Friday, October 19, 2012

Plastic Coated Kibble?

Plastic Coated Pet Food Kibble? Written By: Susan Thixton 9-21-2012

Hill's Pet Nutrition has announced they are reformulating their pet foods, but don't get too hopeful. A newly approved patent acquired by Hill's might be adding plastic (low density polyethylene) to pet foods real soon.

From a press release posted on the PetFoodIndustry.com website "Hill’s Pet Nutrition will reformulate its Science Diet dogs and cat foods to add more natural ingredients." What's interesting, Hill's states they "made the decision to reformulate the Science Diet petfoods because some consumers were making product choices based primarily on a set criteria for ingredients, rather than the overall promise of nutrition and clinical research." I interpret this statement as 'we are going to reformulate our pet foods based on what will sell, not on the science we've believed in for years.'

At the same time as this product reformulation, Hill's Pet Nutrition has been provided with a patent for "a composition comprising a physically discrete pet food oral intake composition with a physically stable film..."

This patent...invention is "a method for increasing the shelf life...or protects the composition from bacterial growth..." "For example these include a dry pet food comprising kibbles, bits, any other discrete materials, solid treat, supplements and the like, and even "chunks" in a chunk and gravy wet diet assuming the film can be properly applied to the chunk in the food processing and remain stable in the liquid environment of the container."

Further quotes from the patent (bold added): "The chemical used in coating the pet food is a polymer which should be physically stable during the process of its application and also stable during its lifetime on the pet food composition surface while being subjected to any further processing steps. Examples of these polymers include zein, casein, starch(es), cellulose(s), gum(s), gelatin, starch/synthetic polymer(s), e.g starch/low density polyethylene, and the like."

What is low density polyethylene? From the Polymer Science Learning Center: "Polyethylene is the most popular plastic in the world. This is the polymer that makes grocery bags, shampoo bottles, children's toys, and even bullet proof vests." (Bullet proof pet food?) Polyethylene with long chains or branched polyethylene - low-density polyethylene - "is cheaper and easier to make." Read the entire article

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