Friday, March 27, 2015

Canada restricts raw petfood containing poultry products

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is implementing measures to protect Canada's poultry resources from an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza reported in poultry in the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, USA.
Travelers should know that, due to this outbreak, all raw poultry and all poultry products and byproducts that are not fully cooked, including eggs and raw petfoods, sourced, processed or packaged from the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington are under restriction until further notice. You may not bring these items into Canada.
These measures are a normal part of Canada's animal disease control efforts and are consistent with international guidelines on trade.
Examples of restricted items include:
  • Raw petfoods containing poultry products
  • Live birds and hatching eggs
  • Eggs, yolks, egg whites (albumen)
  • Poultry meat (other than fully cooked, canned, commercially sterile meat products)
  • Feathers
  • Poultry manure and litter
  • Laboratory material containing poultry products/byproducts
Live pet birds may be brought into Canada with official certification from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS).
Commercial imports of live poultry, birds and raw or untreated avian products are restricted from the specific quarantine zones within the states of Kansas, Arkansas, Missouri, Minnesota, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington until further notice. Commercial importers should refer to the CFIA's Automated Import Reference System (AIRS) for more information on restricted products.
 There is no food safety risk associated with these products. These measures are being taken to prevent the introduction of avian influenza into other parts of Canada.

Senators ask for tougher FDA oversight of petfood

Two senators have asked the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to increase its oversight of petfood after a lawsuit accused Nestle Purina’s Beneful of harming and killing dogs.
Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, and Dick Durbin, D-Illinois, sent a letter to FDA asking it to investigate the claims and to provide an update on how it is implementing previous laws that require contamination prevention measures in petfood.
“To put it frankly, the food safety system Congress fought to develop has not been put in place by the FDA,” the senators wrote in the letter addressed to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.
A class action lawsuit was filed February 4 by a California man alleging that Purina added propylene glycol, an automotive antifreeze component, to Beneful, causing illness and death to his dogs.
In response to the suit, Nestle Purina said: “We at Beneful want you, our valued customers, to know that this lawsuit is baseless; you can continue to feel confident feeding your dogs our food. We stand committed to our Brand, our products and your pets.”
The class action claims that the defendants have received more than 3,000 online complaints about their food making dogs sick throughout the past four years. In some cases, the dogs reportedly suffered internal bleeding, weight loss, dehydration and other symptoms. The suit alleges negligence, misrepresentation, product liability and unfair business practices. The plaintiff is seeking more than $5 million in damages, plus costs and fees.
“To our knowledge, the FDA has not issued any investigations, warnings, consumer guidance, or product recalls to address these alarming issues,” the senators wrote.
The letter cites the FDA Amendments Act of 2007, which requires various changes such as improving regulations for petfood safety, strengthening labeling requirements, establishing an early warning system for contaminated products, and setting ingredient and processing standards.
“However, eight years later, most provisions of the petfood safety law have not been implemented and protections Congress enacted are not in place, amid allegations of contaminated Beneful dry kibble,” the senators wrote.
 The eight kinds of dry Beneful food scrutinized in the lawsuit are Purina Beneful Healthy Smile, Healthy Fiesta, Healthy Growth for Puppies, Healthy Radiance, Healthy Weight, Incredibites, Original and Playful Life.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Moody’s downgrades J.M. Smucker

    Moody’s Investors Service downgraded J.M. Smucker by two notches to Baa2 on March 10, 2015, on expectations that the company’s debt-financed acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands will increase leverage. J.M. Smucker agreed to buy Big Heart Pet Brands for US$3.2 billion in February.
    J.M. Smucker is expected to come to the bond market soon, as it has mandated banks to arrange US fixed income investor calls. Moody’s says J.M. Smucker’s leverage will rise to 4x earnings after the deal closes from 2.3x now.
    J.M. Smucker’s acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands will be funded through a US$1.75 billion five-year bank term loan, and the bonds are expected to refinance a US$3.75 billion bridge loan, according to a report.
    "Other key considerations include the recent high earnings volatility in the company's coffee business and significant integration and execution risks related to its entree into the attractive, but highly competitive, pet food industry where Big Heart competes against larger companies and stronger brands in mainstream and specialty pet foods," Moody's said.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Acquisition of PetSmart by BC Partners complete

    The acquisition of PetSmart Inc. by a consortium led by BC Partners was completed on March 11, 2015.
    PetSmart shareholders will receive $83 per share in cash, representing a premium of approximately 39% over PetSmart’s unaffected closing share price on July 2, 2014. The transaction was approved by PetSmart stockholders at a special meeting of stockholders held on March 6, 2015. As a result of the completion of the acquisition, the common stock of PetSmart will no longer be listed for trading on NASDAQ and PetSmart expects no further trading after the close of business on March 11, 2015.
    “Today is an important day in PetSmart’s history. We are committed to actively investing in long-term growth opportunities for PetSmart and delivering for its customers and their pets for many years to come,” said Raymond Svider, a managing partner at BC Partners.
    PetSmart’s David K. Lenhardt will step down from his role as president and CEO. He will be replaced by Michael J. Massey. Svider will become non-executive chairman of the board of directors.
    “I have been honored and privileged to lead this great company,” Lenhardt said. “My 15-year journey with PetSmart is filled with wonderful memories of our passionate associates who represent the best and brightest in retail. I am confident that PetSmart will continue to lead the industry by creating more moments for people to be inspired by pets."
    Massey, who will be based at PetSmart headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona, USA, said: “I am honored today to be appointed to this role and look forward to building upon the heritage and reputation that PetSmart has established as the most admired pet retailer. I am excited to work closely with the PetSmart team to bring the brand ever closer to the hearts of pet parents everywhere. I’m confident that PetSmart’s future will be one defined by growth, increased opportunities for our team and closer emotional connections with our customers.”
    Massey joins PetSmart with more than 25 years of experience in the retail industry, with specific expertise in using research and insights to develop a more personalized, holistic customer experience.

Rações Zêzere opens factory for pet food subsidiary

    Portugal’s Rações Zêzere has launched a new factory for its petfood subsidiary, Maxipet, in Ferreira do Zezere, Portugal. The factory’s equipment was designed by FAMSUN, a Chinese company specializing in livestock feed production.
    Rações Zêzere, government-owned and one of Portugal's largest conglomerates, was founded in 1981 and is an industry leader in Portugal's animal feed and egg production. The company produces more than 200 products that are internationally recognized and command significant market share throughout Portugal and neighboring areas in Europe. In 2014, total sales reached EUR250 million (US$265.6 million).
    “Maxipet's project has received investment of more than EUR5 million,” Maxipet CEO Luis Guilherme said at the opening ceremony. “The factory totals 45,000 square meters, including a 5,500-square-meter workshop. FAMSUN's machinery will produce 8-10 tons of pet feed per hour, allowing Maxipet to meet 60% of the market demand and Rações Zêzere to strengthen its market position in line with European standards. The company will continue to produce high-quality petfood while minimizing production costs, which will overall ensure maximum profits and a solid future."
    This is FAMSUN’s first petfood production line, which signifies the European market's importance to the company.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Dogswell acquires two pet products companies

    Dogswell L.L.C., a premium, high-quality pet consumables company, has acquired Natural American Pet Products (NAPP) and Natural Life Pet Products (NLPP). The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
    Natural American Pet Products is an SQF-certified production plant based in Joplin, Missouri, USA, that develops and produces high-quality premium chicken, beef, and duck pet treats. Founded in 1986, Natural Life Pet Products is based in Pittsburg, Kansas, USA, and specializes in premium, nutritious and flavorful petfood and treats using all natural ingredients.
    “We are thrilled to welcome NAPP and NLPP into the Dogswell family,” said Brad Casper, CEO of Dogswell. “The additions of NAPP and NLPP give our company vertical integration in the premium, high-quality pet treat space. This will further our mission of providing pet parents with a continued and increasing supply of innovative, great-tasting petfood and treats, including jerky and other delicious and nutritious propositions.”
    “We are excited about this new chapter in our company’s evolution,” said Kaleb Terlip, chief operating officer for NAPP/NLPP. “Dogswell represents an ideal fit for our employees, vendors and loyal pet parents, and this transaction will enable us to significantly increase production capabilities to support a rapidly growing portfolio of premium pet treats.”
    Based in Los Angeles, Califoria, USA, Dogswell markets and sells brands under the Dogswell, Happy Hips, Vitality, Nutrisca, and LiveFree brand names throughout the USA and Canada.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Wellness introduces TruFood, expands CORE line

    Wellness Natural Pet Food had debuted a new product line, TruFood, and has expanded its CORE product line.
    Wellness TruFood features whole prey protein, raw produce and antioxidants. It is blended by hand and baked in small batches to create delicious, natural meals. Made with colorful ingredients you can see like chicken, beets, coconut oil, kale, pumpkin and live active yogurt cultures, TruFood recipes are living proof that real nutrition is the most fundamental source of health and happiness for your pets.
    “Our new Wellness TruFood line helps provide pets with the wholesome, natural, grain-free nutrition they need to support their overall health and well-being,” says Camelle Kent, chief commercial officer at WellPet. “Real nutrition—nutrition you can see through vibrantly colored fruits and vegetables and whole prey proteins—is the most fundamental source of health and happiness for your pets. We’re thrilled to unveil our newest recipes for dogs and cats of all sizes, palates and stages of life.”
    The new Wellness TruFood line for dogs and cats is natural, grain-free and offered in a variety of sizes and flavors to accommodate any pet’s palate across all stages of life. Available at pet specialty retailers nationwide in April, Trufood features four categories of food options: Baked Blends, Tasting Pairings Wet Food, RAW Goodness treats, and CocoChia Bakes treats.
    CORE is Wellness Pet Food’s popular grain-free, protein-focused line, which now includes air dried toppers for dogs and cats and two varieties of wet recipes for dogs, all packed with high-quality protein and balanced with fresh fruits and vegetables.
    The new additions, which will be available at pet specialty retailers nationwide in April, can all be served as complete and balanced meals, tender toppers or protein-rich treats.