Reader Question: Why is There Palm-Oil in My Dog's Food?
In the last decade, we have seen a consumer shift towards pet food products that contain no by-product meal, corn, wheat, or soy. The presence of these ingredients make pet owners feel uneasy. They are considered 'cheap fillers', made by companies who do not care about our pets, just profit. This is how the perception goes.
We should harangue these companies for trying to pull a fast one on us, absolutely. But simultaneously, we should also be outraged that purchasing the basic necessities for our animals can be directly linked to wildlife endangerment, human rights violations, and global warming. Palm-oil is surprisingly rampant in the pet food industry and we should be asking ourselves: Does my pet need palm-oil in his or her life? Is it an ingredient that benefits them in any way?
It may surprise you to learn that Nestle and Mars Incorporated, makers of Kit Kats and M&Ms, own some of the most popular pet food brands on the market, such as: Iams, Purina, Fancy Feast, Whiskas, Greenies, and Beneful. Both companies, though RSPO members, are guilty of using conflict palm-oil. Nestle Purina UK, who e-mailed us recently, stated they used 'a tiny fraction of palm-oil' from South East Asia and source ingredients that are 'certified and sustainable as recognized by the RSPO' As you may remember from some weeks back, this is little consolation to us.
To answer your question, the palm-oil in your dog's food acts primarily as a filler. It takes the form of glycerin and propylene glycol, sometimes even just pure palm-oil, and its inclusion is certainly not necessary or okay.
To personally avoid this issue, we make our dog food from scratch, including dog treats. However, I realize that this is not a possibility for all animal owners. Until we find a list of safe brands (two options below), continue to feed your pet as you would but bearing in mind these three points:
1 | The same rule for human food applies to your pets. If it's overly processed, like a cookie or a dog biscuit, then it likely has palm-oil. Check your pet products against this list to be safe.
2 | Treats with peanut butter are notorious for their use of palm-oil. These goods are often easy to replicate, with all-natural non-processed peanut butter at home.
3 | Brands that have not made the pledge to stop using wheat or corn meal, etc often have glycerin or propylene glycol in their treats or main kibble. This does not mean that 'all-natural' brands are safe too but it is a start.
P.S. If you live in the United Kingdom, Burns Pet Food is a palm-oil free company!