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Tomato Pomace - Seed of Controversy

Posted on: February 18, 2012 by Global Pet Foods HRM

Some people call it the fruit of passion.....some people think it's a vegetable.  Delicious, nutritious, red, ripe tomatoes! Some love them, some love to hate them. Whichever way you feel about the tomato personally, the question of the day is:  Why is it in your pets’ food? and Is it a cause for concern?

A great many high quality, premium dog and cat foods boast tomato pomace on their ingredient panels, yet a quick internet search will reveal a mob of anti-tomato pomace crusaders. So who’s right and if it is such a concern, why are the food companies putting it in your pets’ food?

First, let’s define tomato pomace.  It is the mixture of tomato skin, pulp, and crushed seeds that remain after the juicing process for ketchup, juice, soup, etc.

The angry mob does not like tomato pomace because they feel it is a low quality “filler” with no nutritional value and low digestibility. It is also accused of causing flatulence. The pet food companies love tomato pomace because they feel it has a high level of soluble fibre and high levels of antioxidants such as lycopene.

The facts are: tomato pomace is an excellent source of soluble fibre.  Soluble fibre is an essential part of your pet’s diet and is by definition indigestible (strike one against the angry mob).  It maintains a healthy digestive tract due to its ability to bind water - this forms healthy stools and acts like grease for a smooth passage through the intestinal tract.  It also slows digestion, which increases mineral absorption.  Just because it is not digested by your pet, does not mean it packs no nutritional punch - bacteria in the large intestine can break apart soluble fibre in a process called fermentation.  Fermentation produces fatty acids that are used by intestinal cells as an energy source, allowing them to more effectively digest the other nutrients in the food (strike two against the angry mob).  Finally, tomato pomace produces less gas on fermentation than most other fibre sources (strike three against the angry mob). 

What about the antioxidants?  Well, as with all ingredients, there are higher quality and lower quality variations.  So depending on the tomatoes used to make the tomato pomace, some will contain high levels of antioxidants and vitamins and others probably will not.

In the end, there are numerous beneficial reasons for the food companies to use tomato pomace in our pet’s food and even if you believe it has little value, it is unlikely to harm your pet.  It is not a main ingredient, just one of many that make up dog and cat formulas and is used by all of the following food companies in all or some of their formulas:

Blue Buffalo*                                    Natural Balance*

Canidae*                                          Nature’s Variety*

Chicken Soup                                  Pure Vita*

Eagle Pack*                                     Solid Gold*

Earthborn Holistic*                          Taste of the Wild*

Fromm*                                            Wellness*

Holistic Select*                          * 2012 Whole Dog Journal approved dog foods

Orijen*, Acana* and Now* use tomatoes in some of their formulas as well.

Mild-mannered, misunderstood hero or is it an evil villain masquerading as an innocent fruit?  Ultimately it’s your call to make, but surely we can all agree that a nicely formed stool makes everybody happy!

Check the following links to see why these premium food companies have chosen to add tomatoes or tomato pomace to their formulas: