Pet Food Ingredients
on March 26, 2010

Peas in petfood

The lowly pea appears to be an effective ingredient for the next generation of dog and cat diets

As petfood companies and pet owners continue to explore a broader range of ingredient options, the lowly pea (Pisum sativum) has been gaining in popularity. Not to be confused with the fresh or succulent green pea, the type that is being used in an ever widening array of applications is dried peas. These peas are part of a group of seed legumes known as pulses-leguminous dry seeds removed from their pods (a general description of these pulses was provided in a previous column.

Dried peas, commonly known as split peas or field peas, along with several co-products such as pea fiber and pea protein concentrate, are being used on a routine basis in petfood-in some cases taking a very prominent position on petfood ingredient panels. Given their growing popularity, a look at their acceptability, processing effects, regulatory status, nutritional benefits or challenges is probably in order.

Peas are an annual cool season legume grown in temperate climates around the globe. In North America they are more commonly produced in the central and high plains of northern tier states and further north into central and western Canada. Because peas are legumes and fix nitrogen in the soil, they are considered a tool in sustainable agriculture strategies and fit well in rotations with more traditional grains. Peas are planted in the spring once ground temperatures warm past 40ËšF and are harvested in late summer to early autumn.

The dried seeds store well and for the most part are handled much…

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