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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This column is usually reserved for a review of the various features of a specific ingredient used in petfoods. But this issue, the focus is on a class of contaminants that periodically find their way into food and feed for humans and animals.
When balancing the macro-mineral portion of a petfood, calcium and phosphorus are usually the first priority, magnesium seldom requires adjustment, and sodium and chloride, if inadequate, are easily met with a pinch of salt (sodium chloride). All that remains is potassium.
Pea fiber can be found in an increasing number of petfoods, especially in the premium, holistic and alternative format products. This ingredient is relatively new to petfoods and may be a strategic addition to counteract a growing consumer discontent with beet pulp and an absolute resistance to any of the functional fibers derived from wheat (e.g., bran), corn (corn bran) or soy (soyhulls)—all commonly perceived as cheap fillers. While this impression about the functional utility of these standard fibers is a long way from the truth, it certainly underscores that consumer perception rules the day.
Rye is a fairly common ingredient in human foods and beverages. The most prevalent occurrence is in crackers and breads. Be it a light American rye, a dark German rye, heavy whole-grain pumpernickel rye or a slightly bitter rye with caraway, rye gets its share of notoriety in baked goods.