It’s interesting as we meet and speak to numerous people how the ideas and misconceptions of dry food production come about. We hear all kinds of things from boiling ingredients for days on end at very high temperatures to the types of meat ingredients used including dead zoo animals, road kill and even euthanised cats and dogs. Unfortunately a lot of this information can be found on the internet and I’m sure some of those things are correct. However, not all foods are created the same way.
First of all the rules for food production in the EU are somewhat different from other parts of the world and it will be no surprise to learn that the industry is highly regulated compared to others. For example in the EU we are only allowed to use meat fit for hitman consumption but not necessarily for human consumption mainly for commercial reasons. This means that we use the rest of the chicken once the parts for human use have been removed just like many raw feeders use. So, all foods produced in the EU that state Human Grade meats remember, is not a feature but a requirement.
So let me explain a little on how our Legacy food is produced. First of all we use a high degree of fresh meat, this meat goes through a process whereby the water and oil is extracted via centrifuge leaving a more concentrated meat ready for production. The oil is retained for use later and the water discarded. We also use a degree of meat meal or dried meat product. Nutritionally both fresh and dried are similar but cost wise fresh is a more expensive ingredient. We put up to 60% fresh meat in to our foods and no less that 28%. Whilst many producers use fresh very few use such a high level, in fact, the use of such high levels of fresh create production issues and is simply harder to make.
In simple terms we start the production process with a dry mix which include vitamins, minerals etc and a wet mix which is primarily meat. Using a twin screw thermal extruder we then pull these ingredients through the machine add steam and then both parts (wet and dry mixes) come together for the final stage. The process takes just a few minutes and the food in cooked at between 90 and 110 degrees by the steam. 90 degrees is the required minimum and acts as a kill step. As the food exits the extruder its well formed, hot and moist. The next stage being the dryer.
The food comes out of the extruder quite fast, over 20mph and meets a conveyer, this takes the food on the drying stage and depending on the mix involved may go on to a further drying stage. Finally the oils extracted at the beginning are applied to the now dry kibble.
Bagging is the final step and as you can imagine this is done with automated weighers and a group of people to ensure the empty bag is ready, filled correctly and then sealed. The product is then stacked on pallets and is ready to come to us and then you
Production is a quick process and in typically complete in around 25 mins with the most time spent drying the food. Quality control is very high and in the most part exceeds the standards applied to human food production. Every ingredient in every bag is traceable back to the point of origin and every batch has a sample stored as a reference point.
So, next time you look in to one of our bags try to remember that not all foods are created equally