Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Study Finds Heavy Metals in Many Pet Foods

We all want to know what is in our pet’s food, especially in light of the frequent pet food recalls. The journal Spectroscopy recently published the article, Analysis of Toxic Trace Metals in Pet Foods…Part I.¹ Researchers tested 58 unidentified cat and dog foods, including canned and dry foods, with price ranging from budget to premium. They looked for 15 potentially harmful or toxic elements and found that many of the foods did contain elevated levels of these substances. Researchers pointed out possible sources of these toxins in some pet foods, including additives like synthetic Vitamin K, and minerals. Authors stated, “The essential minerals and other additives may contain significant concentrations of heavy metals.”

If a pet food claims to be “natural with added vitamins and minerals,” those vitamins and minerals are NOT natural. This statement is actually a disclaimer, required by The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). It alerts pet owners that the product contains synthetic nutrients.

All added vitamins, those not coming from the food itself, contain processing aids and carriers, and many also contain chemical preservatives. Corn oil, starch, sucrose, mineral oil, and gelatin are all used in processing synthetic vitamins. Examples of carriers used include corncobs and rice hulls. Sodium aluminum is a man-made, synthetic substance commonly used as an anti-caking agent. Many fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E, and K, often contain the chemical preservative BHT. The Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Vitamin D3, published by BASF which manufactures it ( shows that the synthetic vitamin also contains sucrose, gelatin, starch, sodium aluminocilicate, and BHT. Excessive levels of added synthetic Vitamin D3 were the reason for the October 2010 Blue Buffalo pet food recall.

Similarly, added minerals bring with them heavy metal contaminants such as arsenic, cadmium, lead, and mercury. These hidden ingredients are allowed in mineral supplements added to animal feed and pet foods. There are hundreds of examples and variations of these man-made mineral supplements, including sodium selenite, ethylenediamine dihydriodide, calcium carbonate, zinc oxide or zinc amino acid complex, copper proteinate, copper sulfate, iron oxide or iron proteinate, magnesium amino acid complex, potassium amino acid complex, and manganese amino acid complex. In an attempt to manage these contaminants, the AAFCO Official Publication has an entire chapter on “Contaminant Levels Permitted in Mineral Feed Ingredients:

The best way to avoid these unwanted ingredients is to feed your pets foods without added synthetic or man-made ingredients. Nature’s Logic is the only full-line, commercial pet food with no chemically-synthesized nutrients. All of the vitamins and minerals in our dry, canned and raw formulas are derived from food. This is the safest way to supply nutrients to pets. More information about pet food ingredients may be found at


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