Inferior or controversial ingredient

Cassia gum in dog food

Cassia gum (E427 in human food, E499 in pet food) is widely used as a thickener in wet pet foods to enhance the strength of gelling agents. It is made from the seeds of the senna (also known as cassia) plant

Controversy

Cassia gum is probably the most controversial of the various thickeners used in pet food. It is regarded as a skin and respiratory sensitiser and as a potential irritant to skin and eyes [1] and has been found to be mutagenic to bacteria [2]. Despite these facts and the fact that the European Food Safety Authority has been "unable to establish its safety for cats and dogs" [2], cassia gum is somehow still allowed in pet food, although its inclusion must at least be declared on the label (be sure to also check the 'technological additives' section of the label).

According to our sources in wet pet food manufacturing, cassia gum is only ever used in conjunction with gelling agents, some of which are also controversial and do not need to be declared on the label.

As far as we're concerned, the potential risks of cassia gum far outweigh the benefits, so we would recommend giving it a wide berth.


References
  1. Scientific Opinion on the safety and efficacy of cassia gum for dogs and cats based on a dossier submitted by Intercolloid (UK) Ltd. European Food Safety Authority. 2014 https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/3901
  2. Safety of cassia gum as a feed additive for cats and dogs based on a dossier submitted by Glycomer GmbH. European Food Safety Authority. 2019 https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/efsajournal/pub/5528

Find foods containing Cassia gum See the full Ingredient Glossary

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