Friday, January 30, 2015

Solid Gold Pet donates US$500,000 in premium petfood

    Solid Gold Pet has partnered with Petco to donate an estimated US$500,000 of premium petfood to selected charities across the US. The partnership kicked off at the beginning of January 2015.
    "We strongly believe in the benefits of good pet nutrition for all pets and are proud to partner with a leading specialty pet retailer like Petco to help make a difference to dogs and cats in need," said Michelle Higdon, CEO of Solid Gold Pet. "We know that great nutrition makes all of the difference in the world to a pet's quality of life. We call this bringing out their Inner Gold." 

FDA warns Nestle Purina plant about 'significant violations'

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to a Nestle Purina PetCare manufacturing facility in Allentown, Pennsylvania, after an inspection in September 2014 revealed "significant deviations from the LACF (acidified and low-acid canned foods) regulations, Title 21, Code of Federal Regulations, Parts 108 and 113 (21 CFR Parts 108 and 113)."
    Violations include:
    • failure to process each low-acid canned food in conformity with at least the scheduled process filed with FDA
    • failure to identify, from a processor chack or otherwise, deviations from the scheduled process of critical factors which are out of control and failure to record these deviations in a separate log
    • failure to chlorinate or otherwise sanitize cooling water as necessary for cooling canals and recirculated water supplies
    • failure to establish a system for product traffic control in the retort room to prevent un-retorted product from bypassing the retort process
    • failure to install the mercury-in-glass thermometers in a location where they can be accurately and easily read
    • failure to have records of all processing and production signed or initialed by a representative of plant management who is qualified by suitable training or experience
    Keith Schopp, a spokesman for Nestle Purina, said the company is confident there are no food safety issues or risks to pet health with the company's products. Schopp said officials are in the process of providing FDA with measures it intends to take to correct the production errors.
    The FDA said it requires a written response addressing the alleged violations, and that "failure to take appropriate corrective action may subject your firm and products to further actions, such as emergency permit control, injunction or seizure."

Thursday, January 29, 2015

University of Saskatchewan developing petfood using pulse crops

    University of Saskatchewan researchers are working on a dog food made from pulse crops to determine whether pulses are beneficial to the health of pets.
    The three-year project has received US$172,000 from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, which will go towards a high-resolution ultrasound microscope. The microscope will examine the effects of pulse crop-based diets on the cardiovascular and reproductive health of pets, according to reports. "It seems early results are that it really is beneficial, but this machine will really allow us to really confirm that," said Lynn Weber, of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine.
    The petfood will be developed from chickpeas, beans and lentils. 

PET South America 2014 event drew more than 24,000 visitors

    PET South America's 13th annual event drew 24,117 visitors from October 28-30, 2014, including veterinarians, zoo technicians, breeders, pet shop owners and groomers. About 350 Brazilian and international brands exhibited in the areas of petfood, hygiene, beauty, animal health and accessories.  
    Thematic pavillions included the Acqua Ecosystem Pavilion, which offered lectures and product presentations in the fields of aquarism, as well as lake and aquatic landscape design. The Paulista Veterinary Specialties Congress drew 1,537 attendees from several veterinary segments, and the Regional Council of Veterinary Medicine of the State of São Paulo offered free lectures. Other simultaneous events rated highly by participants were the 10th Management and Marketing Seminar and the first Meeting of Animal Behavior Therapists, which debuted at the 2014 event.
    "PET South America again confirmed its position as a benchmark in the pet and veterinary market in Brazil, drawing a highly qualified audience and promoting businesses and congresses that add value to the field of veterinary medicine and the development of this important sector for the country," said Laura Snitovsky, development manager for NürnbergMesse Brasil, the event organizer.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

China denies link between US pet sickness, Chinese treats

    Pet treats made in China have no connection to pet illnesses in the US, according to China's top quality supervisor, who said there has been no direct evidence found to link the two.
    The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) said tests—conducted by it and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)—had not confirmed any connection and had not detected any poisonous or hazardous ingredients in the treats, despite allegations that they were the cause of widespread illness and death in US pets. The AQSIQ didn't specify which brands or treats were under investigation.
    The statement came after US pet specialty retailer Petco announced in early January 2015 that it was pulling all pet treats made in China from its 1,300 stores because of concerns they had caused sickness in thousands of pets and killed more than 1,000 dogs in the US since 2007. PetSmart Inc. also plans to remove the treats from its stores by March 2015.
    China will closely follow events and hopes the parties concerned can remain objective and rational, said the AQSIQ in a statement. 

Petfood community reacts to recent consumer-funded testing

    Recent consumer-funded petfood testing coordinated by the Association for Truth in Pet Food has drawn responses from the petfood industry, which is questioning the methods used and the relevance of the results.
    The Pet Food Institute (PFI) released a statement outlining the testing each product undergoes before it reaches the shelves, and said that simple test results don't provide the complete safety picture. "Petfood ingredients and products undergo rigorous testing by petfood companies, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and state regulators to ensure safety, quality and appropriate levels of nutrition," said PFI. "The test results by themselves do not provide sufficient information to appropriately draw conclusions. Additional information is needed, such as the sampling method and laboratory materials used, measures taken to prevent contamination of samples, analytical methods employed, and test controls in place."
    According to PFI, the testing results actually reaffirm the record of safety in petfood:
    • Mycotoxins detected were well below the levels set by FDA and were essentially at background levels.
    • Nutrient levels overall were consistent with the AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) nutrient profiles. Variation from the AAFCO nutrient profiles can be validated by conducting a feeding protocol using a particular cat or dog food product. Therapeutic products are fed under the direction and oversight of a veterinarian and may be designed to vary from the AAFCO nutrient profiles as part of the approach to addressing a particular health condition.
    • The findings reported do not identify any bacterial species associated with foodborne illness or food spoilage.
    • The most common foodborne pathogens were not detected in the test results, again validating the safety of the products tested.
    Phyllis Entis, MSc., SM(NRCM), an author and food safety microbiologist, said the consumer-funded testing focused on all the wrong things. "What I find 'shocking and sad' is the waste of consumers' money in a wild goose chase after low-level pathogens of minimal risk to either humans or their pets," she said, in a post on Entis asked why the petfood samples weren't tested for known animal and human pathogens such as Salmonella and Campylobacter, and said that without providing species-level identification of bacteria, the results were useless.
    "I acknowledge the good intentions of Susan Thixton and the Association for Truth in Pet Food, but I am appalled at the way in which this study was designed and carried out," said Entis. "The portions of the study relating to bacterial analysis and presentation of the mycotoxin results are the epitome of junk science. The pet-loving consumers who funded this study—and their dogs and cats—deserved far better."
    In response, Thixton said the study is in no way "junk science," listing the scientists who oversaw the project and providing a bio of INTI Service Corp., the company the scientists work for. She also defended the pathogens tested and the information in the report. "The information provided in the full report was quoted from FDA, the Centers for Disease Control and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations," said Thixton. "I am by no means a scientist, so I relied on information from these well-known organizations to provide risk information to consumers."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

RECALL: J.J. Fuds recalls petfood on Listeria concerns

    Indiana-based J.J. Fuds is recalling a select lot and product of J.J. Fuds Chicken Tender Chunks Pet Food because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.
    The recalled product was distributed regionally in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois to wholesale and retail customers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code and UPC code printed on the back of the individual plastic bag or on the master case label. This product is a frozen raw poultry product and has a shelf life of one year if kept frozen.
    The recalled product is as follows:
    J. J. Fuds Premium Natural Blends, Chicken Tender Chunks
    All 5 lb. bags with:
    Product UPC Number: 654592-345935
    Manufacture/Lot Code Date: 5/5/14
    The recall was a result of a routine sampling program by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development resulting in a positive test for Listeria monocytogenes. The company has not received any reports of dogs experiencing nausea or diarrhea that may be associated with these specific products. The company has received no reports of human illness as a result of these products.
    J.J. Fuds will immediately start working with distributors and retailers to properly dispose of any affected product left on freezer shelves. The company will also be working with distributors and retailers to recall this product from pet owners to ensure the proper disposal of any affected product that has been purchased. The company is issuing this action out of an abundance of caution and sincerely regrets any inconvenience to pet owners as a result of this announcement.
    The recalled product should not be sold or fed to pets. Pet owners who have the affected product at home should return to retailer for a refund and proper disposal.

Pouches up, cans down in demand for petfood packaging

    According to Food Safety Magazine's latest study, "Pet Food Packaging," demand for metal cans in petfood packaging will continue to decrease as pouches become the more preferred packaging method.
    Demand for metal cans in petfood packaging is forecast to rise 2.7% annually to US$650 million in 2018, according to the report. Cans held 29% of the petfood packaging market in 2013. The percentage of overall can demand in petfood packaging will continue to decline, however, due to supplantation by other packaging types, including retort pouches, tubs and cups, and chubs.
    Pouch demand in petfood packaging is forecast to rise 8.3% per annum to US$540 million in 2018, the fastest pace of growth among petfood packaging types, says Food Safety Magazine. For small packages of dry food, pouches will continue to supplant bags. For wet food, retort pouches will continue to gain acceptance as an alternative to metal cans, growing in popularity due to peelable lids that are easier to open and allow the consumer to avoid cuts from metal edges, and especially in applications where strength and stiffness are not primary factors.
    The study analyzed the US$2 billion US petfood packaging industry. It presents historical demand data for 2003, 2008 and 2013, and forecasts for 2018 and 2023 by application (e.g., dry food, wet food, pet treats, chilled and frozen), animal (e.g., dog food, cat food), type (e.g., bags, metal cans, pouches, folding cartons, plastic bottles and jars, tubs and cups) and material (paperboard, plastic, metal, wovens).  

Registration open for AFIA Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers Conference

    Registration has opened for the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA)'s annual Purchasing & Ingredient Suppliers Conference (PISC), to be held March 11–13, 2015, at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress in Orlando, Florida.
    More than 500 buyers and sellers of feed and petfood ingredients are expected to attend the three-day event designed for educational and networking purposes, according to the organization. Highlights of the conference include the sporting clay outing, which will kick off the 2015 event, as well as a variety of presentations addressing issues pertaining to the feed industry, evening receptions and the PISC annual golf tournament, which will be held at the Grand Cypress Golf Club. This year's educational program highlights include: "Grain Outlook," Richard Brock; "Animal Economics," Dr. Chris Hurt; "Connecting the Disconnect," Sarah Muirhead; and "The Patriot Tour," Lt. Peter Scobell.
    In addition to PISC, the AFIA Nutrition Committee will host a half-day nutrition symposium on "The Effect of Consumer Preference on Feed and Nutrition" prior to the conference March 10. PISC registrants can attend for an additional cost and hear from key industry experts discussing a breadth of topics including the regulatory environment in Washington, D.C., growth and development research in animals used for meat consumption, the impact of milk on consumer health and the importance of communicating with consumers.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Emerald Pet Products redesigns packaging

    California-based natural dog and cat treat maker Emerald Pet Products has redesigned its packaging.
    Two-thirds of the company's Smart n' Tasty brand of treats has been updated with a new logo, new dog and cat characters and new packaging. The outdoor theme replaces the single-color background on previous packaging and emphasizes a commitment to all-natural, US-sourced ingredients, according to the company.
    The Smart n’ Tasty line includes Canine Dental Treats, Dental plus Fresh Breath, Dental plus Skin & Coat, Little Duckies (dog treats in several flavors), All-Natural Dog Seafood Treats (three flavors), Twizzies Piggy, Turducky or Chicken Chews, Feline Salmon or Tuna Dental Treats, and Cat Health Treats (hairball, urinary tract formulas). 

Pet obesity on rise for fourth straight year

    New data released by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co. (VPI), a US provider of pet health insurance, shows that pet obesity is on the rise for the fourth straight year. In 2013, VPI policyholders filed for more than US$52 million in claims for conditions and diseases that can be related to pet obesity, a 7.3% growth from 2012, according to the company.
    Table scraps and excessive treats are major contributors associated with disproportionate weight gain in pets, said VPI. Similar to their human counterparts, excessive body fat increases the risk of preventable health problems and shortens the life expectancy of pets. According to VPI's database of more than 525,000 insured pets, the top 10 dog and cat obesity-related conditions are:
    1) Arthritis
    2) Bladder/urinary tract disease
    3) Low thyroid hormone
    4) Liver disease
    5) Torn knee ligaments
    6) Diabetes
    7) Diseased disc in the spine
    8) Fatty growth
    9) Chronic kidney disease
    10) Heart failure
    1) Bladder/urinary tract disease
    2) Chronic kidney disease
    3) Diabetes
    4) Liver disease
    5) Asthma
    6) Arthritis
    7) High blood pressure
    8) Heart failure
    9) Gall bladder disorder
    10) Immobility of spine
    In 2013, VPI received more than 39,000 canine claims for arthritis, the most common joint disease aggravated by excessive weight. The average claim fee was US$300 per pet. For cats, bladder or urinary tract disease was the most common condition that can be aggravated by obesity. VPI received 4,700 medical claims for this ailment, with an average claim amount of US$420 per pet.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

UK pet care spending to surpass US$7 billion in 2015

    Total spending on pet care in the UK is set to reach a record high of US$7.16 billion (£4.6 billion) in 2015, a 3% increase on 2014’s US$6.92 billion and a growth of 25% since 2010, according to reports.
    Of the near-US$7 billion spent in 2014, UK consumers allocated US$5.57 billion to petfood and US$1.5 billion to non-food items such as grooming, day care, clothes and toys—expenses that speak to the ongoing trend of pet humanization. “Pet owners are increasingly treating their cats, dogs and even small mammals like members of their family,” said Gina Westbrook, director of strategy briefings at Euromonitor, during an interview with The Telegraph. “The opportunity to commercialize this trend into a vast range of goods and services—from dog beer to cat counseling, from pet weddings to 'social petworking'—is staggering for the company that can position itself to gain credibility among this growing demographic.”
    According to Westbrook, there are three kinds of pet owners: mainstream humanizers, who account for roughly two-thirds of pet owners and opt for reliable premium pet brands; anti-humanizers, who make up 20%–30% of pet owners and choose smaller, ethical brands over the large corporations (and are also more likely to put their pets on wild, raw or organic diets); and extreme humanizers, who make up 5% of pet owners and tend to see their pet as an accessory or child substitute, spending money on designer outfits, exercise activities and extreme grooming treatments.
    There are a number of reasons for this humanization, said Westbrook. "On the one hand, people are single and increasingly lonely, living in more 'dehumanized' societies," she said. "On the other hand, there is also the DINKS: Double Income No Kids. Couples delay marriage and the first child so pets are often the choice for their love and affection. In many emerging markets splashing on pets is a way to flaunt status and also a reflection of westernization."
    Two-thirds of animal owners see their pets as beloved family members, according to Euromonitor data, and the humanization trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Start-up Pipeline Pet Products appoints CEO

    Start-up company Pipeline Pet Products has announced that Brad Hatt, most recently director of Big Heart Pet Brands Canadian operation, has accepted the company position of CEO. Pipeline Pet Products serves as an umbrella company to service multiple brands across all channels of trade. Pipeline's suite of brands will service the pet specialty, big box, mass and grocery channels and everything in between.
    While at Big Heart Brands, Hatt oversaw a US$100 million business for more than 10 years. "With over 25 years in the pet sector under my belt, I was at a point in my career where I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial," said Hatt. "The opportunity to join Pipeline Pet Products is really the perfect fit for me at this stage of my life. It will allow me to leverage my experience in managing multiple brands and also take Pipeline Pet Products' multiple offerings to the next level." There are currently six brands under the Pipeline umbrella: Green Bark Gummies, Droolers, Fruit Nibblers, Organicfuls, Hearty Bites and a new pet food line, Holistic Essentials.
    Pipeline Pet Products' initial flagship brand, Green Bark Gummies, has secured nationwide distribution of Pipeline's omega-3 nutritional treats. Distribution is currently being fulfilled through Pet Food Experts Inc., Animal Supply Co. and Wholesome Pet Distributing, and the company is adding Summit Pet Product Distributors, Lone Star Pet Supply Inc. and Central Garden and Pet to round out the national coverage. Canadian national distribution is through Rolf C. Hagen Inc. There are currently four formula offerings for the Green Bark Gummies brand: Hip & Joint, Skin & Coat (large and small), Healthy Digestion and Health & Vitality. There are no artificial colors or flavors, no wheat, corn or soy and no sugar added. Green Bark Gummies are also an excellent source of calcium, phosphorus, iron and zinc, are high in fiber, low in carbohydrates and offer multiple solution-based formulas, according to Pipeline.
    In the fall of 2015, Green Bark Gummies will add a cat treat line-up to offer the same treat option and all three omega-3's to cats everywhere, followed by a dental offering in 2016.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

RECALL: Oma's Pride recalls feline poultry meal on Salmonella concerns

    Oma’s Pride of Avon, Connecticut is recalling Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
    Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal was distributed nationwide through retail stores, distributors and directly to consumers. Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal is sold frozen and is packaged in clear 12 oz. (UPC: 8 79384 00017 9) and 2 lb. (UPC: 8 79384 00018 6) plastic packaging under the Oma’s Pride brand as a poultry blend with code #1524.  It was manufactured on September 12, 2014 with a use by recommended date of September 12, 2015.
    There have been no illnesses reported to date.
    The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development resulting in a positive test for Salmonella. Oma’s Pride has ceased the production and distribution of the product as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.
    Consumers who have purchased Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund. Consumers with questions may contact Oma’s Pride Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.–4:30 p.m., at +1.800.678.6627.

AAFCO announces minerals proficiency-testing program

    The Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) has announced its fourth proficiency-testing program: the AAFCO Minerals Program.
    The quarterly offering focuses on minerals of health and toxicological importance in the food chain at concentrations of health or toxicological significance. Minerals will be spiked into the feed materials to achieve desired concentrations that are not available in the AAFCO monthly Check Sample Program. The primary interest is feed materials, but whenever possible materials of interest in both the food and feed sectors will be incorporated. Planned materials for 2015 are poultry layer feed, rice, dairy or swine feed and dog food to encompass materials of interest to both feed and food laboratories.
    The cost for the Mineral Program for 2015 is US$300/year including shipping to the US or Canada. As with all AAFCO programs, materials will be shipped on a regular basis for tests and will be pre-ground. Reports will be generated with AAFCO-specific codes and units to allow for analysis of the performance of individual methods or method types. Reported results will be analyzed statistically and participants will be provided with performance scores for each analyte and method reported. Report cards and consensus reports will be available for download from AAFCO's Data Reporting website.
    The Minerals Program is the newest of AAFCO's four proficiency testing programs. Other tests include the monthly AAFCO Check sample program, the Pet Food program and the Mycotoxin Contaminants program. The Check Sample program begins in January 2015 and provides monthly shipments of a variety of feeds and supplements with nutrients, drugs, antibiotics, minerals and vitamins at levels typically encountered in commercial products. The quarterly Pet Food Program, introduced in 2013, starts in February 2015 and provides shipments of petfood ingredients derived from animal or plant sources. The quarterly Mycotoxin Contaminants Program debuted in 2014 and provides shipments of animal feed or petfood contaminated with naturally incurred afflatoxins, fumonisins, deoxynivlaenol, zeraralenone, ochratoxin A and T-2 toxin.
    The Minerals Program is available worldwide. For North American customers, shipping via the US Postal Service is included in the price. For international customers, shipping options include express mail from the US Postal Service, which includes tracking, for an additional US$200/year or a courier service using the receiver's account. International options vary for other AAFCO programs. 

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hill's Pet Nutrition extends partnership with Minnesota Urolith Center

    Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. has extended its partnership with the Minnesota Urolith Center (MUC) to reduce the worldwide incidence of urinary disease in companion animals and to enhance the global veterinary care of pets with urinary tract disorders.
    Through its continuing partnership with the MUC, which is part of the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Hill's provides financial support, enabling the MUC to offer stone analysis at no cost to veterinarians anywhere in the world, and through global Hill's divisions and distributors provides transport of samples to the MUC. Hill's has also partnered with the MUC in a new initiative to create a multi-language website, making urolith submission simpler and more convenient for veterinarians anywhere in the world.
    "This support from Hill's Pet Nutrition has enabled us to do what we do best: support veterinarians in their mission to accurately diagnose, treat and prevent urinary tract diseases with the most effective and compassionate therapies," said Professor Jody Lulich, co-director of the MUC.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Petco stops selling China-made pet treats

    Petco has announced that it has completely removed all China-made dog and cat treats from shelves at more than 1,300 retail stores throughout the US, including Unleashed by Petco stores and online at The move makes Petco the first national pet specialty retailer to complete this transition and affirms the company’s commitment to listening to customers and putting the health and safety of pets first, according to reports.
    “As a trusted partner for pet parents, we believe this is the right thing to do, and we’re proud to take this step in the best interest of pets,” said Jim Myers, Petco CEO. “What we feed our pets matters, and this milestone supports the company’s steadfast commitment to putting our customers, partners, animals and the communities we serve first.”
    Petco has not carried any dog or cat food items from China for several years. The decision to discontinue the sale of China-made treats allows Petco to expand the assortment of safe and healthy alternatives that are made in the US or in other regions around the globe that support complete pet health, says the company.
    “Customer response to our expanded assortment of treats has been great,” said Myers. “And we are equally pleased at just how responsive our vendor partners have been in helping us source an entirely new line-up of high-quality, predominantly US-made treat and chew alternatives.”

Friday, January 16, 2015

Renske Natural Petfood wins Best Product of the Year award

    Renske Natural Petfood has won an award for Best Product of the Year 2014–2015 in the category Pet Food with its product ‘Renske Fresh Menu Holiday’. There were a total of 113 products participating in the competition, a new initiative by Q&A Research & Consultancy (best known for the large scale consumer research Retailer of the Year) and the Consumer Contest Company.
    Best Product of the Year is an extensive consumer survey whereby consumers determine what the best products are. When a product is awarded this distinction, it may call itself the Best Product of the Netherlands for an entire year. The scores of all the nominated products are based on three criteria: value for money, product presentation and user satisfaction.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Petfood Industry offers updated Top Petfood Companies database

    Exclusive database includes petfood industry information on more than 350 companies

    Petfood Industry has collected updated data on petfood manufacturers and marketers from around the world and compiled it in the exclusive Top Petfood Companies database. The data includes company headquarters, types of products produced, main brands, annual revenue and volume, number of employees, plants and facilities and other information about each company.
    The global petfood industry is very dynamic, continually attracting new investors and players and experiencing a healthy level of merger and acquisition activity annually. The database highlights all that ongoing activity as, each year, different companies rise toward the top or change their global ranking. The information, gathered by Petfood Industry and WATT Research, is more complete for some companies than others, but more information is being gathered all the time. If you have corrections, information or companies to add to the database, or any comments, please contact us at
    The database is searchable by specific company name, geographic markets served or key product categories. Currently most of the data is from 2012 and 2013, the most recent years for which we could find full, complete data. For the 10 largest companies by annual revenue, data is also available for 2010 and 2011.
    To use the Top Petfood Companies Database, you have to register and log in to; registration is free and simple to do.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Consumer-funded testing finds 11 of 12 petfoods contaminated

    A number of petfood brands have tested positive for potentially harmful bacteria and other contaminants, according to a project funded by a group of pet owners and coordinated by the Association for Truth in Pet Food.
    The project is the first of its kind to use crowdfunding to test pet products: In April 2014, an IndieGoGo campaign began to raise US$10,000 " to test many different brands and varieties of petfood for dangerous contaminants." The campaign said that all test results would become public  information, including brand names, and that all at-risk results would be provided to petfood regulatory authorities. Once the money was raised (US$15,705 by the time the campaign ended in June 2014), Association for Truth in Pet Food oversaw the project and documented each product tested, compiling results for dissemination to the public and authorities.
    The Pet Food Test examined 12 petfood products, six cat foods and six dog foods, according to the association. Testing was performed with the assistance of INTI Services. Eleven petfood products were ordered online (shipped directly from the online retailer to INTI Services) and one petfood product was purchased directly from a veterinarian. Products were shipped "blind" to numerous laboratories contracted by INTI Services.
    Products were tested for mycotoxins, guaranteed analysis/mineral content, cyanuric acid and melamine, euthanizing drugs and bacteria:
    • The budget allowed for testing of eight (of 12) petfoods for 37 different mycotoxins. Results found all petfoods had some level of mycotoxin contamination; four petfoods tested as Low Risk, two petfoods tested as Medium Risk and two petfoods tested as High Risk.
    • All 12 petfood products were tested for Guaranteed Analysis nutrient and mineral content. Results were compared with AAFCO nutrient requirements and suggested nutrient maximum as established by the National Research Council’s (NRC) publication Mineral Tolerances of Animals. Testing found four instances in excess of nutrient maximum suggested by NRC in cat foods, five instances in excess of nutrient maximum suggested by NRC in dog foods and five instances of excess of AAFCO regulatory nutrient maximum in dog foods.
    • All 12 petfood products were tested for cyanuric acid and melamine; results found no measurable level of either contaminant.
    • All 12 petfood products were tested for euthanizing drugs; results found no measurable amount of these contaminants in any petfood tested.
    • All 12 petfood products were tested for bacteria content (results stated in percentage of total bacterial content). Results found: nine petfoods contained one or more bacteria FDA terms as 'Qualifying Pathogens' which "have the potential to pose a serious threat to public health"; 10 petfoods contained one or more "Pathogenic Microorganisms" listed in the FDA's Bad Bug Book; nine petfoods contained one or more bacteria the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations links to "spoilage of meat"; and nine petfoods contained one or more potential pathogenic bacteria per analysis by Dr. Jean Dodds.
    The full report can be found on the association's website, including infographics, an overview of results and the full results.

Brookfield Engineering offers practical course on viscosity measurements

    Brookfield Engineering is offering its Practical Course on Viscosity Measurements. The course is designed to help Brookfield viscometer users comprehend the functionality of their instrument, solve the mysteries of fluid behavior and rheology, and create successful and repeatable viscosity test methods for use in both R&D and QA/QC environments. Consistent measurement is vital in the success of any product and understanding viscosity is a key part to maintaining quality control, according to the company.
    The course is offered at Brookfield’s headquarters in Middleboro, Massacusetts, and at major cities across the US. Space is limited and customers are encouraged to sign up early. “On-Demand” courses are conducted at the customers’ facilities or at Brookfield’s headquarters. An advanced course, Lab Day/Advanced Viscosity Test Methods, is an on-demand course covering more advanced viscosity topics utilizing sample testing. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

British Columbia receives $2.15 million for raw petfood production

    British Columbia's agri-food industry is receiving more than $2.5 million (US$2.15 million) for 27 new projects supporting trial crops and the development of new agricultural products and practices. Among these funded projects is the development of commercial raw petfood products sourced from producers in communities around B.C.
    The funding comes from the governments of Canada and B.C.'s Growing Forward 2 agreement, which provides up to $13.4 million (US$11.5 million) between 2013 and 2018 through the Canada-B.C. Agri-Innovation Program. Projects funded through the program must have the potential to lead to the commercialization and/or adoption of innovative products, technologies and practices. So far, 63 projects have shared more than $5.8 million (US$5 million) in funding.
    Other projects recently announced include the testing of quinoa, flax, lentil and pea varieties suitable for growing conditions in the Peace Valley region; and the design and testing of novel, energy-saving LED fixtures to help grow lettuces, leafy greens, micro-greens and culinary herbs year-round while reducing energy usage by 40%.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Wenger to host petfood processing safety seminar

    Corporate Project Services, a division of Wenger Mfg., will host the Food Safety Seminar Focused on Pet Food Processing on March 31–April 3, 2015, in Kansas City, Missouri, at the Hampton Inn & Suites—Country Club Plaza.
    A group of industry professionals will gather to share their knowledge and expertise in the area of petfood safety. They will share food safety information as it applies directly to each step of the petfood production process; from plant design to sourcing raw materials, production, sanitation and packaging. The four-day seminar costs US$1,600 and includes course materials, morning and afternoon refreshments, three lunches, two dinners and bus service to Wenger Technical Center for hands-on demonstrations.
    Registration deadline is March 6, 2015.

Three Dog Bakery raises funds for military service dogs

    Through its 2014 US Veteran’s Day promotion, Three Dog Bakery raised US$5,000 from a percentage of sales made through its bakeries, retail outlets and online on November 11. At Three Dog Bakery’s Country Club Plaza bakery, officials presented a check for the amount raised to Paul Chapa, founder of FISH—Food Industry Serving Heroes. FISH will use the donation for the purchase of two service dogs. The two military recipients will also receive a year’s supply of Three Dog Bakery food and treats.
    FISH engages the food and other industries in serving US military veterans. With the donations from the Three Dog Bakery Veteran’s Day promotion, FISH will make a difference in the lives of two returning military personnel who benefit from the highly specialized service dogs.
    Three Dog Bakery said it appreciates the support of its customers, and plans to make its Veteran's Day promotion an annual event.

Friday, January 9, 2015

AIB International, Kansas State University to host FSMA workshop

    AIB International and Kansas State University’s IGP Institute have joined forces to help petfood companies meet new federal regulations. The AIB-KSU Pet Food Safety Simulation Workshop will take place in Manhattan, Kansas, on Feb. 23–27, 2015.
    The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) is impacting the animal food industry in a big way. For the first time, The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a legislative mandate to require comprehensive, prevention-based controls across the food supply, including animal food. Now petfood manufacturers are working hard to ensure they meet FSMA’s requirements for hazard analysis and preventive controls.
    The workshop will help petfood companies get up-to-speed with the newest regulations. In this simulation workshop AIB, K-State experts and industry guest speakers will teach participants how to construct a HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) plan, identify GMPs (good manufacturing practices), establish sanitation procedures and microbial control measures, and develop an environmental monitoring program. The four-day course is targeted to petfood company personnel, specifically food safety and quality assurance managers, line supervisors, sanitation supervisors and operational leads.
    “We are very excited about the partnership between AIB and K-State’s IGP Institute," said Carlos Campabadal, IGP Institute feed manufacturing and grain quality management specialist. "This unique training experience will provide petfood manufacturers with real, hands-on experiences so that they fully understand the principles, technical concerns and role of food safety in their facilities.” 

Jackson Galaxy launches foundation for shelter animals

    Cat behaviorist and Petfood Forum 2015 keynote speaker Jackson Galaxy has launched The Jackson Galaxy Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit created to better the lives of shelter animals. While Galaxy works primarily with cats, he said his foundation will benefit all shelter pets.
    “My work with the Humane Society made me aware of the harsh realities of pet overpopulation,” said Galaxy. “I believe that no animal should die waiting for a home, so the ultimate goal of our organization is to help save the 4 million animals that die in shelters each year.” The Jackson Galaxy Foundation plans to accomplish this mission by working closely with animal shelters, enhancing shelter design and construction while educating staff and adopters on animal behavior—improvements Galaxy said will lead to higher adoption rates. Additionally, the organization will award shelters with monetary and food grants for immediate support.
    The foundation’s first major effort comes just in time for the holidays, with the help of Wellness Natural Pet Food. The Massachusetts-based company is providing natural dog and cat food, valued at over US$20,000, for the foundation to grant to shelters with a critical need. Wellness will also provide a monetary donation to further assist the charity in meeting its objectives. “We believe in the Jackson Galaxy Foundation’s mission to improve the lives of shelter pets, and we’re happy to provide food and monetary support to this worthy cause,” said Chanda Leary-Coutu, senior manager of marketing communications for Wellness Natural Pet Food.
    Galaxy will deliver the opening keynote at Petfood Forum 2015 on April 28. He will talk about the inspirations for his career, lessons he’s learned from working with cats and their owners and why his primary goal is to help save the 4 million animals that die in shelters each year, working through his Team Cat Mojo campaign and the foundation.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

RECALL: Jump Your Bones recalls dog treats on Salmonella concerns

      The products affected by the recall are identified with the UPC code 63633010041 for 80 g./2.82 oz. bags, and .32 oz. sample bags. 
    Florida-based Jump Your Bones is recalling its Roo Bites dog treats because the product may be contaminated with Salmonella, according to reports.
    The treats were distributed to retail petfood stores nationwide and were sold in boutique bags and online. The products affected by the recall are identified with the UPC code 63633010041 for 80 g./2.82 oz. bags, and .32 oz. sample bags.
    Consumers who purchased the product are urged to return it to the place of purchase for a full refund, or to dispose of the product immediately. FOr more information about the recall, call +1.888.249.6755, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST.
    So far, no pet or human illnesses have been reported.

AFIA reiterates FSMA costs trump benefits

    The American Feed Industry Association (AFIA) has submitted comments to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA)'s supplemental proposed animal food rules, flagging the cost as the lead concern if the rules are implemented as-is. The comment submission echoed comments AFIA submitted in March 2014 on the originally proposed "Current Good Manufacturing Practices and Hazard Analysis Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals." Nineteen regional and state feed associations also signed on to AFIA's letter as a statement of their support.
    "We recognize the inclusion of many of the industry's suggested changes by FDA to the proposed rules as they continue to reduce the cost of the implementation of the final rule," said Richard Sellers, AFIA senior vice president of legislative and regulatory affairs. "However, it is not enough. Our comments urge the agency to take additional steps to lower the rule's cost while strengthening any overall benefits to the animal food industry."
    Other comments submitted by AFIA revolved around the language of the rule. The organization believes there is still language within the rule that could be confusing to industry despite its attempt in its March comments to offer alternative wording and definitions. AFIA urged FDA to more closely align with the agency's medicated feed CGMPs that have been in place for more than 40 years, as there is already an understanding and excellent compliance, according to FDA's own data.
    "Compliance with the rules and the implementation period is still a large and looming issue with AFIA," said the comments. "We urge the agency to closely examine our request for changing FDA's one, two and three year implementation period for regular, small and very small businesses, respectively, and consider the two, three and four year approach AFIA has advocated in previous comments."
    AFIA said it will continue to work with its membership and the industry as FDA moves forward in the comment review process. The final animal food rule is mandated by a court order to be published by Aug. 30, 2015.

Virginia legislation to protect animals may tax petfood for funding

    Twentieth District Sen. Bill Stanley will introduce three bills in the upcoming General Assembly session that he says will protect animals and prevent cruelty. Senate Bill 698, which would amend the Code of Virginia to establish a fund to reimburse participating veterinarians for the surgical sterilizations they perform on eligible dogs and cats, would be funded by including a surcharge on producers of petfood.
    An animal would be eligible for sterilization if it is a feral or free-roaming cat or is owned by a low-income individual or a releasing agency, such as an animal shelter. To pay for the fund, the bill would provide that a surcharge of US$50 per ton on producers of petfood distributed in the commonwealth be deposited in the fund, and that such petfood be exempted from the existing litter tax in order to offset the surcharge to producers so that they do not pass along any additional costs to the consumer.
    SB 698 was pre-filed for the 2015 legislative session on Nov. 26, 2014The bill will be considered by the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation & Natural Resources after the Virginia General Assembly convenes on January 14, 2015.

Monday, January 5, 2015

PetSmart to be bought by BC Partners for US$8.7 billion

    Pet supply retailer PetSmart Inc. has made an agreement to be bought by a private equity consortium led by BC Partners Ltd. for US$8.7 billion, in the largest leveraged buyout of the year.
    Activist investor Jana Partners LLC began pushing for a sale after disclosing a 9.9% stake in PetSmart in early July 2014, according to reports. PetSmart said BC Partners, as well as some of its fund investors, including La Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and StepStone, signed an agreement to buy the company for US$83 per share. Longview Asset Management, which has a 9% stake in PetSmart, will roll a third of its holding into the deal.
    The buyout price represents a 39% premium to PetSmart's closing price of US$59.81 on July 2, 2014, the day before Jana disclosed its stake and called for PetSmart to explore a sale. Jana paid less than US$55 per share on average for its percent stake in PetSmart, according to regulatory filings.
    PetSmart, which has about 54,000 employees and operates 1,387 pet stores, said in August 2014 it would explore a potential sale of the company. PetSmart faced mounting investor pressure at a time when fierce competition from large retailers, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Amazon, is squeezing specialty stores.

    In November 2014, PetSmart reported flat third-quarter net income of US$92.2 million as net sales rose 2.6% to US$1.7 billion.

Central Garden & Pet reports improved financials for fourth quarter

    Central Garden & Pet Company has reported improved financial results for the fourth quarter and full year ended September 27, 2014.
    Fourth quarter
    The company’s 2014 fourth quarter operating income was US$1.4 million, compared to an operating loss of US$26.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2013, which included two charges—the 2013 garden charge of US$11.2 million and a US$7.7 million non-cash charge related to the impairment of goodwill in the garden segment. The net loss for the quarter was US$4.1 million, compared with a net loss of US$22.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.
    Fourth quarter net sales of US$374.2 million increased 1% from US$368.8 million in the comparable fiscal 2013 period. Gross margin for the quarter increased 670 basis points compared to the prior year, reflecting higher margins in the company’s garden segment, principally due to the non-recurrence of a charge included in the prior year’s fourth quarter, as well as higher controls and grass seed gross margins. In the fourth quarter of 2013, the company’s gross profit included a US$11.2 million charge (“2013 Garden Charge”) associated with two garden products that were subsequently discontinued.
    Fourth quarter: Pet segment
    The pet segment’s operating income for the fourth quarter was US$21.1 million versus US$24.7 million in the comparable prior year period, a decline of US$3.6 million. The pet segment’s gross and operating margins declined during the quarter. Pet’s operating margin declined 150 basis points to 9.7%, due in part to lower operating margins in the professional and flea and tick businesses, as well as a less favorable mix of sales, with higher sales of other manufacturers’ products and lower higher-margined flea and tick and professional sales than a year ago. Margins increased in several businesses, most notably dog and cat and small animal.
    Fourth quarter net sales for the pet segment were US$217.1 million, a decrease of 2% from the comparable prior year quarter. The decline was in large part due to lower sales in the company’s flea and tick and small animal businesses, partially offset by higher sales of other manufacturers’ products, as well as higher professional and dog and cat sales. Industry weakness, reduced shelf space and increased competition in the flea and tick business and certain other businesses continued to weigh on sales in the segment. As in the garden segment, wild bird feed sales were also impacted by lower selling prices. The pet segment’s branded product sales for the quarter decreased US$9.1 million, or 5%, to US$166.5 million from US$175.6 million. Sales of other manufacturers’ products increased US$5.7 million to US$50.6 million, an increase of 13% versus the comparable prior year period, due primarily to a selling mix difference in the independent channel.
    Fiscal 2014
    The fiscal 2014 adjusted operating income excludes the 2014 Garden Charge and a US$4.9 million gain on the sale of plant manufacturing assets. The fiscal 2013 adjusted operating loss excluded the US$11.2 million 2013 Garden Charge and the US$7.7 million garden goodwill impairment charge.
    Adjusted net sales for the year ended September 27, 2014 were US$1.61 billion, down from US$1.66 billion a year ago. Adjusted operating income for the year was US$68.2 million compared to US$59 million in the prior year. Fiscal year 2014 adjusted garden operating income was US$53.1 million, an increase of US$25.9 million from the prior year. Pet operating income was US$88.1 million in fiscal 2014, a decrease of US$7.3 million from fiscal 2013. Adjusted consolidated operating margin increased to 4.2% from 3.6% in the prior year. Net income for the fiscal year ended September 27, 2014 was US$8.8 million compared to a loss of US$1.9 million in fiscal year 2013. Adjusted net income was US$16.4 million, compared to US$10 million for the year ended September 28, 2013.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Horn Animal Wellness releases animal nutrition infographic

    Specialty animal ingredient distributor Horn Animal Wellness has released an educational infographic designed to help shed light on the functional and nutritional benefits of medium-chain triglycerides (MCT) oil for animals and animal food products.
    “There are studies that show the importance of MCTs in weight-management formulations and in age-specific formulas, thanks to the MCTs being readily available fuel for the brain,” said Dave Preszler, technical director of Horn Animal Wellness. “They are excellent for use in formulations and supplements for show and sport performance animals. MCTs are also prominently used in milk-replacement products due to their digestibility and their nutritive characteristics.”
    MCTs are important in animal nutrition as an energy source and as an ingredient for cognitive health, according to Horn. MCTs are metabolized into ketone bodies, which are able to freely pass through the blood-brain barrier to become the main energy source for cells. MCTs are also readily absorbed in the gut and then released directly into the portal vein and transported directly to the liver. The liver rapidly metabolizes the MCTs, which releases instant energy to the body.
    The infographic is available online and can be downloaded.