FAQs | Health & Nutrition | September 29, 2013

Pet Food Safety & Quality Control FAQs

Dr. Jennifer Adolphe
By: Dr. Jennifer Adolphe

How can I be sure that your recipes meet my pet’s nutritional requirements?

Petcurean recipes are developed by a team of qualified and passionate nutritionists. Our Senior Nutritionist has a PhD in companion animal nutrition from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, a Master of Science degree in nutrition from the University of Saskatchewan, a Bachelor of Human Ecology degree in nutrition from the University of Manitoba, and is a registered dietitian with the College of Dietitians of British Columbia. Also on the nutrition team is a nutritionist with a Master of Science in animal nutrition and a Bachelor of Science in animal science, both from the University of Guelph. Our product development assistant has a Master of Science in animal nutrition from the University of Guelph and a Bachelor of Science in animal science from the University of Vermont

How do you guarantee quality in the manufacturing of your pet foods?

We approach the quality and safety of our pet foods with utmost care and we set extremely high quality and safety standards for ourselves and all of our suppliers and partners. Petcurean products are manufactured at plants which are EU, FDA and CFIA certified, meaning they must meet a very high standard of sanitation, cleanliness and manufacturing practices. Our unique recipes are crafted using the highest quality ingredients. Other plant safeguards include: commissioning independent audits by the British Retail Consortium (also used for human food audits). We test our ingredients prior to receiving them at the plant; quality assurance tests include, but are not limited to, vomitoxin, aflatoxin, zearalenone, nutritional integrity and moisture levels. Testing continues on every batch at each part of the manufacturing process using standards set by Health Canada. These tests include but are not limited to, enterobacteriaceae such as salmonella and e-coli. We use Near Infra Red [NIR] technology during production to accurately measure the fat, protein and moisture content of the food. Food is only shipped, when favorable results are returned. We thoroughly clean and sanitize the manufacturing equipment between production runs to ensure the integrity of our recipes. We take important steps to avoid cross-contamination by requiring that employees in different areas of the production facility follow strict quality assurance protocols. We keep final tested food samples of all lots produced in our head office. All lot numbers can be tracked immediately using our complete and thorough tracking protocol. We update and monitor our quality control procedures regularly. As pet owners and animal lovers ourselves, we are committed to the health and safety of your pets and will continue to work diligently to ensure the quality and safety of all our products.

What is the shelf life of your dry and canned foods?

Our dry foods have a shelf life of 16 months and our canned foods have a shelf life of 3 years. Our Spike Jerky Treats have a shelf life of 2 years and our Spike Snack bars have a shelf life of 1 year.

What is the best way to store dry food?

Short answer: Dry food is best stored indoors in a cool dry place. If there is no zip closure, the top should be rolled down as far as possible and, if feasible, put in an airtight container, in the original bag. Dry food can also be frozen or refrigerated to maintain freshness.

(Slightly!) longer answer: Correct storage of pet food is extremely important to ensure the food is kept fresh (and enjoyable for your pet) and to ensure the well-being of your pet is protected.

Petcurean kibble is cooked and carefully dried to a specific moisture-free level before it’s placed in the bag (to prevent mold from forming).

To ensure that mold spores from environmental moisture don’t develop, be sure to store your kibble in a cool, dry location. Moist areas (like basements or crawl spaces), open containers, or areas where condensation or temperature fluctuations exist encourage mold to grow.

What about pouring your kibble into a storage container? We receive an abundance of phone calls from our customers who profess they have the best dog food storage, e.g. the dreaded Rubbermaid tub.

Pouring pet food into these containers is absolutely not a good idea for two key reasons: many of these containers are not airtight (plastic is porous by nature), and fat and oils can be absorbed into the plastic, risking the opportunity for rancidity to occur.

So what is the best way to store my food? In the Petcurean bag you purchased for your pet at your local pet specialty retailer, stored in a cool, dry area of course! Can I refrigerate or freeze my food? Generally speaking, most kibble can be refrigerated or even frozen. The food should be tightly sealed or in airtight containers in either case.

How long can I keep an open can of food in the fridge?

Canned food should be covered and can be kept in the fridge for 3 to 5 days. Canned food may also be frozen after opening but it’s best to transfer the product to an appropriate freezable container.

Where do I find the “best before” dates on your products and how do I read them?

The best before date on our new packaging can be found on the back of the bag, in the top right corner of the “feeding guidelines” section. The feeding guidelines are located in the bottom left hand corner of the back of the bag on the coloured panel.The code t will look something like, “BB/MA 2014 AL 04”.  Most people get confused by the BB/MA, but this just means ‘Best Before’ and then the French translation of ‘Meilleur Avant’. You can easily understand the date if you start with the year. This one is April 4, 2014. On our cans, the best before date can be found on the bottom of the can.

Do you do any testing on animals?

We feel very strongly that if the new products we’re developing are not fit to be “tested” on our own pets, then they shouldn’t be tested on any animals at all. We do want to ensure the pet food we’re developing performs as intended and so, we do non-invasive tests which include palatability, stool consistency, and urine pH during our product development process. The pets involved are not kept in cages, these tests are never performed in a lab environment, and we include our own Petcurean family pets in every test that we do.