Raw pet food company Iron Will Raw Inc. is moving from its Welland, Ontario facility to a food production facility in St. Catharines, Ontario on June 1, 2018. The new facility was constructed to meet federal food safety guidelines set out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for human food production.
The 12,000 square foot plant will enable the company to meet food safety standards for raw pet food manufacturers. The production facility is the first of its kind in the region for a raw pet food manufacturer. The move reflects the company’s mission to manufacture the safest and highest quality raw pet food in Canada.
“Today’s consumers are looking for transparency, quality and products they can trust and feel confident feeding to their four legged family members,” said president and owner of Iron Will Raw, Matt Bonanno, in a press release. “This facility will allow us to continue producing a product that checks all of those boxes and more for customers and in turn provides tremendous confidence to our retailers and distributors in our products. The raw pet food market is emerging, and it’s our goal to be a leader in these important initiatives. I hope this milestone conveys the commitment we have to our products and the safety and quality that our customers can expect from Iron Will Raw.”
Iron Will Raw Inc. has also partnered with Niagara College’s Food Science program to develop and implement a HACCP compliant food safety program to ensure that food safety is the number one priority in their products, along with high quality natural ingredients.
“I am excited to hear this news about Iron Will’s new facility,” said Kristine Canniff, research project manager of the Canadian Food & Wine Institute Innovation Centre at Niagara College. “When the team and I first met Patti and Matt, they were setting a new bar for pet food safety. Since then, we have collaborated on two projects and they even hired our Culinary Innovation & Food Science student who worked on the project for his summer co-op term. This will be a state of the art facility with food products that will keep our furry friends as healthy as we are when it comes to safe, quality food.”
In an experiment, processing chicken in different ways altered the qualities of its proteins and digestibility in pet food. Scientists compared chicken meal to raw, steamed and retorted chicken-based ingredients. All of these pet food ingredients were freeze-dried prior to digestibility testing.
“The chicken meal was the biggest outlier in terms of composition and nutrient digestibility,” said study co-author Kelly Swanson, PhD, University of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign professor in the animal sciences department’s nutrition division. “The raw, retorted and steamed chicken sources were pretty comparable. Considering all things, the steamed source was the best, but all three were pretty high quality and highly digestible.”
The Journal of Animal Science published the results of Swanson’s study.
Freeze-dried raw meat has grown in popularity in pet food. Freeze-dried raw meat may allow dog and cat food brands to meet consumer demands for raw meat, while reducing safety risks from unprocessed raw meat.
By Lindsay Beaton
As work continues on creating a new nutrition label that focuses on simplifying information for consumers, challenges remain.
By Tang Yu