Perhaps nothing generates more social media buzz than a pet food or product recall. Social media immediately picks up the story and its shared, retweeted and emailed thousands of times in just minutes. With the changes coming to the processed pet food industry, it may be a good time to review the processes pet food manufacturers use to guarantee a consistent, quality product.
Last year was a big year for food production in terms of compliance. Food safety plans were mandatory for large companies, and 2017 will begin the next round of extended compliance dates, which includes small companies as well as pet food manufacturers. These safety plans require extensive preventive controls and responsibilities. The controls are considered critical to prevent disastrous results such as the Evanger’s Dog & Cat Food Co. and the Nutripack operation, a recent target of an extensive FDA investigation.
Toxic cans of food containing pentobarbital, a chemical used for euthanasia by veterinarians and pet shelters, sickened and killed pets. The subsequent investigation discovered a long list of problems contaminating the production process. The processing plant had molding walls, pitted and damaged floors, poor temperature control and other cross contamination charges. While basic sanitation is a must, there are ways that the processed foods industry can implement important equipment changes in order to improve both consistency and product safety.
When dealing with a slurry, like some pet foods, working with innovative equipment such as a static mixer with no inner parts to clean can make the process much smoother; quality and consistency are high and cross contamination is low or nonexistent. Better machines also need not be too expensive. A new heater or static mixer will more than pay for itself in energy efficiency.
Ultimately, understanding how to use social media to combat misinformation or build brand presence is going to be as important to communication as having quality equipment will be to the manufacturing process.