Thursday, February 28, 2013

Human health positively impacted by pet ownership, research finds

    Bob Vetere, president of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative Foundation, announced that over the past year, its online hub, HABRI Central, has collected extensive research and evidence available online for peer review in seven key areas. The Foundation identified the following seven key areas in which human health is positively impacted by animals: allergy and asthma immunity among children, Alzheimer’s, autism, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
    Among key findings in these seven fields, new research has shown that contact with companion animals can have physical benefits to those with post-traumatic stress disorder such as the release of oxytocin and endorphins in the brain; pets can have a protective effect for young children from allergies later in life; and patients who own a pet have a better survival rate of recovering from heart surgery.
    “Research exploring the human-animal bond is still a relatively new area of study and we are pleased with the compilation and strong amount of research that has been conducted on these health issues thus far,” said Vetere. “We look forward to continuing the momentum and our commitment to supporting research in multiple fields to help solidify that pets provide people with dozens of health benefits and much more than just love and companionship.”
    Vetere will discuss HABRI and its latest findings as the closing keynote speaker for Petfood Forum on April 17.

Alltech Symposium to focus on agribusiness, food safety challenges

    The 2013 Alltech International Symposium will focus on challenges agribusiness must overcome in the next seven years to be able to feed 7.4 billion people by 2020 when it is held May 19-22 in Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
    Seven key barriers that impede the world’s ability to feed an estimated 9 billion people by 2050 were identified by 25 agribusiness experts in a recently published International Food and Agribusiness Management Review article: government, losses in the food and ingredient supply chains, infrastructure, markets, politics and policies, science and innovation, and the environment. The Alltech Symposium will explore ways the industry can overcome these barriers and maintain or restore consumers’ perceptions of food safety and health.
    New for 2013, the Symposium will give attendees the opportunity to attend breakout session tracks, allowing them to participate in discussions ranging from algae and agriculture’s carbon footprint to nutrition and marketing. Discussions within this track selection may include:
    • The Business of Agriculture
    • Crisis Management
    • Farming Soils for the Future
    • Milk: The Perfect Food
    • Carbon Footprint, Sustainability and Profitability
    • Feeding for Fertility
    • Optimizing Rumen Function
    • Branding Food: A Taste of What Consumers Really Want
    • Reimagining Beef Production
    Nutrigenomics: A Nutrition Revolution
    • Interfacing Nutrition and Immunity
    • Experiences from the Field: Rethinking Animal Health
    • Farming the Sea
    • The Algae Opportunity
    • Feeding Your Friend: Companion Animal Nutrition
    • Connecting with Consumers through the World’s Premier Equestrian Event
    • Profit from the Core
    • Next Generation Foods
    • Celebrating the Farmer
    • Beyond the Brand: Customer Engagement
    • Farm to Fork: Branding All-Natural Omega-3 Pork to the Consumer
    • Communicating Diversity: A Dialogue with the Latin Market
    • The Changing Face of Media
    • Building a Successful Brand Beyond Your Home Market
    • Crops: An Extra Ton per 2.5 Acres?

    Discounted registration of US$599 is available now through April 15. Standard registration will be offered after April 15 for US$850. For more information, contact Alltech via email to

Pet owner launches homemade dog food supplements line

    Pet owner Fleur Bailey has created a new line of natural, homemade dog food supplements inspired by her Dalmation, “Maddie,” who lost her appetite undergoing chemotherapy for lymphoma.
    The Maddie’s Mash line of dog food supplements includes recipes prepared from all-natural, human-grade ingredients locally grown and raised in New York, USA. Bailey says the recipes in the Maddie’s Mash line promote healthy skin, a better immune system, stronger bones and joints, and fewer chronic digestive problems. Recipes include Maddie’s Turkey, as well as gluten-free Maddie’s Beef and Maddie’s Chicken. The meals come frozen in a 32-ounce recycled plastic container.
    Maddie’s Mash products are sold through and on the Maddie’s Mash website

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

RECALL: Hy-Vee issues voluntary recall of dog food products

    Hy-Vee Inc. has issued a voluntary recall of certain bags of Hy-Vee dog food due to elevated levels of aflatoxin, a chemical contaminant commonly found in corn, found in some samples, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
    Routine random tests conducted by the Iowa Department of Agriculture indicated higher-than-normal levels of aflatoxin in some samples of Hy-Vee dog food produced at a Kansas City plant operated by Pro-Pet LLC. Hy-Vee officials said the recall is voluntary and only conducted as a precautionary measure. No illnesses have been reported in dogs consuming the product, and the product does not pose a health risk to humans handling it. Hy-Vee officials have also removed all potentially affected products from Hy-Vee stores.
    The recalled products carry three different "Best By" dates and were distributed to Hy-Vee stores in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin between October 26, 2012, and January 11, 2013. 
    Customers are urged to check the "Best By" dates on any product they have at home and refrain from feeding any of the recalled products to their pets. Any bags of Hy-Vee dog food subject to the recall, whether opened or unopened, may be returned to Hy-Vee stores for a full refund.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Pet owners unaware of pet dental health importance, survey finds

    In conjunction with February’s National Pet Dental Health Month, Banfield Pet Hospital released results from its survey of pet owners, which found the majority of pet owners are unaware that a pet’s bad breath could be an indication of a greater health problem.
    According to the survey, conducted by The Pert Group, bad breath is an early sign of dental disease, which is the most common disease in pets, affecting 78 percent of dogs and 68 percent of cats over 3 years old. More than half (59 percent) of pet owners surveyed did not know that dental disease is the most common disease in cats and dogs.
    Although the survey found that more than half (57 percent) of dog owners admitted their pet has bad breath, just 6 percent cited bad smelling breath as a reason to schedule a dental cleaning. Nearly one-third (27 percent) of dog owners surveyed said they have purposely avoided cuddling closely with their dog because of bad breath.
    Despite bad breath, 62 percent of dog owners surveyed said they are not planning to take action to alleviate their pet’s bad breath, and 38 percent of dog owners and 29 percent of cat owners surveyed said they have taken their pet to the veterinarian for a professional teeth cleaning.
    “It’s a little concerning that more than half of dog owners believe their pet has bad breath but only a small percent would actually seek medical advice from a veterinarian. What pet owners don’t realize is that bad breath is often an indicator of something serious. Many people believe that bad dog breath is normal—it’s actually not,” said Jeffrey Klausner, DVM, senior vice president and chief medical officer for Banfield Pet Hospital. “Because dental disease is the most common disease affecting dogs and cats over the age of three, it’s critical that pet owners partner with their veterinarian when it comes to their pet’s preventive care, especially their oral health. Simple steps such as twice-yearly visits to the veterinarian and annual professional cleanings are important to keeping pets healthy and happy.”
    In an effort to address the issue of pet dental health, Banfield is offering a limited-time coupon for a dental consultation by a veterinarian, which can be downloaded from Banfield’s website during the month of February. Additionally, Banfield’s Facebook fans can enter the “Show Us Your Breath Face Sweepstakes” for a chance to win a one-year Optimum Wellness Plan with dental cleaning from Banfield. Facebook users can enter through March 30 by submitting photos of their facial expressions captured when smelling their pets’ bad breath. In addition to the grand prize, 50 first-prize winners will be selected to receive a Banfield Dental Health Kit. 

Monday, February 25, 2013

RECALL: The Honest Kitchen recalls Verve, Zeal, Thrive pet food products

    Pet food maker The Honest Kitchen is recalling five lots of its Verve, Zeal and Thrive pet food products after learning that one of its raw ingredients suppliers recalled a batch of human-grade parsley contaminated with Salmonella. The parsely, shipped to the pet food company in 2012, was used as an ingredient in the five lots of pet food being recalled.
    The recall applies to petfood manufactured between August 2012 and November 2012, sold throughout the US and Canada via retail stores, mail order and online. The lots being recalled, including item code, name, expiration date, size and lot number are:
    • V4 + VR, Verve, 8/20/12 through 8/20/13, 4 lb. and 10-lb. boxes, 2332A (batches 1-3)
    • VR, Verve, 11/1/12 through 11/1/13, 10-lb. box, 3062A (batches 8-9)
    • TM, Thrive, 9/18/12 through 9/18/13, 1-oz. sample, 2622A (batch 3)
    • Z4 + ZR, Zeal, 8/14/12 through 8/14/13, 4-lb. and 10-lb. boxes, 2272A (batches 1-5)
    • ZR, Zeal, 9/21/12 through 9/21/13, 10-lb. box, 2652A (batches 1-4)
    Consumers who purchased the recalled lots of Honest Kitchen Verve, Zeal or Thrive products should stop feeding the products to pets, remove the UPC (bar code) and lot code from the packaging, and discard the petfood products. Consumers can receive a replacement or refund of the affected products plus US$1 to cover postage, by mailing the UPC and lot code along with a completed reimbursement form to: The Honest Kitchen, 145 14th Street, San Diego, California 92101, Attn: Reimbursements. Refunds will be processed within five business days (plus postage time).
    Consumers with questions may contact the company at +1.866.437.9729, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., or via email to
    To supplement its quality control processes, The Honest Kitchen is enacting the following additional procedures:
    • All dehydrated leafy greens will be steamed to further protect against the possibility of Salmonella and other pathogens
    • All leafy greens will receive a second test for pathogens after arrival at the company's manufacturing facility, in addition to the testing conducted internally by suppliers
    • The company has discontinued its relationship with the supplier that provided the parsley used in the production of the lots being recalled

RECALL: Nutri-Vet recalls chicken jerky treats for possible Salmonella contamination

    Nutri-Vet LLC is recalling its Nutri-Vet and NutriPet chicken jerky products the pet treats may be contaminated with Salmonella.
    The pet treat recall was initiated because the manufacturer of an ingredient used in the products informed Nutri-Vet of the possibility of Salmonella presence at the manufacturing facility.
    Chicken jerky products affected by the recall have "Best By" dates between April 20, 2014, and October 3, 2014. The recalled chicken jerky products were distributed throughout the US via online sales and retail stores from April 2012 through February. The following is a list of recalled products, including item #, description, package size and UPC code:
    •76-0081 NutriPet Natural Chicken Fillet Strips 16-oz., 76-0081 (No bar code)
    •50704 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Joint Health 5-oz., 669125507049
    •50705 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Joint Health 15-oz., 69125507056
    •50706 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Glossy Coat 5-oz., 669125507063
    •50707 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Glossy Coat 15-oz., 669125507070
    •50708 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Stress and Anxiety 5-oz., 669125507087
    •50709 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Stress and Anxiety 15-oz., 669125507094
    •50710 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Fresh Breath 5-oz., 669125507100
    •50711 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Fresh Breath 15-oz., 669125507117
    •50712 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Senoir Dogs 5-oz., 669125507124
    •50714 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Healthy Digestion 5-oz., 669125507148
    •50716 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats for Healthy Weight 5-oz., 669125507162
    •50701 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats 5-oz., 669125507018
    •50702 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats 8-oz., 669125507025
    •50703 Nutri-Vet K9 Natural Chicken Breast Treats 16-oz., 669125507032
    •99044 Nutri-Vet K9 Hip & Joint Chicken Breast Strips 8-oz., 669125990445

    Nutri-Vet says no positive test results have been found on the Nutri-Vet or NutriPet chicken jerky treats to date. However, consumers who have purchased Nutri-Vet and NutriPet chicken jerky products are urged to stop feeding them to pets and return the treats to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Nutri-Vet at +1.877.729.8668, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT.

RECALL: Kasel recalls all dog treats manufactured at Colorado, USA, facility

    Kasel Associated Industries, a manufacturer of pet treats and chews, is voluntarily recalling all products manufactured at its Denver, Colorado, USA, facility from April 20, 2012, through September 19, 2012, due to possible Salmonella contamination.
    Recalled dog treat brands include: Boots & Barkley, BIXBI, Nature’s Deli, Colorado Naturals, Petco and Best Bully Stick items.
    The recalled dog treats were distributed through various retailers across the US between April 20 and September 19. The treats contain lot numbers with either a one-year or two-year "Best By" date. A complete list of all products, with UPC codes and lot numbers, can be found on the US Food and Drug Administration's website.
    Kasel Industries says it has not received any reports of illnesses to date in connection with these products.
    Consumers who have purchased any listed products should return them to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Kasel Associated Industries at +1.800.218.4417  Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. MDT.

RECALL: Kaytee recalls bird treats for possible Salmonella contamination

    Small-animal food manufacturer Kaytee Products is recalling several bird treats and greens items due to possible Salmonella contamination from parsley flake ingredients from Kaytee’s outside supplier Specialty Commodities Inc.
    A recall letter dated February 11 from Specialty Commodities was sent to Kaytee in reference to products manufactured as early as June 12, 2012. Kaytee says that although it has not received any positive test results for Salmonella in finished products, the recall is being initiated in accordance with US Food and Drug Administration guidelines.
    The following is a list of recalled products, including size, name, product code/SKU, UPC Code and "Best-Before" code:
    • 2-lb. Kaytee Fiesta Max Canary/Finch 100032244; 07185940410; 9/28/2013 through 5/7/2014
    • 3.5-oz. Kaytee Honey Treat - Parakeet 100032881; 07185900431; 12/6/2013 through 5/29/2014
    • 7-oz. Kaytee Forti-Diet ProHealth Honey Treat – Parakeet (Value Pack) 100032922; 07185955027; 12/4/2013 through 8/2/2014
    • 3.5-oz. Kaytee Honey Treat - Parakeet 100032982; 07185900434; 12/6/2013 through 8/2/2014
    • 3.5-oz. Kaytee Fiesta Fruit & Veggie Treat – Parakeet 100502615; 07185999885; 1/15/2014 through 7/24/2014
    • 9.5-oz. Kaytee Fiesta Fruit & Veggie Treat – Parakeet 100502749; 07185999855; 12/18/2013 through 7/31/2014
    • 3.5-oz. Kaytee Forti-Diet ProHealth Honey Treat – Parakeet 100502937; 07185994235; 12/5/2013 through 7/17/2014
    • 7-oz. Kaytee Forti-Diet ProHealth Honey Treat – Parakeet (Value Pack) 100502940; 07185994236; 12/4/2013 through 8/1/2014
    • 4-count Kaytee Forti-Diet ProHealth Munchables Shred-A-Box Honey Seed Treats 100503001; 07185994268; 3/7/2014 through 7/30/2014
    • 11-oz. Kaytee Forti-Diet ProHealth Molting & Conditioning – Small Birds 100503064; 07185994264; 12/25/2013 through 8/5/2014
    • 7-oz. Kaytee Honey Treat – Parakeet (Value Pack) 100503808; 07185955027; 12/6/2013 through 7/31/2014
    • 2.25-oz. Kaytee Fiesta Nutty Papaya Treat – Parakeet & Cockatiel 100504021; 07185994368; 12/4/2013 through 6/25/2014
    • 1.5-oz. Kaytee Fiesta Foraging Treat for Pet Birds 100504029; 07185994370; 1/27/2014 through 5/29/2014
    • 3.2-oz. Grreat Choice Treat Sticks for Small Birds (2 sticks) 100504971; 73725727166; 12/13/2013 through 2/4/2014
    • 9.6-oz. Grreat Choice Treat Sticks for Small Birds (6 sticks) 100504971; 73725727166; 12/10/2013 through 3/19/2014
    • 1.5-oz. Kaytee Foraging Box O’Fun Treat for Pet Birdstee Honey Treat – Parakeet (Value Pack) 100506593; 07185994615; 1/28/2014 through 7/30/2014
    • 1-oz. Kaytee Bird Greens Foraging Treat 100510282; 07185994708; 12/1/2013 through 5/28/2014
    Recalled products were distributed to retailers and distributors in the following USA states: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin. Recalled products were also distributed to the countries of Canada, China, Guam, Japan, Korea, Kuwait, Pakistan, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates.
    A letter and instructions will be sent to Kaytee customers. Pet owners who have questions may contact the company at +1.800.529.8331

Friday, February 22, 2013

Iams pet food brand launches Unconditional Love Tails contest

    Iams pet food brand has launched its Unconditional Love Tails contest, which asks pet lovers to tell the story of the unique bond shared with their pets for the chance to win a cash prize, free Iams pet food and more.
    Now through March 3, consumers can go to Iams' Facebook page to enter the contest and submit a story and photo about the unique bond they share with their dogs and cats.
    Iams will select 10 finalists to win a cash prize and a year's supply of pet food. A grand-prize winner will also be chosen among the finalists by Facebook fans to appear with their pet in a national advertisement for Iams. 

Conference Session: How to prepare for -and survive- an FDA Inspection

Originally presented at Petfood Workshop 2011, Robert McDonald of Food Safety Validation helps you plan for an inspection, surprise or otherwise, from the Food and Drug Administration or other regulatory authorities.

This one-hour session provides participants with information on your legal rights before, during and after an inspection. McDonald will also share tips on surviving the experience with your business, reputation and sanity intact.

For $49.99, participants receive:
  • Unlimited online access (log on any time – 24 hours a day –to view the session)
  • Certificate of completion

About the Presenter
Robert McDonaldRobert McDonald, managing director of Food Safety Validation, has been involved with the food industry throughout his career and has worked with such companies as McDonald’s, Burger King, KFC, Marriott and Hilton as well as many food trade associations on a national and international level. He holds a juris doctor degree from Georgetown University.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Kemin invests in food safety for pet food ingredients manufacturing

    Because of the importance of high consumer confidence and the impact of the US Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act, Kemin has spent the past three years investing in the human and financial capital necessary to achieve Food Safety System Certification 22000:2010 at its Des Moines, Iowa, USA, manufacturing facility.
    FSCC 22000:2010, recognized by the Global Food Safety Initiative, covers the manufacturing of food ingredients, including some petfood ingredients, used in further processing and is designed to provide greater confidence in food, fewer health risks, lower auditing costs, improved protection for brands and improved supply chain management.
    Other facilities with FSSC 22000:2010 certification include the company’s plant extraction facility in Des Moines and all food ingredients manufactured in its facility in Herentals, Belgium. Additionally, in September 2010, Kemin received FAMI QS/International Safe Feed/Safe Food certificate for its facility in Des Moines.
    “Consumer safety is paramount,” said Dr. Chris Nelson, president and CEO of Kemin Industries. “This certification gives our customers peace of mind that Kemin delivers on its promise to provide quality, safe ingredients. It also validates our role as the market leader in food safety.”

Superior Farms Pet Provisions to exhibit pet treats at Global Pet Expo

    Superior Farms Pet Provisions will exhibit its premium line of all-natural pet treats and chews at the Global Pet Expo, February 20-22 in Orlando, Florida, USA.
    The Superior Farms Pet Provisions’ all-natural treats and chews line is made from fresh lamb and venison sourced from its own facilities in the USA and New Zealand. The company's New Zealand partners will also be at the booth (#4201) during the show to answer questions and provide information on the sources and benefits of its antlers and venison products. Animal nutrition specialist Cathryn Cassinerio of Superior Farms Pet Provisions will also be available to answer questions.
    “We’re excited about introducing our products to more distributors and retailers,” said Gary Pfeiffer, president of SFPP. “We found that our all-natural treats and chews were enthusiastically received by buyers at other recent events. At Global Pet Expo we are showcasing our exclusive all-natural lamb and venison products and offering 10 percent off any new orders placed during the week of the show.”

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

US pet food manufacturing industry annual revenue nearly US$47 billion, report says

    The US pet food manufacturing industry is comprised of nearly 200 companies with a combined annual global revenue of about US$47 billion, according to the Pet Food Manufacturing report from Research and Markets.
    Eight of the largest pet food companies account for about 85 percent of sales, the report says. Major companies include Nestlé Purina PetCare Company; Procter & Gamble's Iams; Colgate-Palmolive's Science Diet and Prescription Diet brands; Mars' Pedigree and Whiskas brands; and Del Monte's 9Lives, Gravy Train, Milk-Bone and Meow Mix brands. These large companies have advantages of scale in manufacturing, marketing and distribution, while small companies can compete effectively by offering specialized products or serving a local market, the report says.
    The report also identifies dry and canned dog and cat food as the industry's major products. Dry dog food accounts for about 45 percent of industry revenue and canned cat food accounts for about 25 percent of the market.
    The full report can be purchased online

Pet care sales report offered by Research and Markets

    Research and Markets now offers the Pet Care 2012 Part 1: Continued Growth in an Age of Economic Gloom report, which found that despite continued economic uncertainty, pet humanization and premiumization have helped global pet care sales rebound relatively strongly in 2012 compared to 2011.
    The report is the first in a two-part global briefing from Euromonitor International that provides an overview of pet care retail sales by region and highlights best and worst performing product categories. It also highlights emerging regions, identifies leading and emerging companies, provides pet ownership statistics and more. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

RECALL: Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula

    Pet food maker Nature's Variety is voluntarily recalling of one batch of Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula patties and medallions because the pet products may contain pieces of clear plastic that could potentially cause pets to choke.
    Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula products marked with a "Best if Used By" date of October 4, 2013, are being recalled because clear plastic pieces were found in some bags. The company said the source of the plastic has been identified and the issue has been resolved.
    Products affected by the recall include:
    • Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions in 3-lb. bags, marked with UPC# 769949601371
    • Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula medallions in 27-lb. cases, marked with UPC# 769949701378
    • Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula patties in 6-lb. bags, marked with UPC# 769949601272
    • Instinct Raw Organic Chicken Formula patties in 36-lb. cases, marked with UPC# 769949701279
    The affected product was distributed through retail stores and Internet sales in the United States and Canada. Nature's Variety said there have been no reports of harm to dogs or cats.
    Consumers with questions may contact the Nature's Variety Consumer Relations team at +1.888.519.7387, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., or email

Mars petfood company profile report offered by Research and Markets

    Research and Markets has added Euromonitor International's Mars Inc in Pet Care (World) company profile report to its offerings.
    The profile examines petfood manufacturer Mars from 2007 to 2012. The report analyzes pet treat launches such as Pedigree Dentastix, re-launch of the Sheba brand, and opportunistic gains from acquisition. It also examines the petfood company's shares by region and sector, market and distribution strategies, challenges from competition and future opportunities.
    The full Mars company profile report can be purchased online.

Central Garden & Pet reports first-quarter fiscal 2013 net sales drop

    Pet product manufacturer Central Garden & Pet reported net sales of US$292.5 million for first-quarter fiscal 2013, ended December 29, 2012, a 3 percent decrease over the same period a year ago. The company's pet segment net sales fell 2 percent (US$4.1 million) to US$195.2 million for first-quarter 2013 compared to the same period in 2012.
    The company attributes lower net sales in its pet segment to lower sales of dog and cat products. The pet segment's branded-product sales were US$154.2 million and Central's sales of other manufacturers' products were US$41 million. Operating income for the pet segment rose to US$10.2 million for first-quarter fiscal 2013 compared to US$9.7 in the same period a year ago, thanks to improvements in the company's equine business.
    Overall, Central Garden & Pet reported a first-quarter operating loss of US$13.1 million, compared to US$11.3 million during the same period in fiscal 2012, due to lower sales and gross margins. First-quarter fiscal 2013 net loss was US$15.3 million, compared to US$13.1 million during the same period in fiscal 2012.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Petfood market driven by growth in specialty pet foods, PMMI finds

    Trade association PMMI released its Pet Food Market Assessment 2013, which found the pet food market is driven by many of the same factors as the human food market, including intense competition, growth in specialty products such as premium and functional pet foods, and demands of the Food Safety Modernization Act.
    Five pet food manufacturers produce more than 70 percent of the pet food products currently sold in the US, the report found. More than 85 percent of the pet food sold in the US is manufactured in the US, as well, which the report attributes to perceptions of quality, transportation costs and a highly saturated marketplace.
    The US makes up 38 percent of the global market for pet food, accounting for US$19.85 billion of the US$56 billion global market in 2011, a projected US$20.54 billion in 2012 and US$26.6 billion by 2015. However, double-digit growth is expected in the Latin American and Asian pet food markets. “Brazil stands out as the fastest-growing market for pet food. India and China are growing at double digits, too, but by 2016, we expect to see Brazil as the world’s second-largest pet food market,” said Jorge Izquierdo, vice president, market development, PMMI.
    Much of the pet food market's growth has been in organic, natural and premium pet foods, which have all grown at nearly 20 percent per year for the past two years. Global demand in this market will account for nearly 32 percent of the petfood market in 2013, the report projects. On the other hand, some products outside the premium pet food category have grown very little, such as wet dog food, which is projected to grow less than 1 percent in 2013. 

Pet product retailer Fressnapf reports 7 percent sales growth in 2012

    European pet product retailer Fressnapf recorded overall sales of €1.46 billion (US$2.6 billion) in fiscal 2012, an increase of 7 percent compared to fiscal 2011.
    Sales in Germany rose 6 percent in 2012 to €970 million (US$1.3 billion), while comparable store sales grew 4 percent in the domestic market. Fressnapf sales in 11 other countries grew 10 percent to more than €490 million (US$654.8 million). According to the company's head, Torsten Toeller, the pet product chain's fastest-growing markets include Austria, Belgium and Denmark.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Bistro Bites dog treat maker helps animal charities in 2012

    Small Dog Wonders Bakery, makers of the Bistro Bites treats for small dogs, announced that it was able to support a number of animal-related charities in 2012, the company's first year in business. The company aims to raise awareness for issues such as pet obesity, creating healthy lifestyles for dogs, animal rescue, pet adoption, and spay and neutering.
    Animal organizations that Small Wonders Bakery worked with include Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in Palm Beach County, Florida, USA, and the Fairfax County Animal Shelter in Virginia, USA, which both provide shelter for lost, homeless and unwanted animals, as well as low cost spay/neuter and other medical care. Lost Dog Rescue Foundation of Virginia and Bichon Frise Rescue of Maryland, USA, both rescue, rehabilitate, shelter, and find homes for unwanted and abused animals, and were also among groups aided by Small Dog Wonders Bakery. Additionally, the company worked with Kibblez of Love, a group that helps struggling families in Florida feed their pets, and the Humane Society of the United States.  

Hill's Science Diet petfood brand losing market share

    Colgate-Palmolive Company, manufacturer of the Hill's Science Diet pet food brand, has been losing market share to competitors as consumers are increasingly choosing pet foods that more closely resemble their own foods.
    The company brings in about 13 percent of a total US$17 billion in sales from the Hill's pet food division; however, it has been losing market share to smaller pet food companies that manufacture natural pet foods or premium pet foods with high-quality ingredients.
    In an effort to compete, Hill's introduced the Science Diet Nature's Best line, which included ingredients like lamb, brewers rice, soybean meal and apples. But, "the consumer had a disconnect with this idea of Science Diet and a naturals product," said Ian Cook, Colgate CEO. The company also recently reformulated its Science Diet line to no longer include chicken by-products and feature a more prominent listing of ingredients.
    Although Colgate posted higher fourth-quarter results overall, the Hill's pet food division's sales fell 1 percent and operating profit fell 2 percent. The company plans to launch a new brand of pet food in March, which will contain ingredients such as chicken, salmon, fruits and vegetables, with no corn, wheat or soy. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Conference Session: Controlling Salmonella in Low-moisture Foods

Originally presented at Petfood Workshop 2011, Dr. Phil Elliott of the Grocery Manufacturers Association describes current practices to control Salmonella in dry production environments and low-moisture finished products.

This one-hour session provides participants with information on several illness outbreaks attributed to Salmonella in low-moisture products, including pet food. Although Salmonella cannot grow in low-moisture environments, low cell numbers can cause illness, survive for long periods of time and may have greater heat resistance compared to that in high-moisture foods.

For $49.99, participants receive:
  • Unlimited online access (log on any time – 24 hours a day –to view the session)
  • Certificate of completion

About the Presenter
Phil ElliottPhil Elliott, PhD, principal scientist, microbiology, with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, provides technical assistance in food safety and microbiology to member companies. He has more than 20 years of experience in food safety and quality assurance with companies such as Armour-Dial, Campbell Soup, Vlasic Foods International and Pinnacle Foods Corp.

Genetically modified food labeling to be voted on in Washington

    Mandatory labeling of genetically modified foods will be voted on in November by state legislators in Washington, USA, where a new initiative was recently introduced.
    If passed, Initiative 522, or "The People's Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act," would require that agricultural commodities and processed foods containing genetically engineered ingredients must be labeled accordingly.
    Legislators will vote in November to either pass the initiative directly into law, take no action (so the labeling proposal will appear on the November ballot for public vote), or arrange for a public vote to be held prior to November. The legislation in Washington comes after a proposal on genetically modified food labeling, Proposition 37, was defeated by California, USA, residents in an October 2012 vote. 

Clear Conscience Pet awarded for dog treats, pet food topper

    Animal nutrition company Clear Conscience Pet was recently honored with two awards for its pet treats and pet food topper.
    Clear Conscience Pet's Lamb Airy Bites dog treats were selected as "Best Pet Treat of the Year 2012" by the Dogington Post. The company's SuperGravy, a holistic gravy pet food topper, was also selected as "Best In Show Food Topper 2012" by Doggies and Stuff.
    In addition to its recent awards, Clear Conscience Pet has announced it is launching a new pet treat product, Sliders Tender recipes. These moist dog treats are available in Sliders Tender Chicken & Cheddar and Beef & Cheddar recipes. 

FreeHand named Best Dry Dog Food winner in Dogington Post Awards

    As part of a larger initiative to educate dog owners on proper nutrition, effective training, and other ways to raise a happy and healthy dog, the Dogington Post reviewed pet food and pet products for its first annual Dogington Post Awards of 2012. Readers voted for the winners, selecting FreeHand as winner of the Best Dry Dog Food category.
    FreeHand, a company that launched in June 2012, works to save the lives of abandoned dogs in the communities where its petfood products are sold. For each dog food bag sold, the company donates an equal amount to local shelters and rescues.
    “We recognize the significance of this award from the readers of The Dogington Post - and we are honored to have been nominated over the hundreds of other pet foods in the market, many of which are well-established and well-financed brands. This proves the most important point of all - that dog owners buy our product because it is good for their dogs as well as for the lives of rescue dogs in their communities,” said Tom Bagamane, FreeHand’s managing director and co-founder.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Consulting firm releases new food safety training videos

    Consulting firm has released three new training videos based on the US Food and Drug Administration’s proposed rules for hazard analysis and risk-based preventive controls and standards for produce safety under the Food Safety Modernization Act.
    The Web-based videos focus on key areas of impact within the rules that are not immediately evident but could have significant impact on the food industry, both domestic and abroad. Videos include:
    • FDA’s invention of an adulteration charge
    • Mandatory recall plans
    • “Qualified individuals” and definitions
    • “Should” and “Must” changes within cGMP

    Standards for Produce Safety
    • Lack of adulteration charge
    • Exemptions
    • Warning letter example of FDA already acting on the proposed rule

    Impact for Importers and Foreign Suppliers
    • Comment period timeframe
    • Exemptions and HACCP/HARPC/cGMP overlap
    • Increased costs of mandatory requirements
    • FDA already implementing proposed regulations

Pet treat company Lincoln Bark celebrates second anniversary

    Lincoln Bark, a manufacturer of all-natural, human-grade pet treats, recently celebrated its second year in business.
    The Chicago, Illinois, USA-based pet treat company was founded in 2010 by Bobby Chochran, in an effort to create healthy dog treats to entice her sick dog, Sophie, to eat. In 2010, Lincoln Bark sold treats in about 15 boutique pet shops in the US, however the company now sells its four lines of dog treats on store shelves in the US, Canada and parts of Europe, as well as online. The company has also grown from a three-person business to a 10-person business. 

Latin America pet food market to grow at world's highest rate

    Latin America's pet food industry, the third largest pet food market in the world with the highest growth rate, has a current market volume of 4 million metric tons, which is expected to increase to 6-7 million tons by 2017, according to a presentation at the International Rendering Symposium.
    Latin America holds a 17 percent share of the global pet food market, according to Dr. Gianni Carniglia, National Renderers Association, who spoke at the symposium, recently held during the 2013 International Production & Processing Expo. Four Latin American countries hold nearly 95 percent of the market volume of pet food: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile (although 40 percent is imported here). Further, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina account for 93 percent of the volume, with Brazil alone capturing 70 percent.
    Dr. Carniglia said that the Latin American pet food market has been sustained up to now mostly by economy products, but consumers are demanding higher quality as the socioeconomic situation improves. “Consistent and healthy growth in the pet food industry requires improvement in the quality of local protein meals and fat, a huge opportunity,” he said.
    A presentation on the sustainability of rendering was also given at the symposium by Dr. Charles Gooding, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, Clemson University. He explained that rendering meets most of the applicable 'green' criteria set by the World Resources Institute, based in Washington, D.C., USA. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Other petfood in Australia grows 2 percent in 2011, new report says

    Sales of other pet food (for pet birds, small mammals, reptiles and fish) increased by 2 percent in current value terms in 2011, according to a new pet food industry report from Euromonitor International.
    The report, Other Pet Food in Australia, covers growth in pet populations, which contributed to the value growth in other pet food in Australia. According to the report, sales of other pet foods reached AUD149 million (US$155.7 million) in 2011, of which bird food contributed the largest share, with sales of AUD74 million (US$77.3 million). Other segments covered in the report include fish food and small mammal/reptile food.  

FreeHand chooses rescue dog as face of new pet food packaging

    FreeHand, a pet food company, recently awarded a Dallas, Texas, USA, rescue dog named Leslie as the winner of the "New Fuzzy Face of FreeHand" Facebook contest winner. As winner of the contest, which aimed to encourage rescue dog adoption, Leslie will also appear on the front of the pet food company's new 5-pound, super-premium dog food bags.
    Leslie, along with three other rescue dogs selected by FreeHand, will be spotlighted on the new petfood packaging of Engage, Enrich, Empower and Energize, available through local resellers and veterinarians in select US areas and online for consumers nationwide starting in March.
    “Since everything about FreeHand revolves around saving homeless dogs’ lives, it was a no-brainer to feature four real-life rescue dogs on our new packaging,” Bagamane said. “What better way to highlight our products and our cause than by using dogs whose health and vitality have been restored after eating our food while waiting to be adopted from one of our partner rescue organizations?” 

Monday, February 11, 2013

Bühler Technology Group announces fiscal 2012 results

    The Bühler Technology Group, a pet food production technologies company, announced its financial results for fiscal 2012, increasing order intake by 5 percent and turnover by 13 percent thanks to acquisitions.
    Order intake rose most in the company’s Grain Processing and Food Processing divisions. Geographically, orders in Europe fell 12 percent, while North America’s orders increased 44 percent, orders from China increased 13 percent, and orders from the Middle East/Africa rose 7 percent. For the first time, orders from emerging countries exceed more than 50 percent of Bühler’s total volume.
    Sales revenue in fiscal 2012 rose by 13 percent to CHF 2,409 million (US$2.65 billion), and when adjusted for acquisitions, it exceeded the value of fiscal 2011 by 5 percent. The sharpest rise in sales was achieved by the Advanced Materials division (47 percent) and was mainly driven by acquisitions, while the Grain Processing division’s sales grew organically by 7 percent and Food Processing division fell 3 percent below the value in 2011.
    The company’s EBIT margin declined to 7.3 percent from fiscal 2011. Net profit in fiscal 2012 of CHF 161 million (US$177.25 million) remained at the same level as in fiscal 2011. For the current fiscal year 2013, Bühler expects sales revenues at the same level as 2012 and a return to a double-digit EBIT margin.
    For 2013, Bühler’s turnover is expected to nearly reach the same level as fiscal 2012. Emerging economies will become the company’s main drivers of sales revenue and earnings. 

Pet Care Trust, World Pet Association raise money for teachers to have classroom pets at America's Family Pet Expo

    To promote pet responsibility at an early age, the Pet Care Trust, World Pet Association and other pet-related businesses raised more than US$8,000 for the Pets in the Classroom Grant Program during America’s Family Pet Expo, held November 3-4 in Puyallup, Washington, USA. The money raised will go to helping about 50 teachers enhance their classrooms and curriculum through the aid of classroom pets, impacting nearly 2,500 students.
    The World Pet Association, host of America’s Family Pet Expo, donated booth space to the Pet Care Trust at the Expo. The Pet Care Trust hosted a betta fish toss, aquarium raffle and discounted pet store to raise funds for its Pets in the Classroom program, a grant program supporting responsible pet care in schools by providing direct grants to teachers to purchase or maintain pets in the classroom.
    The betta fish toss booth raised US$1,329 for the program. The fish and supplies were donated by Hikari USA. The raffle of aquarium-related supplies raised US$988.
    Additionally, the Pet Care Trust store, which sold donated pet supplies at a discounted price, raised nearly US$6,000. Donated goods and resources came from the following pet suppliers and organizations: CaribSea Inc., United Pet Group, Aqueon/Central Aquatics, Seachem Laboratories, Hikari Sales USA. Inc., Fluval/Rolf C. Hagen USA Inc., Terrascapes, Cobalt International, Segrest Farms, Sea Dwelling Creatures and Bio Bubble Pets LLC. 

Friday, February 8, 2013

AFIA Pet Food Conference draws 25 percent higher attendance in 2013

    The American Feed Industry Association hosted its annual Pet Food Conference, along with the Poultry Protein & Fat Council, at the International Production and Processing Expo, drawing 25 percent higher attendance than in 2012.
    The day-long conference featured a variety of experts discussing topics impacting today’s petfood and petfood ingredient manufacturer.
    Key speakers included representatives of the Center of Disease Control, the US Food and Drug Administration, the Association of American Feed Control Officials and the American Meat Institute, among others.
    One of the featured speakers was Dr. Dan McChesney, director, Office of Surveillance and Compliance, at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. Dr. McChesney gave a detailed update on the Food Safety Modernization Act and the upcoming petfood rules.
    Another highlight was the third-party certification panel, which featured Keith Epperson, vice president of manufacturing and training, AFIA; Josey Byrne, certification manager, Eurofins Scientific; and Henry Turlington, quality and food safety director, The Nutro Company. Epperson and Byrne detailed the AFIA facility certification process, called the Pet Food Manufacturing Facility Certification Program, while Turlington detailed the process from the applicant’s experience.
    Additionally, a session, entitled Post California Prop 37 – What Now?, was presented by Ab Basu, managing director of state affairs at Biotechnology Industry Organization. The American Meat Institute’s Janet Riley, senior vice president of public affairs and member service, detailed the crisis communication strategy during the 2012 lean, finely textured beef scare.
    The Pet Food Conference took place at the International Production & Processing Expo, held January 29-31, in Atlanta, Georgia, USA.

Pet food retailer Fressnapf Switzerland cuts prices

    Pet food retailer Fressnapf Switzerland cut the price of premium pet food for all customers with the company's loyalty card.
    Applicable to pet food brands such as Royal Canin, Iams, Eukanuba, Hill’s, Happy Dog/Happy Cat, Pro Plan, Select Gold, Iso Dog/Iso Cat, Nutro Choice, Almo Nature and Schweizer, the 10 percent discount applies immediately in stores and in the company’s online shop. The price-drop campaign is also supported by new Facebook ads, online banners and customer flyers. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

FDA reorganizes Foods and Veterinary Medicine program

    The US Food and Drug Administration has reorganized the Foods and Veterinary Medicine program, FDA recently announced in its Federal Register.
    As part of the reorganization, completed in October 2012, the Office of Foods was renamed the Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine, led by deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, Michael Taylor.
    According to FDA: “The Office of Foods was created in 2009 to elevate leadership on food and feed safety and to reflect the vision that success on food and feed safety requires an integrated approach that leverages resources. This reorganization will further the integration that has already been achieved and better position the program to implement the FVM Strategic Plan for 2012-2016 and the Food Safety Modernization Act, which emphasizes a systematic approach to risk-based priority setting and resource allocation.
    “Under the reorganization, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, led by Michael Landa, and the Center for Veterinary Medicine, led by Bernadette Dunham, continue to report to Deputy Commissioner Taylor and remain the major operating units with responsibility for leading operations and regulatory policy development in their respective areas.”
    The following changes within the immediate office of the Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine were also made:

    • The Associate Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine position was created, with Linda Tollefson serving as the full deputy to the deputy commissioner.
    • The Office of Resource Planning and Strategic Management was created, led by Erik Mettler, to provide a focal point and leadership for risk-based priority setting, resource allocation, budget formulation and other strategic management topics.
    • The Office of Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network became part of the immediate office, led by Kathleen Gensheimer, chief medical officer.
    • The Communications and Public Engagement Staff, led by Sharon Natanblut, was created to provide leadership for advancing the public’s understanding of the program’s actions, decisions, research and other initiatives.
    • A Chief Science Officer/Research Director position, held by David White, was created to lead and integrate laboratory and research and methods development activities, as well as lead collaboration with the external research community.
    • The Executive Secretariat Staff position, currently vacant, was created. 

Diamond Pet Foods opens new petfood manufacturing facility

    Pet food manufacturer Diamond Pet Foods recently opened a new manufacturing facility in Ripon, California, USA, creating more than 75 jobs, the company says.
    The pet food manufacturing facility, the company's fourth, has created jobs in manufacturing, quality control, administration and maintenance. The company says it expanded its production to better-serve its growing West Coast customers.
    Diamond Pet Foods purchased the facility, previously owned by Neenah Paper, in 2010. Diamond renovated the facility over approximately 20 months using local contractors. It was expanded to include additional buildings, including a mill tower for pet food ingredient storage. The 150-acre Ripon facility also features an on-site solar farm, which the company says provides 20 percent of its power. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bully sticks dog treats may be high in calories, contain bacteria

    Dog treats known as bully or pizzle sticks may actually have more calories than expected and may also be contaminated by bacteria, according to a new study published in the Canadian Veterinary Journal.
    Researchers from Tufts University's Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine studied 26 bully sticks, dog treats made from the uncooked, dried penis of a bull or steer, which were made by different manufacturers. They found that the dog treats contained 9 to 22 calories per inch, an average of 88 calories in the standard 6-inch bully stick. The amount of calories researchers found to be in the treats makes up 30 percent of a 10-pound dog's daily calorie requirement and 9 percent of a 50-pound dog's daily calorie requirement.
    "While calorie information isn't currently required on pet treats or most pet foods, these findings reinforce that veterinarians and pet owners need to be aware of pet treats like these bully sticks as a source of calories in a dog's diet," said the study's author Dr. Lisa Freeman, a professor of nutrition at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. "With obesity in pets on the rise, it is important for pet owners to factor in not only their dog's food, but also treats and table food."
    In addition, nearly one-third of the bully stick treats examined by researchers were found to be contaminated with bacteria. The type of bacteria found varied: Clostridium difficile was found in one stick, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus was found in one stick, and E. coli was found in seven sticks. 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Wellness natural pet food brand launches TV ad campaign

      Wellness debuted a new ad campaign to highlight the benefits of a natural pet food diet.
    WellPet LLC recently premiered its Wellness natural pet food brand's first TV commercial in more than two years, on cable networks in the US.
    The 30- and 15-second commercial spots feature a lively, healthy Border Collie, named Wellsy, which the company says represents the vibrancy a pet can achieve on a natural pet food diet. Wellsy is shown next to Stuffy, a lookalike dog on a big-brand diet.
    The launch of the TV advertisements will be supported by a digital banner and video advertising. The commercials air on the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, TLC and TNT. 

New website about Chinese jerky pet treats aims to educate consumers

    Bixbi, a Colorado, USA-based pet treat manufacturer, recently launched a new website,, which the company says aims to educate consumers about the dangers of Chinese-sourced chicken jerky pet treats.
    The new website takes a unique approach to educating consumers about jerky treats from China. It features fake pet products in the online store, such as Arsnick'r-Doodles and Formalde-Hound, as well as an interactive Flavor Creator and an 'Easter egg' coupon for Bixbi products for consumers who decode the Chinese message. 

Pet lifestyle journalist to be awarded for pet industry contributions

      Journalist Sandy Robins will be awarded for her contributions to the pet industry at Global Pet Expo.
    The American Pet Products Association and Pet Industry Distributors Association announced that pet lifestyle journalist, author and Petco spokeswoman Sandy Robins is the 2013 recipient of Global Pet Expo’s annual Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.
    Robins’ work has been published in such platforms as, and AOL’s PawNation. She is a regular contributor to national publications like Modern Dog, Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy and others, on topics ranging from the newest, state-of-the-art surgical procedures to home décor trends that improve pets' lives.
    “With such dedication to spreading life-enhancing information on behalf of pets, we couldn’t be more confident and pleased with our decision to award Ms. Robins,” said Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association. “Her enthusiasm and passion for both pets and the journalism profession is what this award is all about and we’re thrilled to honor her.”
    Robins will accept the award on Thursday, February 21 at the Purina Media Reception, taking place in Orlando, Florida, USA, at Global Pet Expo. Global Pet Expo takes place February 20-22, at the Orange County Convention Center. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Spring Naturals donates $10,000 to animal organizations in past year

    Spring Naturals brand of dog dinners and dog treats has donated more than US$10,000 to various animal organizations since debuting in the pet food market in January 2012.
    As part of a partnership with Daily Kibble, Spring Naturals' Share the Love campaign allowed fans to submit their information and an animal rescue group of their choice for the chance to win one of two prize packages. Spring Naturals donated a total of more than US$3,250 worth of dog food and dog treats to the Boston Brigade, the Atlantic Bulldog Rescue and their nominees.
    Launched on May 1, 2012, Spring Into Action, an ongoing campaign dedicated to honoring animal advocates and the work they do in their community, has also brought money to animal organizations. The campaign encourages users to visit Spring Naturals' Facebook page via the "Spring Into Action" tab to vote for and share the story of their favorite animal advocate. The nominee with the most votes at the end of the month is then featured on the Facebook page, and Spring Naturals also delivers US$250 worth of food and treats to the winning nominee and the animal organization of their choice. The Spring Into Action grand-prize winner will receive US$2,000 worth of dog dinners plus a US$500 cash donation to the animal rescue organization of their choice.
    Along with the Spring Into Action campaign, Spring Naturals' sponsored a 2-year-old mixed breed female puppy named Spring. Spring Naturals donated a year's supply of dog food and treats, as well as the costs of the dog's initial medical care, a total value of US$1,000.
    Additionally, Spring Naturals' latest effort to support animal welfare was the 12 Dogs of Christmas campaign, which brought a total of US$1,550 in donations, pet food and treats to Project Rescue Chicago in Chicago, Illinois, USA. In total, the company has worked with more than 10 animal welfare groups, shelters and rescues in the past year. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

New Deloitte Center aids petfood industry with regulatory, supply chain issues

    The Deloitte Center for the Global Food Value Chain recently debuted as a source of insights and analysis designed to help companies in the food industry understand the changing regulatory environment, reduce risk and address supply chain issues. Along with its debut, the Center issued a series of research papers to help companies comprehend and comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act.
    The following research reports are available online:
    • Food Safety. A year in review: 2012 issues, challenges, and forward momentum
    • The Need for Food Defense in the Post-9/11 Era: Can the Risk be Ignored?
    • Conflict Minerals: The 10-minute guide
    • Supply chain risk strategies for emerging markets: Understanding the importance of risk
    According to James C. Cascone, principal, Deloitte & Touche LLP, co-leader of the Deloitte Center for the Global Food Value Chain and national leader of Deloitte's food & product safety practice: “Preventing foodborne illnesses is at the heart of today's sweeping regulatory reform of the US food industry. FSMA's biggest challenge may be the adoption of mandatory compliance programs that exert a global reach.
    "There is a need for improved supplier transparency globally, and enhancing product traceability throughout the value chain may impact business relationships, sourcing practices and growth strategies. The new regulatory environment may increase the cost of compliance, but also presents a unique opportunity for food and beverage companies to transform current operational practices and position their businesses for competitive advantage," Cascone said. 

DNA in dogs, wolves may explain diet preferences, research finds

    Over time, dogs have evolved from their wolf ancestors to be able consume and digest the starches in varied pet food diets found today, according to a new study conducted by scientists in Sweden.
    Evolutionary geneticist, Erik Axelsson, Uppsala University, compared the DNA of dogs and wolves to determine which genes were important for domestication. The researchers looked at DNA from 12 wolves worldwide and from 60 dogs belonging to 14 breeds.
    Researchers first looked at individual letters, or bases, in DNA that vary from genome to genome, identifying 4 million single-nucleotide polymorphisms. They focused on regions with little or no SNPs, as these regions' lack of variation means the DNA was necessary for survival during domestication, resulting in a loss of variation and the same SNPs for most dogs. The study found 122 genes in 36 regions that contributed to the evolution of dogs, including 10 genes that are important to dogs' ability to digest starch.
    According to the research, dogs have four to 30 copies of the gene for the protein amylase, which starts starch breakdown in the intestine, whereas wolves have just one copy on each of their two chromosomes. Another difference noted was that the gene was more active in dogs by 28-fold. These differences mean that dogs should be better than wolves at digesting starches, such as wheat and rice, often found in commercial petfood diets.
    Axelsson noted that the number of copies of the gene for amylase also varies in people, depending on the world region and the amount of starch that makes up their diet. "We have adapted in a very similar way to the dramatic changes that happened when agriculture was developed," Axelsson said.
    Another key enzyme in starch digestion is the gene that codes for maltase, MGAM, which was found to have the same number of copies in dogs and wolves. However, four differences were observed in the sequence in dogs and wolves, one of which causes dogs to produce longer versions of maltase often seen in other herbivores. Researchers found that these differences make the maltase produced by dogs more efficient than that of wolves, also helping to explain dogs' ability to better digest starches in their diet than wolves.