Real, minimally processed food doesn’t need artificial chemicals, sprayed-on flavorings, preservatives or colorings, because it’s already flavorful, nutritious and colorful. By-products, chemicals, refined carbohydrates, hydrogenated oils and corn syrups are bad for pets. Food shouldn’t be an “industrial product” manufactured on a mass scale by big agribusiness, nor made from intensively factory-farmed or GMO ingredients.
Understanding production methods is an important part of evaluating the roots of food. Though safety is of paramount importance, the less “touched” raw ingredients are, the better the product’s integrity.
“Kill steps” have been developed to eliminate harmful pathogens on raw ingredients. The most common are irradiation, ethylene oxide (EtO) gas, steam sterilization and high pressure pasteurization (HPP). With the advent of the Food Safety Modernization Act, increasing attention is being paid to these kill steps to ensure consumer health.
The focus for a responsible pet food company should be to balance the need for a safe product with the need to leave as much natural nutrition intact as possible.