Greg Aldrich, PhD

Greg Aldrich, PhD

Dr. Aldrich is president of Pet Food & Ingredient Technology Inc. He is also the author of Petfood Industry magazine's monthly column, "Ingredient Insights."

ARTICLES

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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Is ‘natural’ glycerin a good petfood ingredient?

Confusion over this ingredient may be arising from the entry of a new supply stream into the market
In the past several months, a recurring question from manufacturers of treats and semi-moist petfoods has come up: “Can we use ‘natural’ glycerin in our foods?” The quick answer is yes, but why are they asking this? There seems to be confusion creeping into the market; maybe some sort of controversy is brewing about glycerin.
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Plasma: thermoplastic gel with pet health benefits

Plasma is a high-quality, natural component that should be considered a valuable part of a dog or cat diet
To the couch potato, the word “plasma” likely conjures up thoughts of a new television; to Trekkies, it’s the high-energy gaseous field the USS Enterprise has to traverse periodically. In other words, the term by itself doesn’t necessarily conjure up a yuck factor.
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Niacin: key compound in pets’ metabolism

Also known as vitamin B3, this ingredient is vital for healthy maintenance of pets' nervous tissues, GI tracts and skin functions
Niacin was the third B vitamin to be identified as a dietary essential for its role in treating the deficiency disease “black tongue” in dogs and a disease with a similar etiology, pellagra, in humans. The discovery was tied to pets and humans consuming diets nearly monopolized by grains and deficient in quality proteins.
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Salmon: nutrient-rich petfood ingredient

Wild caught or farm raised, salmon offers a source of digestible protein and omega-3 fatty acids for pet diets
Salmon, the supposed “last wild food” (Greenberg, 2010), has become very popular in petfoods. This may simply be marketing; however, there is some nutritional credence to the hype.
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Riboflavin: golden yellow heart of a pet’s metabolism

A key nutrient, riboflavin (vitamin B2) lies at the very heart of a dog or cat’s metabolism and health
Riboflavin (vitamin B2) is one of those vitamins we don’t hear much about in petfood production. Unlike with several other vitamins, the requirement for dogs and cats has been relatively well researched, it hasn’t been implicated in unfounded controversy and petfood manufacturers fortify foods to the necessary level with relative ease.
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Bones: a not-so-novel source of essential pet nutrients

Niche categories as well as conventional petfoods increasingly depend on bone to meet many pet nutrient needs.
In human foods, bones have long been a staple for making ingredients like soup stock and gelatin; however, people don’t often eat bones directly. Rather, any bone that lands on our plates as a function of eating a steak, drumstick or chop often ends up being discarded or shared with the family pets.
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Bisphenol A: incidental non-ingredient

For petfood, the issue is its use in the epoxy resin that lines the inside of cans
In the production of petfoods—no different than human foods—there are a number of compounds that make their way into the food that aren’t a part of the formula/recipe or stated on the ingredient listing. This is nothing underhanded or disingenuous, merely a function of the process, package and regulations.
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Guar gum’s invisible presence in petfood

Found in nearly every brand of wet petfood, this ingredient is a real behind-the-scenes aid to the canning process
Guar gum is a common, but nearly invisible, ingredient in petfoods. It is found in almost every brand of wet petfood, whether marketed at a farm-and-fleet, grocery, big-box, indie or boutique store. However, you won’t find this ingredient on the shelf by itself at your local grocery, and it has low recognition with consumers.
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Tapioca: A novel starch source for petfood

This ingredient has become especially prevalent in no-grain and elimination diets
In the search for more novel ingredients to use in petfood, a new starch source, tapioca, has begun to find its way into some specialty foods. This ingredient has become especially prevalent in no-grain and “elimination” diets.
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