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Investigating Ingredients 1 : What the Fluff is it? Corn Starch ?

Corn Starch

Yes, corn starch, We all know what both of those words mean, but does anyone really know what corn starch is, does and most importantly what is it doing in dog food??

Having being passionately obsessed with nutrition since as far back as I can remember, I couldn’t if pushed really define it. And that concerns me. I know that I recommend my human patients avoid it, and I know all the good reasons why. I also know that it is (IMHO) a net detractor from health, rather than a contributor. But I could not really describe or truly explain what it is until I did some further research for this article.

The results truly flummox me. Like, truly. I am writing this with a knitted eyebrow wondering how people  get away with this ….If you are interested in your pets health, and potentially your own, then read on, I am happy to share.

The Name

As with any good story, lets start at the beginning, the name,  corn starch is much like any cinema villain and equipped with several aliases. Dependant on how fine the grind is, it can be referred to as either corn meal, flour or sometimes starch for either. And the name “corn” can obviously be substituted as “maize”, so there’s six ways of referring to essentially the same item. (Ignoring some very subtle irrelevant details)

It was discovered in the 1840’s and originally used in industrial processes and as a laundry starch, stiffening collars that sort of thing. Feeling hungry yet?

About 10 years after its discovery, someone came up with the novel idea that it could be an ideal thickening agent. Now to be measured and fair, it is probably in the balance of health cost benefits less worrisome than wheat flour. It is not rampant in gluten for instance.

The Process

Its a pretty intriguing process to get it out of the corn. For anyone labouring under the romantic notion that it is ground using ancient mill wheels from the freshly harvested sun ripened corn under blue skies, its not. Its steeped in massive vats until it ferments. It is then washed repeatedly out of the “corn liquor”, Its then dried and “modified”

Sometimes its used to act as a glue in fireworks. Amongst other uses.

The Concerns

What concerns me is the following.

Corn is one of the most genetically modified crops on the face of the planet. We don’t know what genetically modified food does to us or to our dogs for sure because its a relatively recent invention. Only time will tell but the initial feedback does not look promising.

It is also one of the heavily sprayed with chemicals. If anyone wants to look at the TOP 50 chemicals sprayed on corn in 2012 in California alone then please click on this link http://www.pesticideinfo.org/DS.jsp?sk=29119

Also please note, theres 2 classes of corn in the US.  Human grade and Forage. I am not sure what grade is used in the processed dog food market, frankly I never plan to feed it to my dog whatever the grade is.

Why use it at all?

And coming to the finale of this brief investigation. It is primarily used as a filler or a thickener. A brief browse on the marvellous internet, for foods by dog food ingredients show that it is for some major vet recommended brands, the primary ingredient.  The main ingredient is a filler.

A filler that is genetically modified, sprayed with tons of chemicals, left to rot in a vat, then repeatedly washed, modified, dried and then put into food. And fed to animals and humans.

If that didn’t sound cross, confused or simply bamboozled how people are allowed to get away with this, it is.  Despite these words I am pretty speechless.


Please help us stop this by voting with your actions. If a dog food company is driven only by money then it will respond only to money, so if we stop buying this they will be forced to change.

Its not more complicated than that.

Please leave comments, feedback and send in ingredients for the Investigation files!

Wishing you and your dogs well.

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