So as you know I contacted Harlan Teklad and Oxbow regarding the issue of HMO and their products. As of now, I have received a response from Oxbow only. They replied on my Facebook page and this was the conversation:


A recent study was put out that has linked both an herbicide and genetically modified corn to “organ damage, tumors and early death among rats.” It is being recommended that all pet owners contact their pet food manufacturers and find out if their ingredients used are GMO free. My greatest concern is that of my rats and Oxbow Regal Rat. I am an long time rat enthusists and owner. I run The Rat Whisperer blog ( where I am I huge advocate for Oxbow Regal Rat and direct many of my first time rat owner readers to it. If your ingredients, specifically in Regal Rat is GMO free, what do you require of ingredient suppliers to remain GMO free? A timely response would be appreciated as I have many readers anxiously awaiting an answer.

Their reply:

Hi, Shawna,

Thank you for contacting us with your question. We value your support, as well as your questions and concern.

At Oxbow, we’re committed to including the healthiest and most beneficial ingredients possible in all of our products, and appreciate you bringing to light this recent study regarding GM corn and its effect on organ damage, tumor generation and mortality in rats. With that in mind, in regard to Essentials – Adult Rat (Regal Rat):

– Firstly, as you know, there is no corn, period, in this formulation.
– The majority of ingredients are naturally non-GMO, because there are no genetically modified versions.
– There are 2 sources of genetically modified ingredients in Essentials Adult Rat – soy and canola.

We are constantly evaluating our formulas and ingredients and always working with animals in mind to improve our products in any way possible. From the initial development of Regal Rat, we’ve focused on utilizing the most wholesome ingredients possible and leaving out ingredients which encourage selective feeding (ingredients such as seeds, nuts and sugary fruits) and promote obesity. We recently improved the formula further by increasing palatability while preserving the healthy ingredient deck and vitamin and chelated mineral content.
Thanks again for writing, and please let us know if you have any further questions. If you would like to provide us a link to the study you referenced, we would be interested in sharing it with our Product Development and Nutrition departments for their information.

So we do know that Oxbow uses genetically modified soy and canola sources, which I suspected after hearing an excerpt from the Center for Food Safety’s website: “Currently, up to 85 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as are 91 percent of soybeans and 88 percent of cotton (cottonseed oil is often used in food products). According to industry, up to 95% of sugar beets are now GE. It has been estimated that upwards of 70 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves–from soda to soup, crackers to condiments–contain genetically engineered ingredients.”

Soooo…. now the big question is what to feed now? Something that is corn and soy free…but apparently canola free too??? Its so frustrating! We want the very best for our rats and protect them from so many various things in this world and we have this looming over our heads too! How can we continue feeding them something that has the potential to shorten their lives? Would it be more beneficial to make a homemade mix, even if its not nutritionally complete? Which is the lesser evil?

I do have a little ray of hope that Oxbow, now that I have provided them the link to the study, will take it into consideration (I even suggested they look into an organic supplier)…but I am just one person. What we are basically asking them to do is to drastically change their formula for Regal Rat. That can’t come cheap, or easily I am sure….

So I went ahead and contacted Solid Gold Health Products regarding their Holistique Blendz adult food, which if you follow this blog, will know that it is my go-to staple diet for rats under 4 months as its the closest to a rat’s nutritional needs at 18% protein and 6% fat. I am eager to see what they say. So far, only one of their ingredients raises a red flag for me and that is the canola, which was also found in the Regal Rat. Oxbow claims it comes from a GM source so I can only assume Solid Gold will have too. They claim they are all natural, holistic, and their products do not contain any chemical preservatives but what does that actually mean in the case of GMOs??

To be continued….

I am gonna look into making a homemade mix..I know its going to be damn near impossible with all the nutritional factors that one must take into account, but at this rate, it really doesn’t hurt to try! My precious ratties lives depend on it! Meanwhile, I am still going to feed my ratties their Oxbow- after all, its the best marketed stuff I have had them on and compared to other brands out there, it is superior and I have nothing but positive outcome from it so far and just pray for the best![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]