An interview in the series detailing various pet food manufacturers. Meet RAWHEALTH Pet Food.
Each pet food manufacturer will be responding to the same initial questions. This is not an endorsement of any pet food. I (Susan Thixton) or TruthaboutPetFood.com does not receive payment for these interviews. They are posted strictly as information, not advertisement.
RAWHEALTH Pet Foods are manufactured in Winter Park, FL. Founding Partner Chuck Harris provided the following answers…
1. What types of pet food do you produce? (example: both cat and dog foods, kibble, can, and raw)
Raw Diets for Cats and Dogs.
2. Tell pet parents why they should consider your pet food? What makes your pet foods different? Better?
At RAWHEALTH, we follow the true philosophy of Feeding Raw by using Species Specific Formulas with simplified ingredients. By that, we mean we are producing a fully nutritious, balanced diet without all the redundant and unnecessary ingredients found in many other commercially produced raw diets.
One of the clear benefits to this approach is to limit the amount of ingredients that can contribute to potential food allergies, always a concern for both the pet parent and their pet. Our consulting vets tell us when they are chasing a suspected allergy our approach helps when they are trying to pin down the source of a potential food allergy; often a time consuming process for the vet that is costly for the pet owner.
All, our meats are premium, USDA-Approved, (not just USDA “Inspected”), and, are 100% sourced in the USA. Our fresh vegetables are sourced locally in Florida when seasonally available.
3. What makes your manufacturing process different? Better?
Food Safety: We have implemented and strictly enforce HACCP and FDA sanitation protocols in our production process and, have an outstanding reputation for freshness. All equipment, work surfaces and drains are sanitized after each production run, and again before the next day’s production. Additionally, all work surfaces in the production process and incoming meats and vegetables undergo both in-house and lab testing for pathogens. We are very proud to say that we have had comments from our ingredient delivery personnel that our production room is cleaner than the human food establishments they supply.
Product Freshness: Our philosophy: “Freshness” means better food value to the pets we serve, who are our real customers. At RAWHEALTH we use a “Just in Time” production system, allowing us to deliver products that are not sitting in a freezer for what could be months of “Freezer Storage Time”. With our approach, the products are only 3 -10 days out of production when delivered to Retailers and available for purchase by pet owners.
4. Why do you make the style of pet food you do? Example – why kibble or why raw dehydrated?
For RAWHEALTH, a raw diet is not only the best and safest natural nutrition that can be offered a pet, it is the ONLY nutrition production method that truly addresses the nutritional needs of pets. Kibble and canned foods all have had a significant portion of their true nutrition reduced by extensively cooking the ingredients. Even the best “grain-free” kibbles and canned foods are often found to contain preservatives and other additives, which add no value for the pet.
5. Please provide some of your reasoning for particular ingredients used in your pet foods; example – why chicken versus chicken meal?
Raw diets must be natural in every aspect, which is why RAWHEALTH chose not to include any processed food ingredients. We use only Whole Muscle Meats and use All- Fresh Vegetables to drive what we see as a perfect Species Specific set of formulas. We are of the opinion that any “Processed Additive” comes with a lower “Per Serving” food value for the pet.
6. How do you select vendors – suppliers of ingredients?
We purchase our meats and fish from only USDA-Certified suppliers who document their meats with packing dates that reveal the amount of time between original meat processing and box packing. This allows us to have a very good measure of control over the freshness in our finished food products.
7. What are your routine tests done on ingredients and on the finished product? Do you test ingredients for heavy metals? Fluoride? Any other contaminants? Are these results available to the public?
In addition to the testing protocols mentioned above, we recheck our Guaranteed Analysis every 120 days with an independent food testing laboratory to more precisely monitor protein, fat and calcium/phosphorus levels, which we post on our website at www.rawhealthpetfood.com. Not only do we use USDA-approved ingredients that have been tested to meet the human grade standards, we also lab test for all core classes of food pathogens.
8. Does your manufacturing facility have any specific certifications? If so, can you explain why these certifications benefit the pet parent consumer?
As previously, mentioned, RAWHEALTH has incorporated strict HACCP and FDA sanitation protocols and we are proud of our Food Safety Record. We have recently had our food safety protocols thoroughly reviewed by the state of Florida Department of Agriculture, Division of Agricultural Environmental Services, the state equivalent of the USDA.
9. Are your foods manufactured at your own facility or do you use a co-packer? If you use a co-packer…
(a) Do you choose ingredient suppliers or does the co-packer?
(b) What measures do you take to assure your co-packer is following your recipe specifications?
(c) Do you have a company representative at the co-packer or do you do drop in inspections?
RAWHEALTH simply does not feel at all secure about anyone making our foods but us.
10. Has your company done feeding trials of each product before it was released on the market? Official or unofficial feeding trials? If so, how long were the trials, how many animals participated?
RAWHEALTH’s current dog product line was field tested by responsible members of the Professional Dog Breeding community in Florida over a two-year period with only positive results. We followed the same path with cat breeders in 2006 prior to launching our highly successful cat formula in 2008; again, with the same positive results.
Generally, the pets went crazy for the final formulas, and the breeders saw the nutritional value that would aid potential pet medical issues. Out testimonials have revealed that our approach to natural nutrition has reduced and/or resolved such issues as pet allergies, gastro-intestinal ailments, shedding, tooth tartar and diabetes.
11. How does your company go above and beyond? With safety protocol, quality of ingredients, manufacturing processes, and so on.
RAWHEALTH’s Number One goal has been to produce the highest quality and best produced raw diet on the market, without cutting corners on ingredients or the production process while staying price competitive. We have reputation for this, and it goes a long way in helping us provide this kind of nutrition to as many pets as we can reach.
12. Do you use any genetically modified ingredients? If yes, what ingredients are GM and why do you use them? If no, why do you avoid GM and what extremes do you go through to assure your foods are GM free?
Since Genetically Modified Ingredients food safety is still very much debatable within the human and pet community healthcare community RAWHEALTH does not use these ingredients. We avoid these ingredients by staying close to our supply partners, who have been forthcoming about any of their products sourcing details we use in our food production.
13. Any other information you’d like to share?
Since the disastrous Menu Pet Food Recall in March of 2007, the pet food industry has come under suspicion and scrutiny by pet owners and advocates all over the world. We want everyone to know and understand that RAWHEALTH is completely transparent in terms of how we produce and deliver our products to the market.
We welcome any questions and comments from anyone who wants to know more about our ingredients, suppliers, and production methods.
Thanks to Chuck Harris for answering our questions. RAWHEALTH Pet Foods are currently available across Florida, and will soon be available across the east coast of the U.S.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
What’s in Your Pet’s Food?
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