The Expert's Corner
Ask an Expert: Pet Food Processing Equipment
November 9, 2020
Q. What are the biggest challenges for pet food processors when it comes to the safety and quality of their pet food?
From our perspective as a mixing equipment supplier, proper mixer selection is the foundation to ensuring consistent quality and safety. Selecting the right mixer to address the viscosity, density, phase changes, optimal shear, temperature and other processing requirements of a particular application is the first step to minimizing contamination and other safety risks.
Q. Why does equipment matter when it comes to safety and quality when producing pet food?
The right mixing equipment plays a major role in creating the product exactly to specifications. It carries out the desired homogenization, solubilization, emulsification, powder wet-out and deagglomeration. Poor mixing will invariably manifest as inconsistencies in stability, texture, taste, color, potency and overall quality.
Q. Does the safety and quality of pet food depend on whether it is dry food, wet food, raw food, etc.? How are pet food processors able to ensure the safety and quality of each of the different types of pet food?
The phases of raw materials and the finished product are key considerations in mixer selection. Pet foods often require several mixing steps to produce the sauce, flavoring, coating, dry powder blends, dough and other intermediates. Once the appropriate mixer is identified for a specific part of the process, ideally through actual testing, pet food processors and equipment suppliers work together to identify the features that would best serve that particular mixing process. For example, premium stainless steel components to prevent corrosion; FDA-compliant elastomers; easy access to blades and agitators; proper welds and polish to promote easy cleaning and prevent potential contamination; vacuum design; jacketed mixing vessel; interchangeable vessels; sanitary fittings, etc.