Glycerin (also referred to as glycerine or glycerol) is an odorless, colorless, liquid that is a byproduct of soap and biofuels production. Glycerin is added to pet foods and treats for several reasons: 1) as a sweetener, 2) as an ingredient binder, 3) to help keep the product soft and chewy, 4) to inhibit mold growth, and 5) as a yield enhancer.
Benefits | Risks of Glycerin
Many household products contain vegetable glycerin – lotions, shampoo, and toothpaste. It is added to these products because it is a humectant – a substance that attracts moisture to the skin.
In pet food production, glycerin’s ‘benefits’ are generally related to its properties as a binder, sweetener and yield enhancer. Although vegetable glycerin is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, it provides no known nutritional benefits to pets.
However, some pet food manufacturers are using glycerin that is derived from biofuel processing. Glycerin produced in this matter contains significant amounts of residual methanol (wood alcohol) and sodium. Methanol is a colorless, volatile, flammable, and poisonous liquid chemical. Its principal uses are as a fuel, solvent, and antifreeze. It is also used in the manufacturing of explosives. There is no research published on the use and safety of crude glycerin from biofuels in pet foods.
Glycerin: Cheaper Than Meat
Grass-Fed meat and organs are expensive ingredients to source. Some pet food manufacturers may be using glycerin as a low-cost way to increase yield. Since labels are required by law to list all ingredients in order of inclusion (highest to lowest, by weight), it’s possible to get a general idea of the amount of glycerin being used, in comparison to meat, by its position in the ingredient list. For example: Three current premium air-dried brands list glycerin as their 5th or 6th ingredient by weight.
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried Beef Recipe – 1st 8 ingredients (98% by weight): Beef, Beef Liver, Beef Kidney, Beef Heart, Beef Tripe, Beef Bone, Beef Lung, New Zealand Green Mussel. The remaining 2% includes small amounts of chicory inulin, dried kelp, sea salt, parsley and selected vitamins and minerals. Ziwi Air-Dried is naturally preserved with mixed tocopherols (vitamin E).
Ziwi Peak Air-Dried recipes contain everything your pets need to thrive, with no grains, no rendered meats or meals, no added antibiotics, hormones, or growth promotants, no added sugars, and NO GLYCERIN.