Interesting......Straight from the manufacturer's site.
Wheat Flour, Wheat Bran, Meat and Bone Meal, Milk, Wheat Germ, Beef Fat (Preserved with BHA), Salt, Natural Flavor, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Brewers Dried Yeast, Malted Barley Flour, Sodium Metabisulfite (Used as a Preservative), Choline Chloride, Minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Niacin Supplement, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement), BHA (used as a preservative).
Meat and Bone Meal :
AAFCO definition "is the rendered product from mammal tissues, including bone, exclusive of any added blood, hair, hoof, horn, hide trimmings, manure, stomach and rumen contents". This ingredient was associated with pentobarbital (thus a euthanized animal) by FDA testing.
Natural Flavor :
Here’s what the FDA has to say about natural flavors:
"With respect to flavors, pet foods often contain digests, which are materials treated with heat, enzymes and/or acids to form concentrated natural flavors. Only a small amount of a "chicken digest" is needed to produce a "Chicken Flavored Cat Food, even though no actual chicken is added to the food."
What this means is that as long as the flavor comes from some plant, animal, or even mined source, a dog food company can call it natural, as long as it produces the chemical flavor naturally. In many cases, this means that the manufacturer has extracted flavors from animal products or even chemically produced it, concentrated it, and then added it to the dog food.
Read Between the lines :
As you can see, when a dog food says "Made with Natural Flavors," you can’t be entirely sure what that’s claiming. You can check the content label, but there you might only find the listing "Natural Flavors," without any indication of what that means. In fact, many pet food makers use "proprietary" flavorings, flavors they developed themselves, whose ingredients they’re not obligated to detail on the packaging.
To muddy the waters even more, the FDA tells us that "artificial flavors are rarely used in pet foods." Thus, the declaration of "All Natural" on dog food labels is often redundant since one food is as likely to use "natural flavors" as another, making a large number of the pet foods on the market "All Natural."
So what can you, the dog owner and consumer, do to make sure that you are feeding your dog only the most natural foods? You can either make your own dog food, a time consuming choice for most folks, or purchase a high quality food from a food manufacturer that you have experience with and trust. In addition, you can always talk to your vet about the specifics of a food you’re buying, or thinking of.
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) & butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) :
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydrozyttoluene (BHT) are antioxidants used to preserve pet & human foods by preventing oxidization. They both keep fats and oils from going rancid and are found commonly found in less expensive pet foods as well as food for humans like cereals, chewing gum, potato chips, etc. There is a definite concern that they may cause cancer. There are studies that indicate the structure of BHA and BHT will change during this process of preserving food and may form a compound that cause adverse reactions. Apparently BHA and BHT are not stable or inert and they do not just hang out and then get excreted. While manufacturers use this as a cheap preservative, there may be the potential risk to some animals and some people for cancer.
Dicalcium Phosphate : It is used to add texture to food but it has so many problems including...
1) It is non-hygroscopic by nature (meaning it will not absorb water). Therefore, it is nearly "insoluble" and contribute to soft tissue calcification.
2) It contains inorganic calcium which is clearly not even remotely close to the best sources of the element.
3) It is a possible cause of kidney stones according to some studies
4) It is a definite alkalizer which can hinder the absorption of minerals.
5) It is works against other minerals such as manganese.
Sodium Bisulfate :
Menadione Sodium Bisulfate is a synthetic version of vitamin K. You'll see it within the fine print of many pet food ingredient lists. In addition, of course, it's not as simple to find as it should be. Some pet food ingredient lists will say 'menadione', some will say 'sodium bisulfate', and some will mention vitamin K3 in parenthesis -- and these are just a few of the possible variations you have to look for.
This ingredient is added to pet foods and treats as an inexpensive source of vitamin K. In people, deficiencies of vitamin K can lead to blood clotting, particularly in the stomach, and can lead to intestinal complications. An example in reference to pets, veterinarians will administer an injection of K1 (not the synthetic K3) to a pet who has consumed a rat poison which causes internal bleeding. Food sources of natural vitamin K (K1) are green leafy vegetables; which are not on the 'top ten' list of many pets. Pet food ingredients that could provide natural sources of vitamin K are alfalfa and kelp. However, as you probably have figured out, synthetic vitamin K or menadione is a great deal less expensive than the natural sources of alfalfa and kelp.
Knowing that a pet food company would opt for a synthetic ingredient in contrast to a natural ingredient is bad enough, but it goes one step further on the 'bad scale' with Menadione Sodium Bisulfate. This ingredient can be highly toxic in high doses. Hazard information regarding menadione lists "carcinogenic effects" and states "the substance is toxic to kidneys, lungs, liver, mucous membranes. Repeated or prolonged exposure to the substance can produce target organs damage." (http://www.sciencelab.com/xMSDS-Menadione sodium bisulfite-9924604) More information on menadione sodium bisulfate and pets can be read at (http://www.dogfoodproject.com/index.php?page...) .
With the science based information available on this ingredient, there is no sound reason for menadione to be considered as a pet food or pet treat ingredient other than being a big money saver for a pet food company. AAFCO and the FDA have no restrictions to the use of menadione in pet foods, and the pet food can even proudly claim 'Natural' on the label even if it contains this un-natural ingredient. Look at the fine print of your pet's food and treats for menadione; sources of natural vitamin K (alfalfa and kelp) seem to be a far better option.
When you see anything hydrochloride, such as Pyridoxine Hydrochloride or Thiamin Hydrochloride, those are chemical forms of B vitamins that companies add to their products to be able to claim higher RDA values of vitamins. But these are synthetic, chemical forms of vitamins, not real vitamins from foods or plants. Nutritionally, they are near-useless and may actually be bad for you. Also watch out for niacinamide and cyanocobalamin (synthetic vitamin B-12).
Butylated hydroxyanisole :
Better known as BHA "” is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" (a cancer-causing agent). According to the National Institute of Health, BHA in the diet has been found to consistently produce certain types of tumors in laboratory animals. And the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment of the state of California lists BHA under "Chemicals Known to the State to Cause Cancer or Reproductive Toxicity". Yet FDA regulations still permit its use as a fat preservative in food under the assumption it is "generally recognized as safe" in low doses.
The same potentially toxic substance added to a commercial dog food, and fed every day (sometimes twice a day) year after year is a different matter.
It’s that cumulative exposure that is worrisome. The additive effect of using any artificial preservative relentlessly, especially when it’s suspected of causing cancer.
Sources : http://www.dogfoodproject.com