True Cellular Formulas Team - October 12, 2023

Dangers of Ethoxyquin in Pet Foods

The Dietary Transformation of Our Pets

Dangers of Ethoxyquin in Pet Foods

In the past few decades, the dietary landscape for our pets has experienced a significant transformation. Gone are the days when our furry friends thrived on fresh scraps or homemade delicacies. The modern era has ushered in a dependence on commercial pet foods, with kibble and canned varieties reigning supreme in most households. Yet, as we've made this transition, there's been a distressing upsurge in health anomalies. The startling rise in chronic degenerative diseases among pets has spurred a pressing question: What exactly are we feeding our beloved companions?

What is Ethoxyquin?

Originally crafted as a stabilizer to prevent rubber degradation, ethoxyquin is a synthetic antioxidant.[1] Its remarkable antioxidant prowess soon led to its use as a preservative, first in preserving the vibrancy of spices and later in inhibiting fat spoilage in animal feeds. As commercial pet foods gained traction, ethoxyquin became a staple, celebrated for its ability to prolong shelf life and preserve the nutritional integrity of the food. However, as its popularity soared, so did apprehensions about its health repercussions for the pets consuming it.[1]

The Epidemic of Chronic Degenerative Diseases

It's an unsettling trend: more and more pets are being diagnosed with a range of chronic diseases, from debilitating arthritis to life-threatening tumors.[2] The laundry list of ailments also includes generalized allergies, dermatitis, congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and liver pathologies, among others. While it's recognized that a multitude of factors could contribute to these health issues, the timing is hard to ignore.

The spike in these diseases seems to coincide with the rise in popularity of commercial pet foods, many of which contain preservatives such as ethoxyquin.[1] This correlation has caused a stir among veterinarians, researchers, and concerned pet owners, prompting an imperative call for deeper research and understanding.

The Australian Difference

Across the globe in Australia, a contrasting narrative unfolds. For years, the majority of Australian pets enjoyed diets abundant in fresh meat. In stark contrast, North American pets were primarily nourished with commercial kibbles and canned foods. The outcome of these dietary choices became evident in the overall health profiles of pets from these regions. Australian pets showcased robust bones, well-toned muscles, and a reduced incidence of the chronic diseases plaguing North American pets. This glaring disparity fuels a compelling debate: Does the commercialization of pet diets, especially those with potential additives like ethoxyquin, compromise the health and longevity of our pets?[3]

The Hidden Presence of Ethoxyquin

Perhaps one of the most disconcerting revelations for pet owners is the concealed presence of ethoxyquin in many commercial pet foods.[1] Although you might meticulously scan ingredient lists to ensure the best for your pet, ethoxyquin often lurks in the shadows, unmentioned. How is this possible? The loophole lies in the regulatory framework. While pet food manufacturers might not directly add ethoxyquin to their products, ingredient suppliers often do. Consequently, despite its absence on the label, this controversial preservative might still be a component of the finished product. This obscurity poses a significant challenge for consumers seeking transparency and honesty in pet food labeling.

A Dark History 

Based on historical records from the Environmental Protection Agency's Pesticide Registration,Ethoxyquin was a creation of Monsanto in the 1950s.[4] Notably, Monsanto was also responsible for the production of Glyphosate, which stands as North America's top-selling pesticide and has been designated by the World Health Organization as "likely having carcinogenic effects on humans.”[5] A report by Fortune mentions that Monsanto, presently a subsidiary of Bayer Corporation, is in verbal discussions to address a significant number of the approximately 125,000 US cancer-related lawsuits concerning its Roundup® herbicide.[6] These legal actions largely revolve around allegations that Roundup® led to the development of Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in some of its users.

Ethoxyquin's initial registration in 1965 labeled it as a pesticide, intended to prevent scalding in pears following indoor post-harvest treatment. Documents on toxicity by the Environmental Protection Agency reveal that ethoxyquin primarily impacts the liver and kidneys when tested on animals.[7]

FDA's Stance

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays a pivotal role in safeguarding the health of both humans and pets. However, when it comes to ethoxyquin in pet foods, the agency's response has been somewhat muted. Although aware of the concerns surrounding ethoxyquin, the FDA has yet to enforce stringent labeling requirements or demand increased transparency from manufacturers[8]. This stance, or lack thereof, leaves countless pet owners navigating a murky terrain, uncertain of the true contents of their pets' food and the potential risks associated with it. The call for more decisive action from regulatory bodies grows louder each day, as pet owners strive to ensure the utmost well-being of their cherished companions.

Implications for Pet Owners

In the midst of these revelations, pet owners find themselves facing a dilemma. The health and well-being of our pets are paramount, and the possibility of compromising their health due to hidden ingredients is deeply troubling. For many, it's a wake-up call to become more proactive and informed. But what does this mean in practical terms?

  • Awareness and Education: Owners are encouraged to educate themselves about the ingredients in pet foods and understand the nuances of the regulatory environment.
  • Advocacy: By voicing concerns and demanding transparency from manufacturers and regulators, pet owners can drive a change in the industry.
  • Alternatives: Many are exploring alternative diets for their pets, such as fresh, homemade meals or trusted organic brands that emphasize transparency and natural ingredients.


Our pets enrich our lives in countless ways, providing companionship, love, and moments of sheer joy. They depend on us for their well-being, and it's our responsibility to ensure they receive the best. As concerns around ethoxyquin and other additives in pet food come to the fore, it underscores the need for greater transparency, rigorous research, and, most importantly, an informed and proactive community of pet owners. It's a collective call to action for better standards, healthier choices, and a brighter future for our four-legged friends.

  1. Błaszczyk, Alina et al. “Ethoxyquin: An Antioxidant Used in Animal Feed.” International journal of food science vol. 2013 (2013): 585931. doi:10.1155/2013/585931
  2. Medicine, Center for Veterinary. “Osteoarthritis in Cats: More Common than You Think.” U.S. Food and Drug Administration, FDA, 
  3. Wall, Tim. “Australia Feeds More Raw Pet Food; Canada Conventional.” Petfood Industry, 25 Sept. 2020,
  4. E. (2004, November). EPA R.E.D. facts. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from
  5. [3]IARC monograph on Glyphosate. (n.d.). Retrieved May 12, 2020, from
  6. Feely, J. et al. (2020, May 25) Bayer Reaches Verbal Deal to Settle Up to 85,000 RoundUp Cancer Lawsuits. Retrieved May 31, 2020, from
  7. E. (2004, November). EPA R.E.D. facts. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from
  8. Medicine, C. (2017, June 11). Labeling and use of Ethoxyquin in animal feed. Retrieved May 12, 2020, from /animal-veterinary/ingredients-additives/labeling-and-use-ethoxyquin-animal-feed

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