Ethoxyquin is still a preservative in pet food. However, many people consider it too toxic to be in pet food. It is banned in Europe and Australia. It is not banned in America. Despite representations to the FDA by many experienced, sensible and intelligent people they have refused to ban it citing anecdotal evidence that it causes ‘degenerative diseases’ but no hard scientific link. The FDA relied on the manufacturers for the hard science (er…soft, biased science, sorry).
I am confused about ethoxyquin. It is very hard, through internet research, to check on ingredients in cat and dog food. This preservative is still used in the USA and perhaps in other countries. One reason is because its presence is ‘under the radar’. This is because producers of fish meal use it to preserve this pet food ingredient which is supplied to pet food manufacturers. As such there is no mention of it on the label. This is legal.
In 1990, Gloria Dodd DVM a retired vet with excellent knowledge of cat food, wrote to the FDA complaining about ethoxyquin. She refers to a ‘an epidemic of chronic degenerative diseases’ from the 1970s to the date she wrote her letter. She blamed modern pet food with toxic additives including ethoxyquin. By ‘degenerative diseases’ she means diseases which shorten a pet’s lifespan such as ‘allergies, congestive heart failure, arthritis, dermatitis, kidney failure, liver pathologies, diabetes, AIDS, tumors and cancer’. She was shocked by the shortened lifespans of American dogs.
“I remember, as a kid growing up in Nevada seeing Basque sheepherders with working dogs living to be 20-25 years of age…..Today, we are lucky to find dogs living to be 10 years old, and many of these suffering from various forms of chronic degenerative disease…”
In her letter she goes to discuss ethoxyquin, which gives pet food a lifespan of 25 years! Ironically, this is twice the lifespan of many dogs who have eaten it.
I am concerned about these hidden toxins which cause our cats and dogs to become ill. These toxins are everywhere in the house, not only in pet food – two examples: carpet chemical and fire resistant sofas.
How does one deal with ethoxyquin? If it is not listed on the label, how do we know if it is in the food? We don’t unless we do focused research online. However, it seems that it is listed as an ingredient, sometimes. For example, Hill’s, Iams and Purina, continue to list ethoxyquin as an ingredient in some of their products (do they still do this?). Do we avoid these products? Do you? It’s a bit strange that Hill’s prescription diet food contains a poison.
And many manufacturers have substituted these sorts of preservatives for ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and tocepherols (vitamin E).
Vetinfo.com kindly provides a list if foods which don’t contain ethoxyquin:
- Blue Buffalo
- By Nature Organics
- Flint River Ranch
- Humane Choice
- Natural Balance
- Natural Ultramix
- Newman’s Own
- Solid Gold
The problem appears to mainly affect dog food. Is the list above complete? Are there others? I am still confused and it ain’t old age 😉 There is a need for greater transparency in pet food labelling and a more ethical approach to ingredients.