Preserving pet food shelf life

Maintaining freshness during the life of the product not only meets the distinguished expectations of today’s pet parents, but also prevents wastage and even disease. It’s all about starting with the highest quality ingredients and preparing and packaging them effectively in a way that meets the shelf life requirements of the distribution and the habits of pet owners.

“Shelf life is important for all forms of pet food, especially when considering nutrient degradation,” said Lisa Scholl, co-owner of Evolve Consulting Group, Crofton, Md. A proper shelf-life guarantee protects the vitamins, minerals, and additional warranties provided on the product label.

“Pet food and treatment manufacturers are most concerned about microbial spoilage and oxidation,” said Amy McCarthy, Vice President of Pet Nutrition, ADM Animal Nutrition, Quincy, Illinois. “Dehydrated foods and treats are susceptible to oxidation and mold, which can result from issues such as improper storage. Correct or high water activity.If the integrity of canned foods is compromised, bacterial damage may occur, which may cause the packaging to swell or burst.Frozen and refrigerated foods must be kept at an appropriate temperature throughout the cold supply chain to ensure safety and quality throughout the life of the product.In addition Additionally, biodegradable packaging has the appeal of sustainability, but may provide less protection against oxygen and moisture.”

Whether the product is wet, dry or rubbery, to maximize shelf life, you should start with high-quality raw materials. The less moisture in the ingredients when delivered to a pet food manufacturing facility, the easier it is to handle in terms of delivering quality, as moisture invites deterioration.

“Manufacturers in pet food serving and processing have many decisions they need to make when considering preserving ingredients and creating pet food products,” said Jim Mann, Director of Global Platform, Antioxidants and Food Safety, Kemin Industries, Des Moines, Iowa. “This includes how to prevent microbial growth, control pH, and whether conventional or natural additives should be used to prevent oxidation and improve product shelf life and stability.”

Microbial spoilage must be managed from start to finish. Meat-based raw materials before processing can degrade, reduce quality and affect animal health, especially in refrigerated products contaminated with pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella And Listeria. Unfortunately, pathogens are not visible, which is why it is important that manufacturers take appropriate precautions to ensure safety. On the other hand, mold is visible and is a reason to dispose of the product. Any non-sterile product can face mold challenges if moisture or water activity is not controlled.

Heat and bowl material

Repurposing is the original cooking process to extend the shelf life of moist, low-acid foods. Food is heated in airtight containers – cans were first, bags and cartons come later – to destroy all spoiling and pathogenic microorganisms, thereby sterilizing the product. Aseptic processing sterilizes the product.

Regeneration is a very economical process for manufacturing wet pet food. However, the downside is that high temperatures destroy heat-resistant vitamins and may negatively affect product quality. It is these shortcomings that have fueled the growth of the fresh and frozen pet food categories, both of which still require proper cooking to destroy disease-causing microorganisms.

“Killing steps are fundamental and critical to food safety,” said Rob Ames, Senior Director of Business Development, Corbion, Lenexa, Kan. “Using them as shelf life strategies can have an advantage and eventually lead to a diminished surface of the ingredients (as chemical preservatives are not necessary). Manufacturers must consider secondary shelf life (once the container is opened) and the consequences of packaging failure. This is where Which components can cover the gap.”

Mann said, “Most of these components are organic acids, or components that produce organic acids. They can act by several mechanisms, either by acidifying bacterial cells or by destroying cellular membranes.”

These ingredients are essential to ensuring the shelf life and safety of refrigerated pet foods. They are especially useful in raw pet foods.

“These products are often less processed with a shorter shelf life, compared to traditional wet and dry foods,” said Cynthia Rasmussen, director of business development, food protection and preservation, Kerry, Beloit, WI. Pet owners are looking for recognizable ingredients, which has led more manufacturers to search for ingredients that protect against bacterial spoilage and the perfect color, scent, and palatability of the product. New processing methods have helped improve food safety challenges.”

said Vinicio Serment-Moreno, Applications and Food Processing Specialist, Hiperbaric, Doral, Fla. Pets may be more resistant to pathogens, but may inadvertently transmit them to their owners through saliva, fur or faeces, and owners can also spread pathogens in the kitchen by handling contaminated utensils.

This is where Hyperbaric Therapy (HPP) can help. The HPP system involves loading airtight/sealed packages into an HPP container, where they are subjected to equal pressure (equal pressure on all sides), which disrupts the microbial biochemistry of pathogens and spoilage bacteria, helping to preserve freshness and increase the shelf life of perishable foods.

“The application of HPP reduces loads of dangerous bacteria, parasites and viruses, while keeping pet food safe and nutritious,” said Cerment Moreno. “HPP technology has minimal impact on food biochemical components such as proteins and vitamins, ensuring that HPP pet foods meet the nutritional requirements of pets with improved sensory quality.”

“Innovative processors use HPP to expand their distribution chain,” said Erol Raghuber, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Avure Technologies LLC, Middletown, Ohio. In addition, HPP is highly recommended as a food safety intervention step for raw pet foods. This technology maintains The flavor, texture, and nutrients are in raw food ingredients, and provide a safe alternative for immune-compromised dogs and cats who would otherwise not be able to eat a raw diet.”

Pup Above, Austin, Texas, uses a video licorice process to gently cook fresh human-grade dog food to ensure safety and quality. Sous vide involves vacuum sealing food in specially designed bags that are slowly cooked in water at low temperatures until fully cooked.

“Our process includes rapidly freezing the product after it has been fully cooked,” said Ruth Steadman, co-founder and CEO. “Keeping it frozen and closely monitoring our supply chain keeps our products fresh and healthy for up to one year.”


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