Why contaminant detectors are essential for the safe production of pet food

Nicola Brittain

Detection equipment can help ensure pet food complies with both hygiene and contaminant standards.

The production of pet food is big business in the UK with more than half of households (57% in 2023) owning at least one pet and 21% of British householders admitting to spending as much, if not more, on pet food than they do on their own groceries.

According to the association ‘UK Pet Food’, over 50 pieces of legislation exist to ensure high standards and safety and hygiene in the manufacture of pet food, and the Guide to Good Practice for the Manufacture of Safe Pet Food developed by FEDIAF comprehensively covers the safety and hygiene of pet food processes and products.

As with human food manufacturers, pet food companies are required to adopt a formal foreign bodies control policy. This includes introducing measures to prevent, control or detect potential contaminants identified by hazard assessments. As such, sensitive and hygienic contaminant detection equipment can play a crucial role in assisting pet food processors to protect pets, safeguard their brand and adhere to these stringent regulations.

Catching metal contaminants at the beginning rather than the tail-end of lines can save money and companies such as Fortress Technology have developed detection equipment to do just this.

Protecting brands

Fortress has designed a Meat Pump Metal Detector that tackles contamination while simultaneously upholding hygiene with wet viscous pet food. to prevent metal contaminants reaching the cooking and packing stages, the inspection system’s removable plastic tube is constructed from Delrin, a wear resistant thermoplastic.

The detector’s slim-line machine is IP69K-rated and constructed with no metal ends, ensuring no bacteria-harbouring crevices. Customised Delrin wrenches on the machine enable operators on wet food processing lines to loosen and tighten the pipe’s threads without damaging the equipment. A roll out mobile frame gives processors good flexibility. Additionally, the rail mounted reject valve supports fast removal of the pipe for cleaning and reassembly.

Operatives can then can blast high pressure water jets through the system, eliminating bacteria and product residue to prevent cross contamination. By optimising hygiene standards, the pump helps to prevent cross-contact contamination and the spread of bacteria in pet food products.

With animal owners spending such sizable sums on pet food, processors need to ensure every meal and treat has undergone thorough contamination detection during the production process, and that customers receive quality assurance that reflects the amount of love and commitment they feel for their pets.