Question for David re his gelling and thickener article, please?

Does there have to be a gelling agent or thickener in canned foods? I’m confused, because whenever I’ve asked about carrageenan, I’ve always been told that not only is the food carrageenan free, but there is no gelling agent or thickener whatsoever. I’m sure there’s been no intention to deceive, but your article makes me wonder if the manufacturer just assumes this is so. Regarding the foods I’ve asked about, nothing would have been incorporated into the vitamin and mineral premix because I won’t buy foods containing this and sometimes the query has been passed on to the manufacturer for an answer.

Hello Gemma. David has now opened a Facebook group so it might be advantageous to post this question on there if you have an account.

Thanks, Dottie - I’ve put it on Facebook as you suggested

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I will look out for your post Gemma. It’s become a busy group and it is a joy to see so many people who are interested in, and knowledgeable about dog food. Apart from carrageenan, the subject is something that I know nothing about so I am looking forward to seeing the replies and learning about it. Hopefully David will pick up your message soon. :slight_smile:

Hi Gemma!
I’ve actually never worked in a wet pet food factory myself so most of my info comes from my contacts within the wet food industry. Several very knowledgeable and trustworthy sources have told me that the paté type consistency is only achievable using some form of gelling agent, usually in conjunction with a thickener. Unfortunately, nobody is willing to go on the record and factories refuse to talk to me directly so verifying that as fact has been difficult. The fact that there is so much secrecy on the subject, though, is not an encouraging sign.
On the other hand, several manufacturers have said directly that their paté type foods do not contain any gelling agents or thickeners. But this is also impossible to verify without a lab test as legally manufacturers are under no obligation to disclose these additives.
It is also possible that manufacturers who outsource their manufacturing are just unaware of what additives are used at the factory.
Personally, unless a producer of paté type foods specifically declares that their products are carrageenan free (and cassia gum free - another contentious thickener) AND discloses what gelling agents and thickeners they use instead, I would not be confident that the food is carrageenan/cassia gum free.


Thanks, David - your comments have made me seriously consider home cooking, as it seems the best way to ensure including ingredients I do like and, more importantly, excluding ones I don’t like, or don’t even know are included. Advantages would be including organic as much as possible, low temperature cooking and I’ve found a natural vitamins and minerals for dogs supplier. A major disadvantage though is I haven’t a clue about home cooking so will either have to do a lot of research or, doubtless safer, as I’m bound to make mistakes, get a consultation from We Cook For Dogs, as I agree with everything he says, especially as he has the same concerns as me about most commercial food

I wonder if perhaps the meat juices from high meat content foods are sufficient to form a gel. This occurred to me after I put the meat juices from a joint in the fridge and they turned to jelly. All the brands which told me there was nothing added had a very high meat percentage, but I’m probably totally wrong.

I give my two Alexander’s frozen bone broth paws three times a week. Sometimes they have it straight from the freezer but if I thaw it first it is quite jelly like. I understand that home made bone broth is quite easy to make but it takes a long time to cook so a slow cooker would be useful.