Monday, February 28, 2011

Nestle sales increase attributed to strong petfood sales in 2010

Nestle SA reported strong petfood sales in North America and revenue growth in developing countries as reasons for the company's 6% sales increase to nearly US$116 billion in 2010, according to the Glendale News-Press.
The company's biggest challenge remains in developed countries, where effects of the recession are still being felt with lower sales, said the company's CEO, Paul Bulcke. Revenue from developing nations like Africa, Latin America and Asia grew 11% in 2010, compared with about 3% in North America and Western Europe, according to CFO Jim Singh. Singh said the petfood market offers the company more growth as the number of people with companion pets is growing at a rate of 2% per year.
Nestle leaders also said that despite a rise in the cost of raw materials, the company anticipates revenue growth between 5% and 6% in 2011.

Friday, February 25, 2011

When it comes to petfood, 'going raw' may now have two meanings

Now this was unexpected. According to an article in USA Today, wildlife officials in Florida say recent trends in petfoods have spurred an illegal internet business hawking wild game.
Citing the "prey model" pet dietFlorida Today writer Jim Waymer quotes Lieutenant George Wilson, head of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Internet Crimes Unit: "The philosophy behind it is feeding your pet a hormone-free, naturally grazed diet. We're seeing solicitations for wild ducks, anything wild." Wilson said his unit has arrested 177 people and issued 92 warnings to date for the illegal buying or selling of raw wildlife, and he claims some of those people were making purchases for their pets.
 The article also says pet owners are posting queries on sites such as Craigslist and eBay, saying they are seeking animals such as squirrels, pheasant, rabbits, geese, ducks, chickens -- "just about any game to feed their cats and dogs," Waymer writes. "Some seek raw fish, meaty bones and organs such as hearts, livers and kidneys -- everything a growing carnivore needs."
 Neither Wilson nor Waymer make a direct, specific link to growing commercial (and legal!) petfood categories such as raw and "wild." The latter typically features low or no grains and higher levels of meat (often fresh meat). But the writer does refer to the 2007 melamine-related petfood recalls, saying "going raw may have gotten a boost" from that situation.
 Other than the numbers provided by Wilson, Waymer doesn't cite any data for how prevalent this practice is. Have you heard of it happening anywhere besides Florida, or have you seen such solicitations online? Do you see any link between the commercial raw and wild pet diets increasingly available in pet stores and other retail outlets, and these illegal sales of wild game?

Higher feed prices mean tough choices for consumers and their pets

Consumers may be forced to make choices regarding their companion animals' food as the prices for corn and grain rise, driving up feed prices, according to
In the last 12 months, the commodity values for corn and grain have nearly doubled, the US Department of Agriculture reported. As of February 7, corn prices were US$6.98 a bushel, which is up from US$3.86 at the same time last year, according to Peggy Burns of USDA. These higher commodity prices are passed on to consumers through higher feed prices, which has forced some consumers to seek alternative ways of feeding their pets or to give up their pets altogether.
“You don’t see as many with just companion only type of pets; things are tighter and they’re stretching money to make ends meet,” said One Stop Feed employee Austin Hale.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

European Food Safety Authority issues guidance on petfood additives

The European Food Safety Authority Panel on Additives and Products or Substances used in Animal Feed, FEEDAP, published a guidance for assessing additives in petfood
FEEDAP's opinion, "Guidance on the assessment of additives intended to be used in pets and other non food-producing animals," was published February 1 by EFSA Journal. The guidance was issued at the request of EFSA to assist applicants in the preparation and presentation of their applications.
To view FEEDAP's guidance, visit EFSA's Journal website.

University of Illinois grad student awarded Nutro Natural Pet Nutrition Fellowship

University of Illinois graduate student Alison Beloshapka of Manhattan, Illinois, USA, has been awarded one of the first Nutro Co. Natural Pet Nutrition Fellowships to fund her tuition and fees for three years of PhD training.
“When I discovered that the Nutro Co. would be funding my PhD career, I was surprised and excited,” said Beloshapka. “I wasn’t expecting to receive funding from a petfood company for the rest of my graduate career. It is reassuring to know they care enough about companion animal nutrition to invest so much into research.” Beloshapka will complete the majority of her animal research in Leicestershire, England, at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition. Waltham is the global scientific and research headquarters of Mars Inc. (owners of Nutro) and employs more than 150 research scientists with expertise in nutrition, animal physiology, behavior and molecular biology.
The petfood industry has a continuing need for graduates trained in the field of canine and feline nutrition, said Kelly Swanson, University of Illinois associate professor in animal nutrition and functional genomics and Beloshapka’s graduate advisor. “I’m pleased to see a company make a serious investment in graduate education,” said Swanson. “While many companies collaborate with academic institutions to solve basic or applied research problems, an investment purely in graduate education is unique. By funding this fellowship, the Nutro Co. has acknowledged and acted on this need.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Purina launches search for 'Purina Cat Chow Correspondent'

Purina has launched a search for the "Purina Cat Chow Correspondent" as part of a plan to connect with cat owners all over the US.
The person chosen for the role will travel the country and connect with fellow cat owners about how they nurture well-being in their cats. The correspondent will also report on cat-interest stories and attend pet industry events. 
Applications for the one-year position with Purina will be accepted until March 28, 2011. There will also be five casting calls at various PetSmart stores throughout the country.

The Nutro Co. donates 1 million cat meals to the Petco Foundation

In February, the Nutro Co. donated more than one million meals of its Natural Choice cat food to the Petco Foundation's petfood bank program via collection bins in Petco stores nationwide.
"It's important to the Nutro Co. to give back and support a healthy lifestyle for all pets, which starts with a well-balanced diet," said Kent Cunningham, vice president of marketing.
The Petco Foundation established a nationwide network of petfood banks by placing collection bins in Petco stores for customers to drop off food or cat litter donations. Each Petco store then partners with an existing human food bank or animal welfare group's petfood bank to give the petfood donations directly to economically-stressed pet owners in the community. Since its launch in February 2010, the Petco Foundation has collected 500,000 pounds of food and added 400 new charitable partners, according to Petco.

New US food safety bill means changes for importers

The US Food and Drug Administration Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law on Jan. 4, will have a significant impact on food importers, who will need to focus on things like foreign supplier verification programs, certifications and inspections to comply with the new rules.
Regulations will require each importer to have a program to ensure that food produced outside the US is subject to procedures that provide the same level of public health protection as is required of producers in the US. Importers will be obligated to evaluate hazards that could affect food manufactured, processed, packed or held by an exporting facility and to implement controls to minimize or prevent the occurrence of such hazards. Suggested verification activities include monitoring records for shipments, lot-by-lot certification, annual on-site inspections, checking the hazard analysis and risk-based preventive control plans of foreign suppliers and periodically testing and sampling shipments. 
In addition, importers may be required to certify that food imports comply with relevant provisions of the act. The bill charges the Department of Health and Human Services with making a risk-based determination of when and what type of certification or other assurances will be required. The risk-based determination will consider what food safety programs, systems and standards exist in the place of origin of the food. Possible forms of certification include shipment-specific certification or a listing of certified facilities that manufacture, process, pack or hold the imported food.
Finally, to improve the safety of imported food further, the act calls for the identification and inspection of food at ports of entry. The Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, will allocate resources to inspect any article of food imported into the U.S. according to the known safety risks of that article. The act also calls for the inspection of foreign food facilities, suppliers and food types. If a foreign food facility denies inspection, or the government of a foreign country refuses to permit the entry of inspectors, imports of food from that facility will be refused admission into the US. 
Officials suggest that importers review and update existing policies and procedures to ensure compliance with the new laws.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

'Prey model' pet diet sparks illegal online wild game business

The "prey diet," which involves feeding animals raw game similar to what they would hunt in the wild, has jump-started an illegal wild game-selling business on the Internet, according to Florida officials quoted in a USA Today article.
According to wildlife investigators, people caught selling raw meat without a permit face up to five years in jail and a US$5,000 fine. Those buying the illegally obtained game face up to six months in jail and a US$500 fine. "It's happening nationwide," said Lt. George Wilson, head of the Florida Fish and Wildlife's Internet Crimes Unit. "The philosophy behind it is feeding your pet a hormone-free, naturally grazed diet. We're seeing solicitations for wild ducks, anything wild." So far, the crime unit has logged 177 arrests and 92 warnings for cases involving illegally buying or selling raw wildlife, and some of those involved have been purchasing for their pets.
For now, raw wild game for pets is difficult to come by legally because the market is so small. Officials say that people attempting to buy from illegal sources online have been given warnings, but that leniency won't last forever. "Our interest here is to protect our natural resources," said Wilson. "If this is allowed to go unchecked, it could create a black market that would impact the populations of wildlife in Florida."

Normerica offers natural petfood products for dogs, cats

Normerica Inc. offers a complete line of natural petfood products, for cats and dogs, made with environmentally friendly packaging and manufacturing processes.
Normerica sells products from VitaLife, which produces dog treats and other natural petfood products. The all-natural products have no added salt, glycerin or sorbitol. 
The company also sells other pet products, including litter pans, pet transporters, feeders and drinkers, cat litter scoops and pet bowls. Normerica sells floor protection pads specifically for dogs, and offers cat litter that comes in scoopable, crystal and pine.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Preservative TBHQ may present hazards in petfood

Tertiary butylhydroquinone, TBHQ, is a chemical preservative used in food and petfood to delay the onset of rancidness and greatly extend the storage life of foods.
According to an article by Shona Botes on, the Food and Drug Administration allows amounts of up to 0.02% of the total oils in food to be TBHQ, but consuming high doses (between 1 and 4 grams) can cause nausea, delirium, collapse, tinnitus and vomiting. Long-term, high doses of TBHQ in laboratory animals have shown a tendency for the animals to develop cancerous precursors in their stomachs and begin to present DNA damage.

Honest Kitchen re-launching trial-size packaging

The Honest Kitchen has re-designed the packaging for its trial size boxes of petfood to replicate the full-size, eco-friendly boxes for which the company is known.
“The size and dimensions of our new trial sizes have been designed with the canned-food customer in mind,” said company founder Lucy Postins. “We really want to help stores promote the versatility of our products and we’re expecting that many stores will situate our new trial size boxes in the canned food aisle to introduce The Honest Kitchen as a whole food alternative to canned food. The trial size boxes also work well next to freezers to complement a raw food diet.”
The company’s new trial size packaging holds four ounces of dehydrated, whole food ingredients for pets and will hydrate to make one pound of fresh food. The company is also anticipating that the new trial size boxes will be used as a meal-on-the-go for traveling pets. The mini boxes will be available on stores shelves in March.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Nature's Logic donates over US$50,000 in petfood to animal non-profits

Nature’s Logic announced the company donated more than US$50,000 worth of free petfood to non-profit organizations dedicated to the health and welfare of animals in the past three years.
“We believe that all pets deserve the best, including those not yet lucky enough to be in a forever home with a loving family,” said Scott Freeman, owner of Nature’s Logic. “The recipients tell us we are making a significant contribution to their communities, by helping them feed high quality diets to pets in need, something their tight budgets seldom allow.”

Xylitol poses expanding risk to dogs as more products take out sugar

The popular sugar substitute xylitol has always posed a deadly threat to dogs, but that threat is expanding as xylitol finds its way into vitamins and commonly prescribed drugs that used to be safe for canines—and now aren't.
According to veterinarian Patty Khuly, DVM, this expansion poses a risk that veterinarians, their pharmacists and their clients must all be aware of. "I used to recommend Flintstones vitamins for my patients," she said in Fully Vetted, a blog for those with an interest in pets. "Now I have to caution my clients to stick to pet-only brands and to be very diligent about reading labels. But it took months before I became aware of the change in this brand's ingredients."
Preparations of common human pediatric drugs prescribed by veterinarians for their own animal patients are now worth an extra look, said Dr. Khuly, as xylitol could be substituted into any of them without veterinarians being aware of the ingredient change. Pediatric elixers, in particular, are being reformulated for greater palatability, using xylitol.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Procter & Gamble to air 'Extraordinary Dogs' television series in US

Procter & Gamble will air a 13-episode series called “Eukanuba Extraordinary Dogs," scheduled to premier in the first quarter of 2011.
The series of 30-minute episodes aims to show what extraordinary and challenging creatures dogs are, according to the company. The series is also intended to offer media support for the relaunch of P&G's Eukanuba  petfood brand. "Eukanuba Extraordinary Dogs" will air in the US on the Documentary Channel.

Mocon Inc. announces 2011 free petfood, food safety webinar schedule

Mocon Inc. announced the 2011 schedule for its free webinar series, which will cover topics such as petfood safety, product shelf-life and packaging.
Each webinar will be taught by an expert with significant experience in the specific webinar subject. Presenters typically speak for 30 to 40 minutes, after which attendees will have the option to ask questions.
The following webinars will begin at 10 a.m. CDT (US): Food Safety: Same Day Analysis/Results for Food Product Bacteria Screening on March 9;
Using Sensory and Instrument Approaches for Off-Odor/Aroma Detection on April 13;
Case Study: Food Product Shelf Life on May 11;
Introduction to Modified Atmosphere Packaging I on June 8;
Introduction to Modified Atmosphere Packaging II on July 13;
Testing Solutions for Beverage Applications on Aug. 10;
New Demands on Medical Device/Pharmaceutical Testing on Sept. 14;
Oxygen Transmission Rate Testing for High Barrier Materials on Oct. 12;
Shelf-life Studies: Basics on Nov. 9; and 
Shelf-life Studies: Advanced on Dec. 10.
To view class details and registration information, visit Mocon's website. After registration is confirmed, participants will be given a link to access the online visual presentation. Audio is accessible as VoIP or by call-in telephone number.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Hill's Pet Nutrition partners with two distributors to spread nutritional assessment awareness

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has announced a new partnership with Butler Schein Animal Health and Webster Veterinary in an effort to help spread awareness among veterinarians and their healthcare teams about nutritional assessments.
According to reports, only one in 10 pets in the US that need the benefits of a therapeutic petfood are fed one. The biggest opportunity to communicate with pet owners about proper pet nutrition is through increased veterinary and healthcare team recommendations. “Greater coverage and reach will ultimately help increase the number of pets that receive a nutritional recommendation, which will have a tremendously positive impact on their health and wellbeing," said Kostas Kontopanos, president of Hill’s US. “We are very pleased to join forces with two of the largest national veterinary distributors. They will help us better serve our veterinary customers, as well as improve veterinary practice health.”
The partnership will take effect in April with all Hill’s customers in the following states: 
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas

Canidae releases TidNips line of soft pet treats

Canidae Pet Foods has announced the launch of TidNips, a new line of healthy, soft treats for dogs and cats.
The new line will be available in the first quarter of 2011, with three formulations for dogs (chicken, turkey, lamb and salmon; chicken and rice; and lamb and rice) and one for cats (chicken and rice). "Cat and dog owners who want to offer their pets a soft treat made with the highest quality ingredients are going to love our new TidNips line," said Frank Hon, director of operations for Canidae. "These treats contain high-quality protein sources like real chicken, lamb and salmon [and] have Vitamin E and Omega-3 fatty acids for healthy coat and skin."

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Local, independent petfood stores get sales boost from organic petfood

Local and independent petfood suppliers looking to stand out from their big-box competitors are turning to organic, raw and gluten-free petfood for inspiration.
Annual retail sales of organic and natural petfood are expected to grow three times as fast — 12% a year on average to $2.8 billion by 2015 — as petfood sales overall, according to a recent Packaged Facts report. "People are treating their dog food like some people are treating their baby food," said Todd Martin, vice president of marketing for Castor & Pollux Pet Works. "They want to know it's safe and they want to know it's quality." Annual organic petfood sales increased to US$84 million from 2002 to 2009, according to the Organic Trade Association, but remain a small part of the overall market, partially because it can cost up to 30% more than non-organic petfood.
Organic food is becoming popular enough that some large pet store chains are beginning to stock up, but for now the more exotic options remain plentiful only in independent shops. "My clientele are probably mostly single, more single women than not, and what I am finding is that [their pets] are their kids," said Neal Massa, co-owner of California-based My Pet Naturally. "So you are going to spend a little bit more money for petfood."

FDA-CVM causes confusion with therapeutic pet diet guidance published online

The US Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine recently published statements from CVM Director Dr. Bernadette Dunham that caused enough confusion for the comments to be pulled from the December 15 issue of the Federal Veterinarian.
The confusion came when Dunham addressed the serious nature of therapeutic diets, noting in a Q&A session that petfoods branded as "prescription" or "therapeutic" truly need to come out of a veterinarian's office, released by prescription. “Requiring a valid prescription and restricting the sale of the food through a licensed veterinarian are safeguards against unintended harmful effects," she said. "Because the manufacturer requires a prescription, the food cannot be sold or marketed like the petfood you see in stores.” That statement struck many veterinarians as contrary to their belief that the agency's regulatory purview did not extend beyond legend drugs to include petfoods. It also raised questions concerning whether veterinarians should continue to apply sales tax to therapeutic diets in states that exempt prescription medications.
The confusion incited discussion throughout the veterinary profession, leading Federal Veterinarian to truncate the published responses in the Q&A. "In our attempt to clarify our regulatory authority with regard to therapeutic diets, we unfortunately (and unnecessarily) caused confusion ...," said Laura Alvey, FDA-CVM spokeswoman. "We are looking at ways to provide clearer information."

Monday, February 14, 2011

Animal advocate pledges to eat dog food until Nitro's Law is reintroduced in Ohio House

Animal advocate, dog trainer and author Nikki Moustaki has promised to eat dog food for one meal every day in an effort to gain awareness for and the passage of an anti-animal cruelty bill called Nitro's Law.
The Ohio-based law, formerly known as House Bill 70, would increase the penalty to a fifth degree felony for egregious acts of animal cruelty by the animal's caretaker, punishable by a year in jail per count. The bill is named after Nitro, a Rottweiler who was left in the care of High Caliber K-9 boarding kennel in October 2008. His human family came back to find seven dead and 12 starving dogs at the facility. The facility owner, Steve Croley, was sentenced to four months in jail and a fine after four misdemeanor charges were pursued. He also had his American Kennel Club privileges revoked for 10 years, and the AKC fined him $2,000.
"This isn't just a local issue, it's a national issue," said Moustaki. "This didn't happen in my home state, but as someone who speaks up for animals, I consider them all in my backyard. Animals don't vote, but their owners do. If this can happen in Ohio, it can happen anywhere, and it's important for people to be aware of the laws in their state."
Moustaki said she hopes to get pet lovers from all 50 states involved in her campaign, which includes eating on-camera and posting the videos on YouTube. "Ideally, other dog owners will join in on this with me," said Moustaki. "If we can create a movement, no matter how 'doggone crazy' eating dog food might seem, we might be able to make a positive change."

Hill's Science Diet responds to criticism regarding top petfood claim

Hill's Science Diet has released a statement responding to the negative criticism aimed at a study that dubbed Science Diet as the number one dog and cat food brand.
The primary consumer concern revolves around the belief that grain-based petfoods, of which Science Diet is one, are bad for animals. "Corn and other grains used in Hill's products, rather than serve as filler, are carefully selected by our veterinary nutritionists," said Hill's statement. "They help deliver the precise balance of nutrients in each product that our research shows provides the optimal level for wellness." Corn, the statement continues, provides highly digestible carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, beta-carotene, vitamin E, lutein and quality proteins, all of which are important for animal health.
Another concern addressed by Hill's statement questions the quality of the company's ingredients. "We only use high-quality ingredients in the production of our petfood, and we carefully source all ingredients to ensure they meet that standard of quality," said Hill's. "Our ingredients include by-products, which are common ingredients found in both human [food] and petfood. Chicken by-product meal is a high quality, very palatable, concentrated source of protein. The chickens are sourced from human grade processing plants. Meat by-products consist of the non-rendered, clean parts, other than meat from slaughtered mammals."
The company ended its statement by defending its integrity, which also came under question. "Reckless statements online about our use of ingredients are false and suggest behavior at Hill's that is contrary to our values as an organization of people dedicated to enhancing and lengthening the bond between people and their pets, and who also love our own pets," said Hill's.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Former CEO explains reasons behind company's shutdown

Former Chief Executive Julie Wainwright discussed why shut down, after a recent article made the comparison between Wainwright's and startup company,
In her comments , Wainwright said that her company did not go out of business because it was selling petfood for below cost, as the article claimed, and pointed out that the company's average order was around US$37, only half of which included petfood. She also noted that in 2000, the company had to employ more than 40 engineers because there were no "plug and play" solutions for ecommerce management and customer service, in addition to needing several IT staffers to ensure the site did not crash since cloud computing did not exist. 
Wainwright also attributed the closure of to the fact that of the US$260 million in funding needed to break even, the company had only raised US$180 million and felt it would be impossible to raise the rest. believed that the company should be shut down to return money to shareholders instead of being forced to declare bankruptcy, according to Wainwright.

Consumers still concerned with source of petfood ingredients

Despite increased regulation in the petfood market, consumers are still concerned with the safety of their pet's food and where the ingredients are sourced from, according to a Baltimore Sun article.
Knowing where products come from may offer consumers the best chance at making informed choices when selecting a petfood. In 2007, for example, petfood companies in China illegally added melamine and cyanuric acid to mimic increased protein levels in products that were exported to the US. Illinois, USA, Senator Dick Durbin, who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee overseeing food safety, called for a hearing on the recall of these tainted petfood products and said that while it is not realistic to stop importing from countries like China, additional inspections may be one option for increased safety. Nearly all vitamins and minerals for human and pet consumption are imported to the US from China, according to Tiffany Bierer, health, sciences and nutrition manager at Mars Petcare US.
"At Mars, we have people on the ground in China, auditing facilities. All petfood companies can't say that. Also, check the packaging to ensure the product is manufactured in the US, if that is important to you," Bierer said. "Consumers do have the right to ask these types of question. Nearly all petfood brands include a phone number on the packaging."

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Greenies helps establish Veterinary Oral Health Council for pet dental products

The Nutro Co.'s Greenies oral health brand partnered with the American Veterinary Dental College to create the Veterinary Oral Health Council, an international organization that awards a Seal of Acceptance to pet oral health products meeting its criteria.
VOHC is made up of board certified veterinary dentists, who establish criteria and testing protocols to rank the effectiveness of pet products in helping to control plaque and tartar. VOHC awards a Seal of Acceptance to those products in compliance with its criteria.
Though February is National Pet Dental Health Month, 160 million pets do not receive any oral care, according to a study conducted January 10 by Trone Inc. VOHC aims to make it easier for consumers to provide this for their pets, as the majority of veterinarians say the VOHC seal is an important factor in selecting a dental treat, according to The Nutro Co.  
“The VOHC seal confirms a product is efficacious in reducing buildup of plaque and tartar, the leading cause of oral disease, which can reduce a pet’s healthy lifespan,” said Dr. Jan Bellows, incoming AVDC president.

Victam International 2011 to include Petfood Forum Europe among events

The first Victam International show since 2007 will be held this year and will include such events as an opening speech by the president of the European Feed Manufacturers Federation, several technical seminars and Petfood Forum Europe 2011.
“It has been four years since the last Victam International exhibition and a lot has happened in the industries that this world famous exhibition serves," said Henk van de Bunt, general manager at Victam. "This will be reflected in this new event. There will now be three trade shows within the exhibition hall and seven different conferences for the international delegates to attend." The event, which will be held in Cologne, Germany, will have 300 exhibitors from 28 countries and will focus on everything from the manufacturing of petfood and aqua feeds to equipment for production plants and distribution systems.
Petfood Forum Europe will take place on May 4, the second day of Victam International.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

SPF wins 2011 Global Pets Forum Award

SPF, the global petfood palatant company headquartered in France, was announced as the winner of the 2011 Global Pets Forum Award on January 27 during the Global Pets Forum conference in Barcelona, Spain. The conference and award are organized by Pets International magazine.  
Criteria for the award included breakthrough innovation (significant, true innovation) that was relevant to the pet industry and showed results for the company. Other criteria included searching for and re-applying innovation from other industries and showing evidence of establishing and implementing a corporate social responsibility program.
“SPF is completely dedicated to the petfood industry. The firm has presented more concrete actions and tangible initiatives than any other nominees,” said Rob Vigoureux, PhD, director of FACTA international and chairman of the award jury.
Besides SPF, the other nominees for the award included DSM Nutritional Products, based in Switzerland; FURminator Professional Pet Products from the US; and Nano Pet Products, also based in the US.

Loyall premium petfood now available at select Tractor Supply Co. stores

Cargill's Loyall premium petfood  line for dogs is now available at select Tractor Supply Co. stores in the midwestern and southwestern United States.
The stores carry four Loyall formulas: Puppy, Active Adult, Lamb Meal and Rice, and Adult Maintenance.
"Loyall pet foods are specially formulated for dogs' individual needs, including their age and other important factors like activity level and sensitivities," said Andy Rash, marketing manager for the Loyall brand. "Our primary goal is to help pet owners achieve the optimum nutrition and exceptional health their companion animals deserve. As a destination for many devoted dog owners, TSC is a natural fit."

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

CNBC to air documentary examining regulation in the petfood industry Feb. 10

On Thursday, February 10, CNBC will air a documentary that goes inside the US$16 billion dollar petfood industry to determine what caused thousands of dogs and cats in North America to become seriously ill in 2007.
"Pet Food: A Dog's Breakfast," will examine regulation in the petfood industry, trying to answer the question, is petfood safe? The documentary will premiere on CNBC February 10 at 10 p.m Eastern Standard Time. It will repeat Friday, February 11 at 1 a.m. EST and again on Sunday, February 13 at 10 p.m. EST.

AFIA Pet Food Conference concludes at 2011 IFE in Atlanta

The American Feed Industry Association's Pet Food Committee was among the sponsors of the fourth annual Pet Food Conference, held Jan. 25-26 as part of AFIA's 2011 International Feed Expo  in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.
More than 20,000 visitors from over 100 different countries attended the 2011 Expo, which included the two-day petfood conference with a number of speakers. The international regulatory update was given by Dr. Gary Egrie of the National Center for Import and Export, while Svetlana Udislivaia of Euromonitor International addressed supply and demand in the international petfood market. Dr. Daniel McChesney provided an update on the Food and Drug Administration and the Food Safety Modernization Act. The conference concluded with a petfood manufacturing panel that featured representatives from The Nutro Company, P&G Pet Care and Snacks, WellPet LLC and Midwestern Pet Foods Inc.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Evermore Pet Food owners to eat dog food during month-long campaign

On March 1, Hanna Mandelbaum and Alison Wiener, owners of Evermore Pet Food Inc., will begin a month-long campaign of eating only Evermore petfood and recipes with its ingredients.
The campaign, Evermore Me, is an effort to promote and back the company's human-grade dog food formulas, coinciding with the regional launch into the northeastern US. Mandelbaum and Wiener will document their experience and post the results on the company's website. Because Evermore is specifically formulated to meet the nutritional requirements for dogs, the two will consult with a nutritionist to ensure they are eating a balanced diet during the month.
“This is not about the shock value of eating dog food,” said Wiener. “We want to stand behind our claims by demonstrating the integrity of our products.”

The Honest Kitchen implements vendor pledge system for petfood ingredients

The Honest Kitchen implemented a system of vendor pledges, which all suppliers will be required to complete and sign prior to providing raw petfood ingredients into the company’s human food grade production facility.
The vendor pledges require formal declaration and annual renewal from suppliers of each petfood ingredient that various criteria are met. These criteria, established by the Honest Kitchen, include: human edible status from harvesting and throughout all handling, screening and cleaning; statement of country of origin and a promise the ingredient does not originiate from China; adherence to good manufacturing practices (GMPs); ingredients that are not genetically modified or subject to engineered recombinant DNA technology; verification that it is free of chemical preservatives; sustainability and fair-trade attributes where applicable; and verification of screening for contaminants in accordance with human food safety standards.
“We’re excited to implement this important new step into our overarching pet food quality-control program,” said Lucy Postins, company founder and president. “We’ve always placed the highest priority on ingredient quality and integrity and have frequently dismissed vendors from even bidding on ingredient prices because we haven’t been happy with a particular aspect of their operations – so it makes total sense to put these pledges in place, not only for our own peace of mind but for our customers, too. Good whole food ingredients that are human-edible do cost more but pets are our priority.”

Friday, February 4, 2011

Businesses look to turn Great Lakes Asian carp invasion into profit through petfood, oil

A group of businesses in the Great Lakes area is developing a business plan to make Asian carp, an invasive species found in the Great Lakes, into a profitable food and byproduct.
Some restaurants already serve the fish on their menus, but food processing plants now have the idea of turning the carp into petfood and fish oil. State officials have said they will look at the plan when completed.

FDA announces new strategic plan for fighting antimicrobial resistance

The Food and Drug Administration's Center for Veterinary Medicine has announced a new National Antimicrobial Monitoring System Strategic Plan, "dedicated to the protection of human and animal health through integrated monitoring of antimicrobial resistance among enteric bacteria."
NARMS has four strategic goals: to develop, implement and optimize a shared database; to make sampling more representative and more applicable to trend analysis; to strengthen collaborative research; and to support international activities that promote food safety. The hope is that things like more representative sampling will catch more cases of contaminated petfood products before they hit store shelves. In addition, more oversight could check the conditions of food animals, preventing the overmedication that can lead to antimicrobial resistance.
The revised plan incorporates several recommendations made beginning with the initial program review in March 2007.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

GoodGuide: Rates the top 5 dog, cat food brands

GoodGuide studied 1,500 products in 50 brands of dog and cat food to rate the top products in dry and wet petfood, and Science Diet took the number one spot for both dog and cat food brand.
Ratings take into account things like concern for the environment, personal health and social responsibility to come up with scores in the categories of health, environment and society. The top-five rated brands, according to Good Guide, are:

Top 5 Cat Food Brands 
1. Science Diet
2. Eukanuba
3. Evo
4. Innova
5. Eagle Pack

Top 5 Dog Food Brands 
1. Science Diet
2. California Natural
3. Innova
4. Evo
5. Karma

In addition, GoodGuide provides consumer tips on buying the right petfood. Pet owners should look for products that show transparency by revealing such information as calories to better monitor pets' health. They should also choose foods that have undergone real-life tests, not just lab tests, which will be represented by a phrase like "Animal feeding tests using AFFCO procedures substantiate that (name of product) provides complete and balanced nutrition." Finally, consumers should pay close attention to marketing claims and verify them through other sources if possible.

PFMA: Pet fish now in 16% of Britain households

Fish have overtaken rabbits, budgies and guinea pigs as the third most popular pet in Britain, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association.
According to a PFMA study, 16% of people now own fish, only a few percentage points off the number two spot currently held by cats in 19% of households. Dogs still hold the number one spot with 23% of households owning a canine. “Now that more people are living in smaller homes and rented housing, it’s not always possible to have a cat or dog," said Tesco pet expert Clodagh Corbett. "By choosing a fish, children have all the enjoyment of looking after a pet without having to worry about space or scratched furniture and damaged walls.” Fish demand has increased by 17% over the last three years, according to the PFMA, with 12 million pet fish living indoors and another 18 million currently living in garden ponds.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Food Safety and Modernization Act affects petfood industry

The Food Safety and Modernization Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama on January 4, 2011, will affect petfood as well as human food as companies work to become compliant with the new rules set forth by the act.
Five areas of the act should be of particular focus to petfood manufacturers and processors:
  • Preventive controls: Petfood manufacturers and processors must implement preventive measures and controls versus fixes to quality issues after product has been shipped out.
  • Inspection and Compliance: The law now states how often the Food and Drug Administration should inspect petfood manufacturers. In addition, funding to safety and enforcement will increase, as will the field staff that performs inspections.
  • Importation: Petfood companies will now be required to verify and document that their foreign suppliers have adequate controls to ensure the safety of their products. Qualified third parties will certify that foreign petfood facilities comply with current US food safety standards and practices.
  • Recall Authority: The FDA will have mandatory recall authority for all petfood products.
  • Partnerships: The new law discusses the strengthening of existing relationships and the establishment of new partnerships to help achieve public health goals. 

Petfood in Taiwan passes all safety tests in 2010

Random checks on 402 different petfoods in Taiwan in 2010 turned up no safety violations, according to Taiwan's Council of Agriculture.
Tests for aflatoxin, Salmonella, T-2 toxins, melamine and heavy metals all came back with results meeting international standards. The results for aflatoxin are particularly significant because in 2009 it came to light that more than 300 dogs had died in Taipei after eating aflatoxin-contaminated dog food.

Hill's Pet Nutrition launches Healthy Advantage line in US

Hill’s Pet Nutrition Inc. has announced the US launch of Hill’s Science Diet Healthy Advantage, a new line of veterinary exclusive multi-benefit pet nutrition.
Science Diet Healthy Advantage focuses on oral health, weight management and feline bladder health. The petfood also contains benefits like skin and coat health, healthy digestion and canine mobility. The product will be available in both growth and adult formulas for dogs and cats beginning in March.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

RECALL: Merrick recalls Jr. Texas Taffy treats due to possible Salmonella contamination

Merrick Pet Care Inc. has recalled its Jr. Texas Taffy pet treats due to a possible Salmonella contamination, according to the company.
No illnesses have been reported in conjunction with the recall, according to Merrick. Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever and abdominal pain. Any pet that consumed the recalled product and exhibits these symptoms should be taken to a veterinarian immediately.

IFAW, partner to provide for animals in need

The International Fund for Animal Welfare has partnered with to help support IFAW's global efforts: for every new customer to sign up with PetFlow and create a food delivery schedule, PetFlow will donate US$40 to IFAW.
"A US$40 donation can go a long way towards assisting one of IFAW's many efforts across the globe," said Fred O'Regan, president and CEO. "It could vaccinate 20 street dogs in Bali to prevent rabies or provide enough formula to feed an orphan elephant in India for an entire week. This money could also provide a uniform, work boots and backpack for a ranger protecting elephants and other wildlife." As an extra incentive, PetFlow is offering free shipping for any order over US$59.

Almo Nature Love Food campaign provides 12,000 meals to UK animal shelters

Almo Nature's new Love Food campaign has resulted in the donation of 12,272 daily meals to animal charities around the United Kingdom.
The Love Food campaign was launched in December 2010 and will run until March 2011. During this period Almo Nature is donating 10% of its sales for each product line to help feed animals in shelters throughout the UK. "We are delighted at the success of the Love Food campaign," said Lorenzo Capellino, European director of Almo Nature. So far, the company has donated 10,160 daily meals for cats and 2,112 daily meals for dogs.

Walmart VP to speak at Petfood Forum 2011

Frank Yiannis, VP of food safety for Walmart, will provide the closing keynote address for Petfood Forum 2011 on Wednesday, April 13, during lunch. Yiannis will discuss the Global Food Safety Initiative and why Walmart is a committed, active member.
GFSI, a consortium of retailers and food companies from around the world, was launched in 2000 to foster continuous improvement in food safety management systems to ensure confidence in the delivery of food to consumers. Yiannis will explain GFSI's objectives, his work with behavior-based food safety and how petfood companies can adopt these principles.
Yiannis joined Walmart in 2008 and is responsible for oversight of food safety and other public health functions for all Walmart, Neighborhood Markets and Sam's Club stores, as well as regulatory compliance issues and training and education of employees and suppliers. Prior to joining the retailer, he served as director of safety and health for Walt Disney World Co. Yiannis is the author of Food Safety Culture: Creating a Behavior-Based Food Safety Management System (Spring Scientific). He earned a bachelor's degree in microbiology from the University of Central Florida and a master's in public health from the University of South Florida.