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Pet Food Processing / Pet Food Ingredients / Pet Food Safety
On February 1, 2013

Controlling Salmonella in dry petfood

New research shows promise for preventing recontamination after extrusion with sodium bisulfate, an ingredient already used in many petfoods

["Every manufacturer is looking for a safety net.", "Microbiologists call it the proton motive force.", "In its dry form, sodium bisulfate will not react with kibble, allowing it to remain active until consumption. "]

With pending regulations from the Food Safety Modernization Act likely to affect the production of petfood, safety has become the top priority for every producer in our industry. Recent publications have linked petfood to transmission of pathogenic Salmonella spp. to humans and prompted a new description for petfoods as a "direct human contact feed" (Li et al., 2012).

While various strategies to control Salmonella have led to more vendor inspections, hazard analysis and critical control point (HACCP) plans and hold-and-release programs, every manufacturer is looking for a safety net. One that may hold promise is an ingredient currently used for numerous purposes in petfoods today: sodium bisulfate.

Sodium bisulfate is currently used in petfood for feline urine acidification, pH reduction and microbial control of soft treats and liquid digest (Aldrich, 2012). New research conducted at independent laboratories indicates that sodium bisulfate controls Salmonella contamination on the surface of extruded dry petfood.

The manufacture of  dry petfood contains heat lethality steps (the pre-conditioner and extruder). Because of these "kill steps," the incidence of Salmonella is relatively low. However, instances of contamination continue to occur. Thus, reports of Salmonella-positive foods in the market are likely the result of recontamination after the extruder.

This recontamination could potentially occur from growth of Salmonella inside…

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