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What you should know about pet food production

What you should know about pet food production

I’ve been on a real learning curve of late. Not just how to run a business, how to keep the tax man happy and how to perfect the best dog biscuit but also the rules around pet food production.

As a pet owner I’ve been pleased to see that there are loads of rules and regulations about how pet food is made, what it contains, what the labels have to tell us and the records that the producer has to keep. Perhaps wrongly, I’ve never paid much attention to these details before, I made my purchasing decisions based on the colours of the packet!


Did you know..

Pet food producers have to keep batch records that show the specific ingredients that make every batch of biscuit? I don’t just mean a list of ingredients, I mean they have to be able to identify the very packet the ingredient came from. They then have to be able to show who they sold that batch to!

I think it’s brilliant that these rules are place and the fact that all these records exist. If (heavens forbid) one of my dogs got sick from something they ate, the producer would be able to trace every ingredient that went into that batch and also be able to recall any other sales of that batch thereby saving someone else from getting a sick pet!

Happy fact: Of course we hope that we never need to call upon these processes and records but I’ve found it very reassuring that they are there should we need them and I hope this knowledge helps you too.


Did you know…

One of the other requirements placed on pet food producers is to have all products laboratory tested. This is so that they are able to show you the nutritional analysis of the item. We’re used to seeing this on the back of human food products, it normally shows the typical values of Energy, Protein, Carbs, Fat, etc. I have previously used them to calculate my weight watcher points!! 🙂

The same is true of pet food, however they breakdown the items into proteins, oils & fats, fibre and crude ash. I know I’ve seen Crude Ash on products before and I always assumed that ash meant, well, ash! I assumed it was bad, something nasty, something that wouldn’t be present in a ‘healthy’ item. As it turns out, in this instance ash doesn’t mean soot from the fire, it is what remains after incineration of the product.

Vet Know How helpfully explains the process: “In order to work out how much protein, fat, fibre, carbohydrate and minerals are in any pet food scientists will test the diets using a standard piece of equipment called a bomb calorimeter. This analyser measures how much energy in total is released by the food and by each type of nutrient when it burns, calculating the energy density Kcal/100g, total amount of protein (crude protein), total amount of fibre(crude fibre) and total fats (crude oils and fats)in the diet. What’s left at the end of the process is anything that doesn’t burn and this is the mineral content of the diet referred to as crude ash, ash or inorganic matter.

Ash is simply a technical term for the essential minerals your pet needs including magnesium, iron, zinc, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and more.”

Happy fact: From Vet Know How: “Seeing the word ‘ash’ on your pet food packaging should not be cause for concern. It is an essential part of your pet’s diet and gives you an indication of the total amount of minerals in the food and can help you determine pet food quality.” For more information about pet food production read this article.

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