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


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.

  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
  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

Find foods containing Cassia gum See the full Ingredient Glossary


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gelmaster one year ago

This article does not reflect the correct situation regarding Cassia gum. EFSA could not establish the safety of semi-refined Cassia (the reasons are complicated and would need a lot of explanation), however, PURIFIED semi-refined Cassia gum, which is also a food additive (E 427), was concluded to be safe and is allowed in the EU.

Actually, Cassia gum is one of the few re-evaluated gelling agents until today in the EU and was evaluated by experts for animal nutrition in a process over years. This additive is absolutely safe, it is of purely natural (plant) origin and not digested by animals or humans.

And finally, it is one of the most transparent feed additives, because it must always be labeled and the amount is limited. If nothing is labeled, I would be more concerned about what the technological ingredients are.

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