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Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27280 09/29/05 12:15 AM
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Since this is such a hot topic, and I am clearly in the minority opinion, I did a little bit of research as to what popular bird seed manufacturers had to say about ethoxyquin. I will give you an abridged opinion by Kaytee since their response was lengthy and none of you use Kaytee anyway. But I will also include the response from Roudybush that is accessible on their web site, and I even e-mailed 8in1 and they wrote back.

Kaytee
Antioxidants serve several functions in a diet. Of most importance to long term health is preventing the formation of hydroperoxides and free radicals, compounds that damage the cell's structure and possibly result in neoplasia (cancer). Of short term concern, antioxidants prevent fat oxidation (rancidity). Rancidity creates off-flavors and off-odors, which dramatically decrease palatability and food consumption. Antioxidants also prevent the destruction of several nutrients. They provide direct protection to a number of vitamins that are unstable to the effects of oxygen, and indirectly, they prevent nutrient destruction caused by rancid fat's highly reactive free radicals. Fat rancidity and vitamin destruction can occur very quickly without an appropriate antioxidant present.
Natural antioxidants such as ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and vitamin E or other related tocopherols are effective antioxidants but are relatively short lived when compared to the chemical antioxidants. Due to the realities of the pet food distribution system and the relatively low volumes and slow use of exotic bird foods, the time interval between manufacturing a product and feeding it may be beyond the effective life of a natural antioxidant. If the product could be produced and consumed within a few months, natural antioxidants may be practical. However, since this time frame cannot be guaranteed, it is prudent to use the more stable chemical antioxidants for this critical function.
Approximately 400 birds at the Kaytee Avian Research Center were maintained at F.D.A. approved levels of ethoxyquin (20% higher than the normal use level) for a period of five years with no unusual neoplastic activity observed. In canines, the most ethoxyquin sensitive species known, levels of approximately four times the approved use levels are required to induce cellular changes indicative of the onset of cancer. Monitoring has been continued at the lower, recommended level for an additional 11 years (16 years in total) without any negative results.
For the last 11 years, over 4,000 exotic birds (100+ species) have been fed recommended levels of ethoxyquin and been monitored (blood chemistry, CBC, etc.) by veterinarians at the Avian Research Center. Any mortality experience in the flock has been specifically evaluated by histopathology for ethoxyquin-specific changes that will occur in liver tissue when toxic levels are present. To date, no ethoxyquin-related tissue changes have occurred, even in the 16 year feeding group. This is the only test ever conducted on ethoxyquin use in psittacine species and is now one of the longest and largest tests conducted in any specie. There is no legitimate reason to believe that any of the commercial antioxidants are a significant risk compared to the risk of unprotected food products.
The Avian Research Center will continue to review and research the use of ethoxyquin and other preservatives to ensure the greatest safety and efficacy of all of its products. At this time, there is no evidence that indicates that the proper use of ethoxyquin is in any way harmful to birds or other pets (with the possible exception of lactating dogs and puppies). It is certain, however, that the effects of rancid or oxidized food products, or compounds produced in the absence of antioxidants, are far more harmful and pose a much greater threat to your pet's health than the federally approved antioxidants.


Roudybush

Question to Roudybush: Is ethoxyquin bad for my bird?

Answer: There are many misconceptions and fear about this preservative. Preservatives are necessary to prolong the life of the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K and prevent the rancidity of fat in feed, keeping the feed nutritious for your bird. Without an antioxidant feed can become rancid or deficient in about three months at room temperature and ethoxyquin is one of the safest and most effective antioxidants available. There are many rumors and fears that ethoxyquin is toxic, poisonous, causes liver disease, or causes tumors. Please be aware of what resources you are gathering this information from. No scientific studies of any kind have been able to show ethoxyquin causing any of these problems, and so far they indicate that ethoxyquin is safe.

Roudybush goes on to say elsewhere ….
Unless a food is kept frozen until it is consumed, it undergoes changes over time that decrease its vitamin levels and oxidize fats. Excessive oxidation of fats leads to rancidity. To prevent rancidity and loss of necessary nutrients, preservatives are added to foods. These preservatives are primarily antioxidants. Until recently, the most safe and effective preservative available has been ethoxyquin. Ethoxyquin became the target of a tremendous amount of adverse publicity due to a poorly designed study of its safety in rats performed many years ago. Since that study, many more tests were conducted in rats, mice, and dogs, showing the preservative was very safe. Unfortunately, these studies did nothing to stop the already building misinformation about ethoxyquin.
Roudybush has included ethoxyquin in our formulations in the past. The quality of the food we produced was our utmost concern and until an equally safe and effective preservative was developed, we were unwilling to switch to one of the other inferior or less safe preservatives available just because people were afraid of ethoxyquin. Recently a new, all natural preservative with excellent safety and efficacy was introduced. We have replaced ethoxyquin with this new preservative in our Low-fat Maintenance, Maintenance, Breeder and High-energy Breeder pellets.
The new preservative is a combination of d-tocopherol (a close relative of vitamin E), rosemary, and citric acid. Vitamin E (a-tocopherol) has antioxidant properties, but it is also biologically active and larger concentrations needed as a preservative have not been tested for safety in birds. The advantage of d-tocopherol is that it has antioxidant properties but it has very little biological activity, so risk of toxicity is eliminated. Rosemary has natural antioxidant properties. Citric acid binds to certain minerals responsible for starting oxidation reactions, preventing those reactions from occuring.
Roudybush is committed to providing your birds with the best possible food. Any changes we make to our formulations are thoroughly researched and only made when the data shows us there is a clear advantage.


Eight-in-one response to my email.

Thank you for your E-Mail. I have forwarded your inquiry to our Quality Assurance Manager and she has advised me that her search yielded little evidence to support ethoxyquin as toxic but some studies did show carcinogenic or liver damage potential. Because of this, the FDA limited the level of ethoxyquin in dog foods to 75 ppm. She did not see anything specific regarding toxicity to birds but assumes that because birds are smaller, the levels would have to be low. Ethoxyquin has only limited use in the human food chain, specifically to preserve the color in paprika at a level of only 0.5 ppm. She is not aware if there was ever a conscious decision on our part to not use the preservative of if we just elected to use alternatives. I do hope this is helpful and if I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


If you read these statements carefully, you will see that the real reason Roudybush stopped using ethoxyquin was because of the bad publicity ethoxyquin has received. Not for any proven problem with ethoxyquin or for any superiority of its new preservative. In fact it states that all the concern about ethoxyquin had to do with one poorly designed study many years ago. 8in1 had no evidence that ethoxyquin was harmful to birds either.
Do you guys really think you are better informed or knowledgeable than the experts at Roudybush, Kaytee, and Eight-in-one? People have dedicated their entire education and professional careers to looking at these issues! To think you are somehow better informed than they are strikes me as either incredibly vain, or incredibly ignorant.
The irony of this whole pathetic discussion is that you guys * think * that you are making a very educated informed decision. You will listen to a 12 year old you have never met that heard ethoxyquin was bad, perhaps from a 16 year old who read it on tailfeathers.com, posted by somebody who maybe heard it from her uncle who had a parakeet in the 1980’s. And somehow that makes you well informed. Look at what Roudybush is saying! Roudybush basically changed their formulary because of bad publicity. They themselves said ethoxyquin is safe. Everybody is assuming that the newer preservatives are safe – but with limited experience, we’ll find out probably in 20 years. And for those of you who feel re-assured that the new preservative contains d-tocopherol (a close relative of vitamin E), you should be aware that doctors no longer recommend vitamin E supplements in humans because Vitamin E was not found to prevent cancer, not found to prevent heart disease, and even contributed to heart failure. Any bird seed you buy from a shelf will have a preservative in it. So just because you are not giving your bird ethoxyquin, you will be giving him/her another preservative, and don’t think for a moment there may not be some small risk associated with that new and improved preservative. The term “all natural” means nothing scientifically. The world is made of elements and compounds, and they are all chemicals. If you think otherwise, then you really need to get going on your science courses before you really can make an informed decision about any of this.


chance favors the prepared mind.
Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27281 09/29/05 12:39 AM
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that's an awful lot to type/copy and paste. i really appreciate your time done on research. i dono't really know what to think as kaytee is always supposed to be bad. i'm just avoiding Kaytee because i don't want to risk anything.

Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27282 09/29/05 03:47 AM
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THANK YOU! I have been looking for information on this since I read it and have so far come up with no scientific evidence to prove it is not safe... thank you very much for sharing the information you found!


Resentment is like taking poison and waiting for the other person to die!
Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27283 09/29/05 04:42 AM
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Well firstly I have to say how impressed I am at the research and work put into finding out this information and taking the time to do so and to put it here.I have always thought when this subject came up that there are preservatives in all food and no one knows if any are better than any other.Rumours are very bad things designed to do exactly what this one has done and that is to scare people.I personally would rather use a preservative that has been extensively tested and researched than one that hasn't.Without these preservatives food would quickly go off and be dangerous.If after a 16 year close study on exotic birds being fed this preservative shows that it is safe then I would rather trust that one than others.Thankyou for your time and effort Essos mom.

Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27284 09/29/05 04:47 AM
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Esso:

Thank you for your time and effort. I had read that ethoxyquin was an Antioxidant. After seeing this I was less concerned about all this Kaytee hype.

I hope others will consider your research and inquiries...

Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27285 09/29/05 05:03 AM
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Then What do you have to say about this
There was a considerable amount of discussion regarding ethoxyquin as a preservative in bird diets on CAGTAG-L back in March of this year. I have gathered a lot of material on ethoxyquin, but just haven't had the time to go through it all and to come up with some conclusions regarding its safety or otherwise.

Ethoxyquin is not used as a preservative for HUMAN foods with the following exception: . It is permitted to "promote colour retention" in paprika and ground chili pepper in a maximum concentration of 100 ppm.

The maximum allowable residue in eggs, meat, poultry, apples, pears, poultry fat and livers for HUMAN use is 0.5 ppm.

In ANIMAL feeds, the maximum allowable concentration of ethoxyquin is 150 ppm.

Lafebers provided me with information on the concentration of ethoxyquin in their avian products and it is less considerably less than 150 ppm. Neither Kaytee nor Roudybush responded to my letters requesting information on the concentrations of ethoxyquin in their products.

So what are the potential concerns regarding ethoxyquin? This chemical is not innocuous as has been suggested. Attached is part of an earlier post of mine in response to a question regarding the safety of ethoxyquin for birds:

"Interesting question. I was not familiar with the ethoxyquin controversy. However after quickly perusing the toxicity data (abstracts) there may be reason for concern. The acute oral LD 50 of ethoxyquin in rats is 800 mg/kg and in mice it is 1730 mg/kg.

Its chronic toxicity in animals is reported as "apparently low."
Chronic feeding studies in rats of 0.2 % of ethoxyquin in the diet caused transient depression in growth rate, At necropsy, damage to kidneys, liver and thyroid gland were seen in many of the male rats but not in the females.
In another study, diets containing 0.5 % ethoxyquin fed to rats for up to 18 months, produced renal lesions in all of the study animals.
Continuous administration to rats fed a diet of 0.2 % ethoxyquin, caused tumors in some of the animals according to one study.
Toxicity in chicks was "significantly greater when the diet was low in protein." (Details of this study were not given).
The above abstracts suggest that long-term exposure ito this chemical in our birds is a reason for concern."
As I have mentioned, I do not have the information together in order to offer you guidance as to whether you should use ethoxyquin-preserved avian diets or not. You will have to decide what you feel most comfortable with. There are good diets available that contain no preservatives and others that contain preservatives that have been approved for human use. Ethoxyquin has not been approved as a preservative for human use.


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Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27286 09/29/05 05:04 AM
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Gillian Willis is a pharmacist and toxicologist. She is considered an "expert" in matters of poisoning and toxic substances by those of us who participate in bird related mailing lists on the Internet.
There was a considerable amount of discussion regarding ethoxyquin as a preservative in bird diets on CAGTAG-L back in March of this year. I have gathered a lot of material on ethoxyquin, but just haven't had the time to go through it all and to come up with some conclusions regarding its safety or otherwise.
Ethoxyquin is not used as a preservative for HUMAN foods with the following exception: . It is permitted to "promote colour retention" in paprika and ground chili pepper in a maximum concentration of 100 ppm.

The maximum allowable residue in eggs, meat, poultry, apples, pears, poultry fat and livers for HUMAN use is 0.5 ppm.

In ANIMAL feeds, the maximum allowable concentration of ethoxyquin is 150 ppm.

Lafebers provided me with information on the concentration of ethoxyquin in their avian products and it is less considerably less than 150 ppm. Neither Kaytee nor Roudybush responded to my letters requesting information on the concentrations of ethoxyquin in their products.

So what are the potential concerns regarding ethoxyquin? This chemical is not innocuous as has been suggested. Attached is part of an earlier post of mine in response to a question regarding the safety of ethoxyquin for birds:

"Interesting question. I was not familiar with the ethoxyquin controversy. However after quickly perusing the toxicity data (abstracts) there may be reason for concern. The acute oral LD 50 of ethoxyquin in rats is 800 mg/kg and in mice it is 1730 mg/kg.

Its chronic toxicity in animals is reported as "apparently low." Chronic feeding studies in rats of 0.2 % of ethoxyquin in the diet caused transient depression in growth rate, At necropsy, damage to kidneys, liver and thyroid gland were seen in many of the male rats but not in the females. In another study, diets containing 0.5 % ethoxyquin fed to rats for up to 18 months, produced renal lesions in all of the study animals. Continuous administration to rats fed a diet of 0.2 % ethoxyquin, caused tumors in some of the animals according to one study. Toxicity in chicks was "significantly greater when the diet was low in protein." (Details of this study were not given). The above abstracts suggest that long-term exposure of this chemical in our birds is a reason for concern." As I have mentioned, I do not have the information together in order to offer you guidance as to whether you should use ethoxyquin-preserved avian diets or not. You will have to decide what you feel most comfortable with. There are good diets available that contain no preservatives and others that contain preservatives that have been approved for human use. Ethoxyquin has not been approved as a preservative for human use

Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27287 09/29/05 05:09 AM
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Well as far as I was aware,all foods have preservatives.
What budgie food doesn't have preservatives?
Do we know if the food without preservatives is safer?
Also do we know that foods with different preservatives are any safer?

Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27288 09/29/05 05:16 AM
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http://www.avianweb.com/ethoxyquin.htm
http://www.executec.com/nutra.htm
http://www.beaktreats.com/articles/food_for_thought.htm
http://www.epa.gov/docs/REDs/factsheets/0003fact.pdf#search=\'Ethoxyquin\'
Ethoxyquin was initially registered as a pesticide....unquote
http://ntp-server.niehs.nih.gov/index.cfm?objectid=03DE960B-F597-A2C1-2B22F7BC42C12895

Click on the link below there are more and more but I have done more intense research on this and I am sorry Esso's mommy I know you trust it but you can;t ignore what the gov;t themselves have found they myself are just trying to cover it up. I don;t trust it and feel that their is more dangers to it than the company;s admit send this to them and see how they react I bet they come up with an excuse to cover it up.

Re: Ethoxyquin: what the birdseed companies say #27289 09/29/05 05:23 AM
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By no preservatives I think they mean using certain vitamins to preserve the food. I dont know about seed but there are a few organic pellets that do this. And, I would rather use a food that has preservatives in it that is approved for both HUMAN and ANIMAL. I dont know about anyone else, but weather or not Ethoy actually causes problems in animals it doesnt feel "right" letting Cosmo eat something that could potentially kill me. It just doesnt sit right with me. Thats what a lot of peoples problem is with this. The majority of them KNOW that there hasnt been any "proof" that it causes problems, but there are a lot of reports out there suggesting that it MIGHT. And we just dont want to take that chance.

Esso, if you are referring to me as "the 16 year old that read about it on tailfeathers" - I heard it from here and did my own research. I did not e-mail any pet compainies because why would they tell the truth if it really was toxic? They do want money after all. Some have been known to lie. Kaytee uses it in their food, OF COURSE they are not going to e-mail you back and go "Oh yeah, it kills them, and we put it in our food" All the reports I read said the same things, and they all mentioned that its not a PROVEN FACT, but the fact that it could POSSIBLY harm my animals, Im not going to take that chance.

Quote
. You will listen to a 12 year old you have never met that heard ethoxyquin was bad, perhaps from a 16 year old who read it on tailfeathers.com, posted by somebody who maybe heard it from her uncle who had a parakeet in the 1980’s. And somehow that makes you well informed.
We have informed people that Ethoy may be bad. Some people have just went and said "omg no kaytee is bad!" and failed to mention why, but the majority say because they use ethoy. Then the person that was "informed" goes out and does their own research and comes to their OWN choice on weather or not to use it.


R.I.P Elkie
Nov. 04 - Jul. 05
Your life was short lived but I hope you were very happy.
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