A Hidden Ingredient In Pet Food

May 11, 2014

The saying, “you are never too old to learn something new,” certainly applies to me. I thought I knew quite a lot about healthy ingredients in dog and cat food, but I recently learned something very important. In fact, it is so important that I will be going back and making changes on many pet food reviews on this site.

Many of us read about the problems that monosodium glutamate, or MSG, causes some humans. My husband used to suffer severe allergic reactions to some ingredient in food and several years went by before he discovered that MSG in some foods he ate was the major player. With all the media hype about 30 years ago, we learned to watch out for foods that contained MSG.

Recently, I learned that even though manufacturers were forced to remove MSG from baby food, it has since been re-added. In 1995, our government announced it to be safe for all. Because many Americans had decided to avoid MSG in foods, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) required that it be included on product ingredient lists. That worked well for human foods, but the FDA does not require it for pet foods.

MSG contributes to obesity in animals. It can triple a dog’s insulin levels and is a suspected neurotoxin, associated with chest pain, headaches, mood changes and other severe reactions. It is definitely not an additive that should be included in pet food.

MSG is one of several forms of free glutamate used in food. Free glutamate is created when proteins are broken down. The broken-down proteins then bond with the sodium in the food to create MSG. (http://thehydrantblog.com/2012/07/31/dog-food-and-the-hidden-msg/

Manufacturers are not dumb. They know that if people are avoiding MSG in their own food, they might also do so with what their beloved pets consume, even if it considered legal by the FDA.

MSG goes into most pet food in the form of hydrolyzed protein, which has been broken down into its amino acid components. (http://natureslogic.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-to-avoid-msg-in-pet-foods.html) This chemical breakdown results in the formation of free glutamate that joins with free sodium to form a sort of natural MSG. Manufacturers are not required to list it as an ingredient. (according to the FDA) AFFCO allows pet food companies to call it “natural flavors or natural flavoring.”

Along with being a flavor enhancer in food, MSG is addictive. It’s rather like eating potato chips. You can’t eat just one! Pet food manufacturers add MSG to their products to make them taste better. If dogs and cats love the food and feel that little “addiction” of wanting more, all the better.

There is almost no way to avoid MSG for your pets. It is sprayed from airplanes on fruits and vegetables, seeds, grains, and nuts – right on the plants as they grow. A product called AuxiGro, which contains both hydrolyzed protein and MSG is sprayed on foods we eat and into the air we breathe. Most all products have been approved for MSG treatment by the Environmental Protection Agency.

In our pets’ diets, commercial dog and cat foods contain MSG through grains, vegetables fruits, seeds and nuts, just as we humans do. It’s even found in dairy products. Great Dane breeders used to encourage me to feed cottage cheese to my Dane puppies, and I was unknowingly including MSG in the food.

I was really disappointed to see that even some of the high-end brands of cat and dog food include ingredients with MSG in their products. A pet food advertized as “all-natural” may not necessarily be so.

If it has been created by a physical process, such as solvent extraction, heating, distillation or enzyme action from plant or animal origin, it can be called a natural flavor,” regardless of any unintentional changes that occur in the resulting chemical structure.

If a food lists “natural flavors” as an ingredient, call the manufacturer and ask them to tell you exactly what ingredients make up those “natural flavors.”

The following ingredients often contain MSG or create MSG in processing:

*Citric Acid
*Corn Starch
*Anything Ultra-Pasteurized.

There are other common ways that MSG could be included in pet food. Look on the ingredients label on the package for:

*hydrolyzed protein
*hydrolyzed protein
*protein isolate
*texturized protein
*natural flavors (like chicken flavor)
*autolyzed yeast
*hydrolyzed yeast
*yeast extracts
*soy extracts or concentrate
*sodium caseinate
*calcium caseinate
*monopotassium glutamate
*glutamate or glutanic acid
*disodium inosinate or guaylate

http://vimeo.com/38632012 (Hungry for Change film)
A Consumer’s Dictionary of Food Additives, 7th edition, Ruth Winter, M.S.



Leave a Comment

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lara March 14, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Can it be that the animal digest contain MSG?


Carol North April 22, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Who knows? Since we have no way of knowing what is actually in animal digest, there is no way to be sure.


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