely just a gnat. I’m one woman, who was inspired by her dogs and her life experiences to create a healthy treat company that gives back. But I have the “ovum” to say what I say without hiding behind anyone or anything. I put my company’s name on what I write because I believe fully in helping others like me make good choices when it comes to their beloved companion’s health. I don’t know of any other pet treat company whose owner/founder/CEO has the fearlessness (or perhaps stupidity – who knows) to “out” the practices of manufacturers in her industry. But I do know of a handful of very good pet food companies, like Goodness Gracious, who put our pet’s health first.

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