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What are BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin?

In general, foods will spoil without some form of temperature control or preservatives. BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin are chemical antioxidants designed to extend the shelf life and reduce fat spoilage (rancidity) of pet foods and pet treats. Chemical additives and artificial preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin may cause dry skin, allergic reactions, dental disease, and poor health, as well as stimulate adverse effects on liver and kidney functions.

Specifically, BHA, short for Butylated Hydroxyanisole, and BHT, Butylated Hydroxytoluene, are both artificial preservatives added to oils to slow down deterioration. BHA and BHT (as well as ethoxyquin) are used in numerous pet food brands, including both "premium-grade" brands like Science Diet (even their prescription diet product line) and lower-grade brands like Alpo and Pedigree, to replace vitamin E, which is removed during oil processing. Studies have shown that BHA and BHT promote liver disease and other medical problems.

Ethoxyquin is a chemical preservative – and possible carcinogenic – regulated by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration) as a pesticide. While ethoxyquin cannot be used in human foods, it continues to be used in many pet food brands. Ethoxyquin has been found to promote kidney carcinogenesis and significantly increase the incidence of stomach tumors and enhanced bladder carcinogesis, according to several studies, including a recent one by The Department of Pathology, Nagoya City University Medical School, Japan.

Did You Know?
Under a typical pet food diet, the average dog (44 lbs) can consume 26 lbs of preservatives a year!
The FDA currently allows only a trace amount of ethoxyquin residue (.5 to 5 ppm) in human consumed foods, yet it allows high amounts (150 ppm) to be used in pet food and livestock feeds. Of note, in 1997, the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) made a request to manufacturers of ethoxyquin and the pet food industry to voluntarily lower ethoxyquin residue in pet foods to 75 parts per million (ppm). To date, there is still no mandatory requirement to meet the voluntary request.

Note: Rather than listing it as an ingredient on the packaging, some dog food manufacturers simply print "E" to represent ethoxyquin.

All Flint River Ranch pet foods and pet treats are Guaranteed Free of BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin. Flint River Ranch uses tocopherols, a natural antioxidant and Vitamin E source that slows the oxidation process of fats and oils, to ensure its premium pet food products remain fresh as in their initial state.

FAQs: Pet Nutrition and Pet Food Ingredients

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