What is Aspergillus and Why is it in SuperGravy?

What is Aspergillus and Why is it in SuperGravy?

One of the key foundations of the Clear Conscience Pet mission and philosophy is our CleanLabel™ Pledge. The Pledge promises that all ingredients in our formulas are Pure, Pronounceable, and Purposeful. (more detail here CleanLabel – Clear Conscience Pet ).   Sometimes, despite our commitment to simplicity and transparency, the “Pronounceable” part gets a little tricky since we need to use scientific names for ingredients to be accurate. The Digestive Enzymes, Probiotics, and Prebiotics that make up our Trigestive gut health complex are examples of ingredient names that are rarely heard in everyday conversation. Unless you are an animal nutritionist by profession like us, or a serious nutrition nerd, your dinner table conversation is unlikely to include “pass me the Aspergillus Oryzae, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, and Fructooligosaccharides, please!”  But these and more tongue twisters are proudly present on our labels because they identify sources of active Digestive Enzymes, live Probiotics, and Prebiotics.

Recently, one of our wonderful customers (who is a very experienced dog professional) reached out to us because someone on Facebook made a disparaging comment about SuperGravy. The comment said that, because we have Aspergillus on our ingredient list, we have “mold” in our product. This was spectacularly ignorant, but we had to take it seriously. This sort of baseless misinformation could be very damaging to the reputation for impeccable quality and performance that we have worked so hard to earn for the past 12 years while earning 25 awards for nutritional innovation and excellence. We are blessed to have so many smart customers, because we were informed about it right away by several other loyal friends of CCP. We responded to this deceptive statement in very strong terms, and we believe that it has been addressed thoroughly.    

We decided to turn this situation into an educational opportunity, while also putting our detailed response on the record. We hope you find this info helpful, and that it reinforces your confidence and trust in our company and products!

Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus niger are cultured digestive enzyme sources. These living ingredients are included with all four SuperGravy formulas as the sources of our beneficial active digestive enzymes. Aspergillus fungi release enzymes to break down nutrients that support their own natural life cycle. Utilizing this natural phenomenon, manufacturers use active Aspergillus cultures to produce digestive enzymes for human and animal supplementation. The enzymes are then separated from the Aspergillus cultures and highly purified under precise laboratory conditions. The end results are purified natural active enzymes, with no residual Aspergillus. These ingredients do not introduce “mold” into the formulas. There are hundreds of animal supplements on the market that include enzymes produced in this exact manner and listed precisely as they are on our SuperGravy labels.   

 Naturally cultured Aspergillus is the source for a very high percentage of all digestive enzymes produced for use in human and animal gut health supplements. It’s also interesting to note that Aspergillus oryzae has been an active component in human food and beverage manufacturing for hundreds of years. Aspergillus oryzae is also known in Japan as “Koji,” and it has been used in Japanese food production for centuries. Aspergillus oryzae is the fermenting agent that turns mashed rice into Sake rice wine. Aspergillus oryzae and Aspergillus sojae are what transform soybeans and water into brewed tamari, also known simply as soy sauce.  

On a broader level, all active digestive health components (including live probiotic strains) are produced through bioactive processes such as cultured fungi and probiotic microorganism production.  Molds are present in human foods such as bleu cheese. Bread mold led to the discovery of penicillin and all similar class antibiotics. All mushrooms are living fungi, and besides being tasty on a pizza, many mushroom species have been discovered to have powerful physiological properties, including adaptation for use as cancer fighting drugs.  Fungal and mold organisms are truly essential parts of the planetary ecosystem and food chain. Active microbiological agents are used in countless human food production applications. Just a few examples are yogurt, cheese, kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and all fermented alcoholic beverages. Bees can’t make honey without enzymes, and no honey means no bees means no pollination to grow food!         

 Digestive enzymes produced by these Aspergillus varieties include Protease, which is essential for the digestive tract to break down proteins into essential amino acids; Amylase, which breaks down carbohydrates; and Lipase, which breaks down fats and oils into essential fatty acids. The ability to efficiently absorb nutrients is critical to support, strengthen, and regenerate muscle, blood, bone, hair, internal organs, neurons, and every other bodily structure and function. This is true for humans, dogs, or any other animal species.  

The Trigestive™ gut health complex in SuperGravy includes probiotics (beneficial bacteria essential for digestion), prebiotics (essentially “food” for probiotics), and digestive enzymes (active “keys” that unlock the structure of all food molecules). This combination helps dogs to maximize nutrient absorption and boosts immunity by supporting the balance and health of the gut microbiome, which is at the core of the immune system.

Put simply, besides being a delicious and healthy gravy made from whole superfoods, SuperGravy is a three-way digestive health powerhouse. The goal is to have a healthier and happier dog and helping them to get the most out of the food they eat. After all, what’s the point of feeding top quality food if too many of those nutrients wind up in a poopy bag.  

Clear Conscience Pet is a family business, started and still owned by animal nutrition experts with over 30 years of experience in the field. Everything in our products follows our Clean Label Pledge, which promises that every ingredient in our formulas serves a distinct purpose, and that we never have and never will use filler ingredients simply to increase profits. Every product and every ingredient is there to promote greater health, energy, longevity, and sheer JOY for dogs, period. By following this strict philosophy, we hope to provide peace of mind for pet parents. That’s what the “Clear Conscience” in our name is all about- your ability to use CCP products with confidence, knowing that they are meticulously well-researched, scientifically formulated, and lovingly crafted to the highest quality control standards. That’s what we do and who we are.

Anthony Bennie, Founder and Chief Nutrition Officer: Pet Industry Icon Award Honoree

Amanda Malone Bennie, Co-Founder and Chief Customer Officer: Women of Influence in the Pet Industry Award Winner