PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 15

In-house high pressure processing systems inactivate harmful
microorganisms at low temperatures but retain the valuable
nutritional components of the products.
something you or I couldn't eat, " Morasch said. " We basically
operate the same way for our pet products that
we do for our human products. Both operations can use
similar equipment as well as the same equipment but at
a minimum we must separate them by time and space
because USDA has specific restrictions for human food
production, and we have to adhere to that and we have
for decades. We are very responsible in how we do that.
Our procedures for training our employees are the same
in the pet food operation as they are for the human food
operation. We don't treat the pet [products] differently
than the others. It's a different label but it's out of a
USDA facility. "
The company conducts third-party quality testing as
part of its hold and release food safety program. It also has
its own internal lab that matches the labs used by the USDA
for the agency's meat processing labs around the country.
Northwest Naturals' quality control personnel are certified
annually to operate the company's internal lab.
" We do third-party testing of every single batch, " Snell
said. " No food can leave Northwest Naturals until it
comes back negative for all pathogens. "
Another feature of the company's food safety program
includes the use of photocatalytic oxidation machines
throughout its processing areas to reduce the risk of airborne
pathogens.
" We get a two-log reduction using this technology
that came out of NASA in the early 90s, " Morasch said.
" It ionizes the air particles and helps to clean the coils
in our refrigeration and kill microbes in our drains. We
find it to be a fantastic way to provide an additional level
of cleanliness in our processing rooms and coolers. "
Enter freeze drying
Northwest Naturals added freeze drying to its manufacturing
capabilities in 2012. Morasch Meats had been a
raw ingredient supplier for decades to one of the largest
freeze-drying operations in the country. When that
freeze dryer stopped producing pet products to focus on
human food products, Northwest Naturals stepped in
and filled the need in the pet food market.
" For products like freeze-dried beef liver, we were the
early ones doing a lot of the dicing and other meat handling, "
Morasch said. " We have been around in the background
of the industry for a long time, and it became
obvious that we needed to get in the freeze-drying business.
We had a 90,000-square-foot facility, so we started
filling it with freeze dryers. Very soon we will have 18
large freeze dryers in that facility. Next steps will be to add
" We have multiple stores
that are taking out
kibble shelves to add
more freezers. "
Amy Snell, Northwest Naturals
another facility and other freeze dryers somewhere else.
Freeze drying demand from our private label brands and
our Northwest Naturals brand continues to boom. "
Morasch said raw frozen and freeze-dried offerings
are growing equally fast. Most Northwest Naturals
freeze-dry formulas match the raw frozen formulas.
Customers often start with feeding a freeze-dried diet
and shift to the raw frozen product, while other customers
use the freeze-dried products as treats or toppers.
Freeze-dried products offer the convenience of being
www.petfoodprocessing.net | March 2022 | PET FOOD PROCESSING 15
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PET Food Processing - March 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PET Food Processing - March 2022

PET Food Processing - March 2022 - Intro
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 1
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 2
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 3
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 4
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 5
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 6
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 7
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 8
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 9
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 10
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 11
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 12
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 13
PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 14
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PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 18
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PET Food Processing - March 2022 - 20
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