Mycotoxins, salmonella, pathogenic bacteria and heavy metals can cause adverse health consequences and even death in our beloved companion animals, making Contaminant Testing crucial to pets’ health and safety.
Whereas the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits aflatoxin (a type of mycotoxin) levels of up to 300 parts per billion (ppb) for beef cattle, it mandates that aflatoxin levels in pet food not exceed just 20 ppb, signifying just how sensitive our precious pets can be. With pet owners at risk of serious illness as well, Contaminant Testing helps protect both our pets and their caretakers.
Mycotoxins are toxic substances naturally produced by fungi found primarily on grain, but other agricultural products are at risk as well. Storage, environmental and ecological conditions affect mycotoxin growth. Some fungi flourish under hot, humid conditions, whereas others prefer cool, wet climates.
The growing conditions of the raw materials dictate the level of risk for mycotoxin contamination. All Trouw Nutrition suppliers must pass a rigorous authentication process before obtaining approval to supply ingredients to the company, and all raw materials receive a score of 1 to 5 for their mycotoxin risk level. Scores may shift year to year depending on varying crop conditions, which dictates the frequency of which they are tested. Scores are communicated to Trouw Nutrition employees via Lab RetrieverTM, our proprietary laboratory information management system (LIMS).
Mycotoxin Risk Level
|Testing Frequency||Infrequently||Annual||Biannual||Quarterly||Every Delivery|
|Example Ingredients||paprika, blueberries||quinoa, millet||tomato, pomegranate||soy beans, wheat||rice, corn|
With major grains and coproducts, such as corn, rice and rice hulls, posing the greatest risk, Trouw Nutrition tests for mycotoxins on every delivery. When possible, mycotoxin testing occurs while the product remains on the delivery truck to ensure that if it is contaminated, it never enters our facilities.
Using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) technology, Trouw Nutrition can isolate the specific mycotoxin in question to determine its presence. The test result is compared to a calibration curve to determine the parts per billion (ppb). The FDA determines the acceptable levels for each mycotoxin and the acceptable levels vary by specie. Trouw Nutrition conducts mycotoxin testing for:
Salmonella naturally lives in the intestines of many different animals, including cats and dogs, but people and animals who consume food or water contaminated with select salmonella strains may be susceptible to an infection, called salmonellosis. Dog or cat food, dog biscuits, pig ears and beef hooves could all be carriers of salmonella. Pets infected with salmonellosis may exhibit fever, shock, lethargy, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss or skin disease.
Trouw Nutrition employs a positive release program for ingredients highly susceptible to salmonella contamination, meaning the ingredients, are not released unless a negative salmonella test is received. Our in-house salmonella testing has been validated according to the FDA‘s Bacteriological Analytical Manual (BAM), the agency’s preferred laboratory procedures for microbiological analyses of foods. Compared to mycotoxin testing, salmonella testing takes longer due to the extra time needed for culturing the samples.
Pathogenic Bacteria Testing
Palatants and probiotics provide tremendous value in creating successful, nutritious pet food products, but they also run the risk of contamination by pathogenic bacteria, such as E.coli, salmonella, listeria and campylobacter. Ingredients can become contaminated with pathogenic bacteria through exposure to contaminated water, air, soil or animal manure. Pathogenic bacteria can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever and lethargy in pets. Even without displaying these symptoms, pets can be carriers of pathogenic bacteria, placing their owners at risk. As with all major contaminants, Trouw Nutrition employs Contaminant Testing throughout the production process to ensure sanitation and food safety.
Heavy Metal Testing
Trouw Nutrition produces many trace mineral premixes and blends as these provide essential nutrients to the pet. However, trace minerals and other ingredients mined from the earth risk heavy metal contamination from polluted soil, chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
Heavy metals, such as arsenic, nickel, lead and mercury, pose a significant threat due to their lack of chemical or biological degradability, keeping them in the environment for hundreds of years. Heavy metals can provoke severe health disorders, such as ulcerative dermatitis, pancreatic failure, anemia, epileptic seizures and bone sclerosis. Trouw Nutrition conducts extensive Heavy Metal Testing as part of Nutrace Plus, our companywide proactive quality assurance program.
Certificate of Analysis
Pet owners can rest assured knowing that ingredient suppliers, pet food manufacturers and the industry as a whole conduct numerous tests for these contaminants throughout the supply chain to provide the high-quality, safe ingredients and pet foods consumers have come to love and expect.
After receiving a mycotoxin test result within the permissible range or a negative test result for salmonella, pathogenic bacteria or heavy metals, Trouw Nutrition will issue a Certificate of Analysis verifying the results, including the acceptable limit, the rejection minimum and maximum, and the mycotoxin score or the negative status achieved for salmonella, pathogenic bacteria or heavy metals.
Contact your Trouw Nutrition sales representative, call 800.365.1357 or email email@example.com to ask about contaminant testing and obtaining your Certificates of Analysis, authenticating the high quality of your pet food products.