Behind the scenes of a pet food producer: The ingredient selection

This is the first article in our new series: “Behind the scenes of a pet food producer”. It is our goal to drive the transparency process in the pet food trade. One way to do this is to open up about what goes on behind the scenes. In this article we focus on the ingredient selection process. In the quest to reaching a more transparent world of pet food and giving the pet parent an understanding enabling them to make an informed choice.

April 29, 2018

H2: You cannot make a good quality pet food from bad ingredients

Ensuring the high and consistent quality of a pet food is highly depending of the choice of ingredients and the ongoing control of the chosen ingredient, to ensure that their quality is consistent.  Unfortunately a misconception has developed so some people perceive the pet food trade as a “recycling yard” from the human food production. Whereas this might to some extent have been the case in the very early days of commercial pet food, this is no longer the case. There for it is a great shame that some people maintain this misconception.

“Meat by-products, especially those not specified as a certain kind of meat (chicken, beef, turkey, etc.) frequently contain dicey ingredients ground into the mix during processing like beaks, feathers, feet, hooves, hair or entrails — even tumors.”


Recently, we have entered the debate about by-products in pet food. Most recently with an article by CEO Henriette Bylling in which she debates the misconception of by-products. Read more here

To shed some light on how the ingredient reality of today’s petfood world works we would therefore like to “invite you” inside our Russian wet pet food plant by giving you an insight in our careful selection of ingredients and how we ensure their quality.

“We have always worked with great focus on the quality of our petfood, so nothing has changed in this area. However, we are now taking a more active step in sharing information on i.e. internal processes in the name of transparency. As we do not only want to talk the transparency talk. We also want to walk the transparency walk.” – Henriette Bylling, CEO & The Queen of Petfood

Since 2009 the Russian division has had both the ISO 22000 certification – the food safety management, guaranteeing that the pet food products are manufactured, prepared, packaged, distributed and certified to the highest standards of food safety. And the quality management system of the ISO 9001 certification, which amongst others ensures consistent quality and full traceability – these two certifications are now combined in the FSSC 22000 and forms the backbone of our ingredient supplier management and quality control.

Recently, we shared an article about the FSSC audit and the certification that we just received. The FSSC audits ensures that we as pet food producers are heavily controlled: Even if we wished to cheat the consumer by producing products that do not live up to the declaration, we would not be able to. So, the FSSC ensure that the players that are not playing “nicely” are found out. To the benefit of the pets and of the entire trade.

H2: Carefully selected suppliers

As one of the first pet food producers in Russia we entered a market without the luxury of pet food ingredients being readily available. Therefore, our initial products were produced from ingredients imported from Western Europe. As we initiated contact to local slaughterhouses we were surprised to be met by a lack of interest in selling the by-products to us, which were otherwise send to landfills.

But our strong quality team, who had already implemented our internal quality systems, therefore started the work with some of the slaughterhouses coaching our potential suppliers in achieving the quality level we needed, some stepped-up and managed to implement a quality system enabling them to supply us with good ingredients of consistent quality. But others, though they were suppliers of meat for human consumptions, never became our suppliers due to customs of i.e. leaving the ingredients un-chilled for 24 hours+ or packing our ingredients while smoking…

Still the suppliers are not “home safe” when they have been approved in the quality audit and have become one of our suppliers. If they supply us with ingredients that are not according to the agreed specifications i.e. insufficient cleaning of pigs intestines or high fat content in pork trimmings, the delivery will be declined, if this happens numerous times our quality team will make an additional audit of the supplier to evaluate the cooperation

It goes without saying that all the ingredients are selected and combined based on their nutritional value, this topic we will touch upon in one of our future articles.



#petfood #transparency #transparentpetfood #transparentpetfoodindustry

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