Ethoxyquin is a preservative - antioxidant that many pet food manufacturers continue to use in their products despite potential risks. Antioxidants are a necessity and play a very important role in pet food. They prevent fat from turning rancid by oxidation and preserve certain vitamins. Fat spoilage would obviously decrease the nutritional quality of your pet's food and could even make it unsafe to eat.

Vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), Vitamin C, Citric Acid and Rosemary are widely available natural alternatives to ethoxyquin and other chemical preservatives. The reason a pet food manufacturer may choose to use ethoxyquin could be that natural preservatives are more expensive. Or, they provide a shelf life calculated in months, whereas chemical preservatives (ethoxyquin, BHA, BHT, propylene gallate) can have a shelf life of several years. Some companies have long defended the use of ethoxyquin citing FDA permission for limited use or inconclusive studies.  

History - The chemical, ethoxyquin was first developed in the 1950's by Monsanto; the same multi-million dollar company responsible for GMOs (or genetically modified organisms). Its original use was as a stabilizer for rubber. Modern use for ethoxyquin is as a pesticide, herbicide (Stop-Scald) and as a color preservative for paprika and chili powder. 

Other than the very small amounts used in certain spices, ethoxyquin is not permitted in any other human food products. The maximum allowable residue in eggs, meat, poultry, apples, pears, poultry fat and livers for human use is 0.5ppm (parts per million). In animal feeds, according to the FDA the maximum allowable concentration of ethoxyquin is 150ppm.  *In response to consumer complaints in the early 1990's, the FDA asked (not mandated) the pet food industry to voluntarily lower the allowable amount from 150 ppm to 75 ppm. 

Interestingly, ethoxyquin is also a grain preservative in livestock feed with the stipulation it cannot be used longer than two years - which just happens to coincide with the time frame of livestock slaughtering.  

Dangers of Ethoxyquin - Some of the reported dangers in pets are various cancers, allergic reactions, skin problems, thyroid dysfunction, still-borne births, behavior problems, liver and kidney problems. Ethoxyquin is also deadly to fish. Several studies have been conducted on the long term effects of ethoxyquin, yet the longest study to date that ATG is aware of has been a five year study that Monsanto, the inventor ran.

Pet owners expect their pets to live much longer than five years. One must consider the cumulative effects of artificial preservatives for 10-12 years on a DAILY basis.

Other Considerations - One of the most common pet food ingredients preserved with ethoxyquin is fishmeal. Fishmeal is a high oil product and a dangerous freight commodity capable of internal combustion. Many years ago applying ethoxyquin to fishmeal was an industry standard.

Fortunately, Naturox was developed and it is an all-natural free flowing antioxidant for use in the preservations of oils, fats, fat soluble vitamins, flavors, aromas, carotenoids and other oxygen-sensitive material.

It has been reported that pet food manufacturers are not required to list ingredients on the product label unless they specifically add it at their facility. Ingredient suppliers on the other hand, may have already added ethoxyquin as required by their company standards.

The only way to know what is in your pet's food is to READ THE INGREDIENT LABEL. If in doubt about the type of preservative used in fishmeal, call the pet food manufacturer directly. Ask them what kind of preservative their suppliers use in addition to what they use.

Pet food freshness is a very important health issue. The responsibility does not stop with the manufacturer or pet store. Once purchased, pet food must be stored properly to maintain optimal nutritional quality. To learn more, read The Open Bag.

Against The Grain Pet Nutrition is a company that does things differently. We are a small business that is excited about offering pet owners better choices in pet nutrition. We believe that choosing appropriate pet food (be it commercial, raw or home prepared) is the most important factor in any pet's preventative health, convalescence and longevity.  Our name - Against The Grain - reflects our strong passion to provide pet owners with the knowledge to make healthy decisions about pet care even if we go ‘against the grain' of popular thinking.

To contact us:
1024 County Road 109
Montevallo, AL 35115

Phone: 205-665-9026
Fax: 205-665-5683
[email protected]