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What is a Premix?

You're pet's food has "added vitamins and minerals", but is that REALLY a good thing?

What is a premix, where does it come from and why do pet foods need them?

Are the vitamins and minerals in the premix natural?
Real, natural vitamins and minerals are in food. 
Vitamins, minerals, and amino acids in premixes are synthetic and are made in chemical plants. 
Each of the vitamins, minerals, and amino acids come with what is called a material safety data sheet (MSDS) created by the chemical company for safe handling. 

If the premixes are synthetic, why do pet foods using them still call themselves natural?
In the AAFCO definition of natural, it says that it would be misleading to call a product natural that contained anything synthetic, but in the case of added vitamins and minerals AAFCO makes an exception. AAFCO states “that exceptions be made in the cases when chemically synthesized vitamins, minerals, or other trace nutrients are present as ingredients in the product provided that the products are not a dietary supplement and that a disclaimer is used to inform the consumer that vitamins, minerals or other trace nutrients are not natural.”
So here is the disclaimer that is acceptable to AAFCO to inform the consumer that vitamins, minerals or other trace nutrients are not natural in the pet food they are purchasing:
“Natural with added vitamins and minerals”. Now you have been informed.

Are synthetic supplements in premixes safe?
They are totally legal and you must be the judge, but here is some food for thought: 
The National Research Council (NRC) puts out two books studying these synthetic elements. The books are, “Vitamin Tolerance of Animals” and “Mineral Tolerance of Domestic Animals”. AAFCO uses some of the research in the mineral publication to derive the section in the AAFCO Official Publication titled, “Official Guidelines for Contaminant Levels Permitted in Mineral Feed Ingredients”. This section addresses the problem of heavy metal contaminants that are in the sourced minerals used in animal/pet foods. The source for many of these is from the by-products of the metal industry. 
The potential contaminants are arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and other heavy metals that can harm animals at certain levels. In the NRC vitamin publication, as they studied the man-made vitamins, the main concern became the toxicity of them. They state in the book there are not enough studies to know emphatically what the upper safe level of any of the elements is. But they state using extrapolation and inference from the limited information to come up with the presumed upper safe level of each element that could be used for a limited period of time without showing signs of intoxication. The research also admits the studies have only been conducted using one element at a time, and they do not know the possible negative effects of
two more of the elements consumed together at elevated levels. The last time I looked at any pet food label; there are always 20 to 26 of these synthetic additives used-that's quite a few combo-reaction possibilities I think. 

How can you spot a premix in a pet food?
Pretty much any added vitamin, mineral or amino acid is synthetic. Here is just one example of how these look within the ingredient panel of a bag of pet food:
Vitamins (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Niacin Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Choline Chloride), Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Sodium Selenite).

Are there any foods without premixes?
Yes. Bridger Animal Nutrition can show you which foods do & don’t have them.
Nature’s Logic is an example of a kibble that doesn’t have one, and Oma’s is an example of a raw food that doesn’t contain one. Not containing a premix, yet obtaining the AAFCO certification, means that that company preformed the very time staking and costly procedure of feeding trials to prove that their products are worthy of certification. A type of certification not to be taken lightly as if speaks volumes about a company’s credibility.
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