Articles by Greg Aldrich, PhD

Soybean oil: Food industry staple right for petfood?

Currently limited to therapeutic and specialty petfoods, this high-quality ingredient could be used in a broader array of products
Soybean oil plays an infrequent and peripheral role in petfoods. This is somewhat surprising given its popularity in human foods and its prevalence on grocery store shelves alongside corn and canola oil.
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Yucca schidigera: Latin for odor-reducing petfood ingredient

Besides helping control fecal odor, this functional ingredient might have other nutritional and health benefits for pets
Periodically one finds an ingredient called Yucca schidigera extract on the label of a petfood—and not just on dog and cat food labels. You might even find it on ferret and rabbit food labels; and for those of you who consider your horse a pet, you may see it in horse feeds.
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Organ meats: quality source of protein for pets

Opening our minds to using organ meats expands our base of raw ingredients and supports nutritional quality of a complete pet diet
Organ meats have been called a multitude of names like viscera, entrails, tripe, paunch, offal and giblets. Despite the 18th-century monikers, they are the working internal organs, the guts, of the pig, chicken, cow, sheep or fish from which they derive.
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Pea proteins: Alternative protein source for petfoods?

Concentrate or isolate, pea proteins are good for nutritional fortification today and appear opportune for innovation in the future
The hunt continues for alternative ingredients to fuel the ever-increasing demand for new and different products to entice the discerning pet owner. Whether to fill the void after we dodge the negative perceptions of corn, soy, wheat, beef and by-products or as a matter of satisfying the burgeoning array of “limited ingredient” and “no grain” diet choices, finding the perfect new and different ingredient is always a challenge—especially when dietary protein levels are edging upward, perceived overages in minerals have been tightened and the availability of process functionality has declined.
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Lactic acid: magic bullet for petfood safety?

Natural, label friendly and well liked by cats and dogs, lactic acid is relatively easy to incorporate into pet diets for controlling microbial growth
With the advent of the Food Safety Modernization Act, manufacturers of extruded and baked petfood and pet treats feel like they have their necks under a knife’s edge. To some, that may seem overly dramatic, especially given the blade at their neck is held by the smallest of creatures: Salmonella.
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Betaine: natural ingredient for next generation of petfoods

In petfoods, betaine can provide a partial choline supply from beet juice
Betaine has become more common in pet diets in the last decade as natural and unique ingredients have become the driving force behind new petfoods. Betaine is a nearly pure chemical nutrient that hails from natural origins, and it certainly isn’t mainstream.
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Sodium bisulfate: multipurpose petfood ingredient

Though not nutritional, this functional food additive offers other significant benefits, especially for cats
In the world of petfood manufacturing, some ingredients are used that are not nutritional, by intent. Rather, their purpose is to enhance the nutritional value, flavor or stability of the food. Sodium bisulfate is just such a functional food additive that one might find in petfoods, especially cat diets.
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Olive oil: a benefit to pet health, too?

Does this key ingredient in the Mediterranean diet for humans translate to pets?
Olive oil, and especially extra virgin olive oil, is all the rage on cooking shows and at finer dining establishments these days. It seems that good news regarding the benefits of olive oil for our health and wellness emerges almost daily. So it stands to reason that people would want to explore this ingredient for use in pet diets.
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The formulator’s dilemma: how processing affects pet nutrition

Better understanding of processing influences allows you to turn the art of nutrient fortification into more of a science
Thermal processing—also known as cooking—of petfoods provides a number of benefits, including convenience, enhanced flavor and texture, improved consistency, pathogen control and decreased spoilage. However, extensive processing can increase variability, destroy essential nutrients and create unwholesome by-products. From a formulator’s perspective, this creates a dilemma regarding how to assure the diet is sufficiently fortified while avoiding excess after accounting for processing effects.
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Sodium selenite: Does this petfood ingredient warrant concern?

After decades of safe use, critics of the petfood industry have planted seeds of doubt and confusion about this essential ingredient
Selenium is an essential trace mineral for dogs and cats. Due to wide variation in selenium content among ingredients used to make petfoods, most manufacturers will include a supplemental source in their trace mineral premix. The predominant form used in petfood is sodium selenite, which has been used for decades without much issue.
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