What we don’t know about the ingredients used to make dog foods and cat foods is staggering. Those in charge of defining pet food ingredients provide the industry a means to hide the real truth of quality from the petsumer. Thanks to a patent provided to Mars Incorporated (maker of Pedigree, Nutro, Whiskas pet foods), we are provided a bit of insight into where and how some pet food ingredients are obtained. This isn’t pretty.
Patent Assignee: Mars Incorporated
Title: Method of utilizing offals for pet food manufacture
Publication Date: 8/18/2009
Below are excerpts from the patent (bold added):
The invention claimed is:
1. A method for the recovery of commercial waste parts for use in the manufacture of commercial pet food products, comprising the steps of: collecting waste parts selected from the group consisting of hearts, kidneys, lungs, liver, spleen, tripe, meat offcuts, chicken viscera, chicken heads and feet, chicken pieces, and chicken necks from the commercial processing of animals; size-reducing the waste parts by grinding to produce an emulsified material; heating said the emulsified material; substantially separating the proteinaceous fraction from the lipidaceous and aqueous fractions; substantially separating the lipidaceous and aqueous fractions from one another; wherein the proteinaceous, lipidaceous and aqueous fractions are each subsequently used in the production of commercial pet foods or components thereof.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
Petcare companies have for many years provided commercial petfoods to various markets around the world. Commercial petfood products are designed to be nutritious, but are also required to be highly palatable to ensure the animal consumes sufficient volume to receive its nutritional requirements, and to ensure the pet owner is satisfied that the product is ‘satisfying’ the animal’s needs.
One of the aesthetic drawbacks of traditional commercial petfoods is that they have been perceived by pet owners as ‘artificial’, and by inference, not as healthy or satisfying for the animal. This perception may exist quite independently of the actual nutritional or sensory performance of the products.
Therefore, to enhance the owner’s perception of these products, there has always been a need to provide a ‘meat-like’ texture in commercial petfoods, in order to provide ‘real food’ cues to the owner of the pet and to provide satisfying texture to the animal.
To provide the ‘muscle meat’ texture that is desirable, but on a cost-effective basis, commercial petfood manufacturers have developed various technologies to make manufactured meat analogues, or meat-like chunks. This is often done by utilizing the binding functionality of selected raw material to form an integral mass from comminuted meat and/or cereal slurries via various processes. The recent evolution of this technology is summarized as follows:
Lower-moisture extruded vegetable protein has been used as a ‘chunk’ in packaged foods. It has a ‘meaty’ internal texture, but does not have good palatability, particularly for felines. Also, the requirement for high levels of sulfur in the recipe is a drawback in relation to its undesirable impact on the product and packaging aesthetics.
Meat slurries were created from low-grade meat offals, cooked in gas ovens and cut into chunks. However, these chunks tended to be not as palatable as muscle meat and did not display a satisfactorily ‘meaty’ internal texture.
Lung lobes have been cut to resemble muscle meat. However the sorting and trimming required to obtain the lobes themselves, as well as the poor recovery of lung chunks through high-volume size reduction processes, and the further poor recovery of chunk size post canning, are significant drawbacks for this technique.
Meat analogue chunks manufactured from meat slurries were made resilient via the use of materials with binding properties such as cereal starch/konjac/alginate/pectin. However, many of these chunks lacked realistic texture, especially internally. Some of the binders also tended to be relatively expensive.
‘Steam-Set Meat’ (SSM) chunks formed from slurries cooked in steam ovens and cut into chunks, particularly utilizing the water binding ability of such materials as egg white, blood plasma, soy protein isolate, selected chicken pieces, cereal binders and gelling agents to provide resilience. The chunks themselves were not superior to the gas-oven chunks, however this technique was preferred to gas-oven cooking due to the elimination of fires and due to lower maintenance costs.
SSM chunks are also prone to degradation during mixing and filling operations, and lack a realistic ‘meaty’ internal texture. They also require a complex multi-stage manufacturing process, and depend on the binding ability of high cost ingredients such as blood plasma and wheat gluten and muscle meats for resilience.
Tallow is typically obtained from commercial rendering plants, where mammal by-products not directed to the human or pet foods streams are processed. Recently, however, concerns have grown regarding the introduction of ‘specific risk materials’ (SRM’s) into the mammalian food stream. These materials include spleen, brain, and spinal cord, and are associated with degenerative diseases such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE). As these materials are often processed by renderers, there is a significant risk that these materials may be incorporated into commercial lower-moisture petfoods, with a potential long-term health risk for the animal. Therefore, it would be advantageous to develop an alternative, low-cost fat source that is free of BSE risk.
In parallel with the above issues, there is a desire to improve the profitability of commercial pet food operations by reducing the expense and complexity of the red meat, chicken and fish supply chain.
In other words, this invention takes bits and pieces of everything animal waste and turns it into something that appears to the consumer as meat chunks. It’s not meat chunks, but it looks like it. “Real food cues to the pet owner”. Interesting huh?
To read the full patent, click here http://www.freepatentsonline.com/7575771.html
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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