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What is the role of antioxidizing factors ?

Oxidation reactions are one of the major reasons for the degradation of dietary products during storage. Its concerns mainly the fats, whose oxidation can trigger: - rancidity development, responsible for a lower palatability - degradation of essential fatty acids, inducing some deficiencies likely to alter the skin and hair health - destruction of some vitamins - formation of toxic by-products, especially for the liver etc…

Antioxydants using is absolutely necessary to guarantee the quality of the fats incorporated in the products.

"Antioxygen" inhibit the oxidizing action of oxygen specifically. Actually, this gas is one of the constituants of the air surrounding the product, and it is likely to make the oxidation start. Antioxygen substances prevent from the oxidation and then the degradation of the product. Antioxygens belong to two different categories, synthesized antioxygens and natural antioxygens:

  • synthesized antioxygens:
    • BHA (Butyl-Hydroxy-Anisole)
    • BHT (Butyl-Hydroxy-Toluene)
    • ethoxyquine
    • gallates: associated with BHA or BHT

  • natural antioxygens:
    • other tocopherols: extracted from vegetable oils
    • alpha-tocopherol : precursor of vitamin E
    • ascorbic acid: precursor of vitamin C.

Natural antioxygens are often preferred by consumers, but one must know that:

  • they are less stable, consequently their efficiency is not so good (higher quantities must be used),
  • they are largely more expensive: the cost of the products would reflect this price difference.

Choosing the right antioxygen and its level of incorporation depends on several factors: ingredients to protect, shelf life guarantee, using conditions, stability, cost… Personnaly, Royal Canin has chosen to associate two different antioxygens plus another substance working in synergy, that enhances their efficiency and allows to decrease the doses of incorporation. These products are:

BHA (E 320), propyl- gallate (E 310) and citric acid (E 330). These antioxygens are also used in human food.

The european regulation authorizes the using of these antioxygens, provided that the mention "with antioxygens" is written on the packagings, plus:

  • the mention"ECC additives" on packagings under or equal to 10 kg,
  • the specific name of the additive for packagings over 10 kg.

These substances are incorporated in the fats just after their extraction, in order to prevent the oxidation process from the very beginning. This is done by our suppliers of oils and fats, according to a protocole established by Royal Canin.

Let's point out that products packed under controlled-atmosphere (i.e. without any oxygen around the product), offer an additional guarantee against the risk of fat alteration.


Whatever the additives are (vitamins and trace-elements included), they may have harmful effects when they are used over the maximum safe level. These effects have been studied, they are perfectly well-known ; this is why the european regulation imposes precised maximal rates of incorporation.

We must mention here that the antioxygens residues likely to be found in Royal Canin products are 5 - 10 times less compared to the maximum limits imposed for human food. Controls are regularly performed on raw materials to check the strict application of the rules above-listed.

Donated by the Borg Cardona and Co. Ltd. visit Borg Cardona website

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