Royal Canin is making a new type of petfood formula designed for dogs with intense allergic reactions to certain proteins, using chicken feathers as the main source of protein instead.
The new Anallergenic dog food formula was developed over 10 years for dogs that do not respond to limited-ingredient diets because it uses a new source of protein: feather meal. Royal Canin USA President Keith Levy says the feather meal is nutritious and can be made very palatable.
"Feathers are broken down to an amino acid level and don't have much of a taste. Then we add palatizers for taste. In this case, we have to be very careful not to provoke an allergic reaction. That's why it took so long to develop this particular food. We're looking for lots of different sources of protein for our foods: hydrolyzed soy; we are currently researching worm meal as a potential protein source for some of our foods in China. I tried some kibble made with worm meal once - it tasted very good. So our approach goes way beyond feathers," he says.
Levy says one of the benefits to using feather meal is that it supports the company's efforts in sustainability.
"Ultimately we'll have an issue with finding protein for the human food chain. By using alternative sources of protein, we're using something that would otherwise end up in a landfill," says Levy. "It's the best of both worlds: You're not competing with the human food chain, reducing waste and providing an incredibly nutritious protein."