Drs. Foster and Smith Tropical Flakes Ingredients
Salmon Fish Meal, Wheat Flour, Dehulled Soybean Meal, Brewer's Dried Yeast, Corn Starch, Freeze-Dried Plankton, Freeze-Dried Krill, Dried Kelp, Dried Brine Shrimp, Fish Oil, Lecithin, Dried Spirulina, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Choline Chloride, Biotin, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of stabilized Vitamin C), Methionine and Natural Coloring.
DOCTORS FOSTERandSMITH Tropical Flakes Ingredient Analysis
The first listed ingredient is an preferred aquatic meat protein listed at its dry weight. However, the next four ingredients are fillers and secondary protein sources, with the next preferred protein source not appearing until the 6th item in the list. This presents concerns that the primary protein content of this food may be coming from fillers and secondary protein sources instead of aquatic meat proteins. . However, the six additional preferred protein sources listed (Freeze-Dried Plankton, Freeze-Dried Krill, Dried Kelp, Dried Brine Shrimp, Fish Oil, Dried Spirulina), each at their dry weight, provides some confidence in the preferred protein levels of the food.
Despite this food listing "Salmon Meal" as opposed to "Whole Salmon Meal", confirmation from Doctor's Foster and Smith confirm this meal is comprised of the whole fish. In addition, this food contains an Ethoyquin free statement indicating the Salmon Meal utilized is not imported, which increases the likelihood of a higher quality, less degraded, product. Salmon Meal contains higher levels of beneficial oils than many other fish used in generic fish meals. Salmon skin is also high in astaxanthin, a color enhancing carotenoid and powerful antioxidant.
Studies conducted by the University of Albany’s Institute for Health and the Environment have identified significant contaminant levels in farmed salmon. “In particular, four substances that have been well studied for their ability to cause cancer-PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin, and toxaphene-were consistently and significantly more concentrated in farmed salmon.” Contamination is significant enough that the human recommendation for the consumption of farmed salmon is reduced to a “one-half to one meal per month-based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) consumption advisories for these contaminants. A meal was considered to be an eight-ounce portion.” It can be safely assumed that this meal is comprised of farmed salmon.
Both Freeze-Dried Plankton and Freeze dried krill are excellent sources of astaxanthin, a color enhancing carotenoid and powerful antioxidant, while Dried Kelp is a good source of iodine for thyroid function and chlorophyll, a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Pantothenic Acid, Zinc, Copper, Riboflavin, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium and Manganese. If these items were listed as the second and third ingredients in the list, this would be a spectacular food. As is, located this far down the list, their provided benefits are marginal.
A combination of salmon meal, freeze dried plankton, freeze dried krill, and (limited) spirulina should ensure a food that enhances red coloration.
Fish oil can be either a beneficial ingredient or a hazardous one. Human grade fish oil collected from specific specifies of fish and screened for mercury will provide necessary omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids as well as protein. Non-human grade fish oil may not be screened for mercury and originate from fish with reduced omega 3/6 content.
Inclusion of both Kelp and Spirulina are appreciated, with both listed at their dry weight, although we would prefer a higher Spirulina concentration.
Acceptable listing of vitamin supplements. Food should not require extensive supplementation resulting from the inclusion of Kelp and Spirulina.
A manufacturer's statement exist stating this food does not use Ethoxyquin as a preservative. In addition, this food does not utilize synthetic vitamin K (K3) or artificial coloring agents.
Oscarfish.Com Rating: 4 Star
Based solely upon the preferred protein content, this food would be a high 3 star rating. However, use of quality preferred proteins combined with an obligation to reward foods who do not use questionable preservatives, artificial colors, or synthetic vitamin K, results in a 4 star rating. Excessive use of non-preferred proteins and concerns with potential containmination of farmed salmon prevent a higher rating.
Understanding Oscarfish.Com Ratings:
This review is an attempt to analyze the ingredients, rating them from 1 (worst) to 6 (best) in an effort to judge quality based upon three simple criteria.
- Absence of toxic, potentially toxic, and controversial ingredients
- Aquatic Animal protein and Preferred Plant Proteins as the primary protein sources
- A fully nutritious food to include necessary vitamins and minerals with natural sources of vitamins and minerals being preferred.
These basic concepts apply:
- Any food that utilizes Ethoxyquin, BHA, or BHT as preservatives, cannot rate higher than a 4 star food.
- Use of artificial colors prevents rating higher than a 4 star food.
- Any food that utilizes Menadione Sodium Bisulfite (Synthetic Vitamin K, aka K3) cannot rate higher than a 5 star food.
- Inclusion of the “Whole Fish”, or “Whole Krill” (in meal form or not) is preferred over fish meal or krill meal.
- In order to achieve a 5 or 6 star rating, the quality of the meal must be known.
- In order to achieve a 6 star rating, the “Whole Fish’ (or whole animal) must be used, either in meal form or in sufficient quantities outside of meal form.
- Inclusion of sufficient quantities of preferred plant proteins is a bonus with sufficient Spirulina content being a significant bonus.
- Use of prebiotics or probiotics is a bonus