Have you ever purchased frozen raw dog food (specifically Nature's Variety and Stella & Chewy's) and wondered why the color is so pale and texture smooth like pâté? Well, I've come to learn that these products do not look like other frozen raw foods. You may remember in a previous post I blogged about other types of raw dog food and high pressure processing or HPP. This type of processing explains (to me) why these brands frozen raw food products are pale-colored with pâté-like textures and when I think about it, they're very unappealing. Not to mention they are the most expensive brands. Click here for photos I took of Nature's Variety. Additional perspectives from those who oppose HPP which balances all the stuff we read on Nature's Variety and Stella & Chewy's websites (scrutinize their marketing of carefully chosen words and safety seals and graphics)...
These excerpts are from an on-line retailer's blog (see Resources below for details):
- "HPP is used by industry to extend shelf life...HPP destroys pathogenic bacteria... a concern is the fact that the beneficial bacteria, enzymes and other functional proteins are known to be destroyed during this process...HPP in effect turns raw food into a processed food, and there is potentially trouble down the road for raw pet food manufacturers that choose to proudly market this process, like the two mentioned above, or those that succumb to fear and ignorance (1)."
- "...the beneficial bacteria found on raw food products, as well as those found in your gastrointestinal tract, are responsible for keeping colonies of pathogenic bacteria from multiplying quickly through competitive inhibition (competing for growth). This leads to my primary concern, which is, once these friendly bacteria are destroyed along with the unfriendly bacteria, there is nothing to keep the pathogenic bacteria from growing out-of-control if the food product is re-contaminated during manufacturing. This is exactly what has happened with several popular brands of kibble dog food recently, as well as over the last several decades, and this re-contamination with pathogenic bacteria, like Salmonella, after the cooking process, without the presence of friendly bacteria, can make people and animals sick (1)."
- "There have been varying opinions within the pet food industry concerning the process of High Pressure Pasteurization (or Processing), often referred to as HPP. Rather than base our decision on opinions and emotions, the team chose to review scientific data and build our knowledge on the research and conclusive facts about this technology. There are many valuable research papers published in reputable scientific journals regarding this technology. We have taken the opportunity to evaluate this research and outline the most relevant conclusions for the concerned pet owner to review (2)."
- "...When dealing with raw meat there is always an inherent risk from microbial contamination which is a natural part of the animal’s physiology. When processing a raw product it is very important to have strict controls in place to minimize this risk. There are several ways to address this. Generally, the food industry has simply recommended a heat (or kill) step to at least 165°F to eliminate the risk of pathogenic bacteria. However, this obviously negates the benefit of a raw diet since this step denatures proteins and active enzymes as well as depletes vitamins. Another, more recently emerging technology that has been employed to address microbial contamination in food is High Pressure Processing or HPP (2)."
- "...we have chosen to take a different approach to provide a high quality, nutritionally dense, microbially responsible raw food product. First and foremost the best approach to provide a low risk, raw food from pathogenic contamination is by starting with healthy, high quality, properly cared for livestock. Many of the reasons the meat in this country contains the pathogenic bacteria loads it does is directly due to the crowded housing conditions, poor hygiene, improper feeding and handling techniques of livestock animals... we understand the benefits of using livestock that is pasture fed, and never exposed to synthetic hormones and antibiotics. Studies show that healthy, pastured livestock will shed significantly less E. coli. Also, when cows are grass fed there is reduced risk of Salmonella infections. Secondly, butchering and post butcher handling must be closely monitored and controlled to limit contamination (2)."
(1) High Pressure Processing (HPP): is it Safe for Pet Dog and Cat Food? by Natural Pet Health Blog (of The Pet Health & Nutrition Center)
(2) White Paper: High Pressure Pasteurization ≠ Raw by Answers Pet Food Company. To read the white paper: click on Answers' link, go to Nutrition Ed and scroll down until you find the 6th Q&A (What are the concerns of feeding a raw diet that uses High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP)?)
(*) BTW - Nature's Variety makes excellent dry & wet food and treats (Instinct). Stella & Chewy's freeze-dried patties make hearty treats.