Guide to Quality Assurance in Pet Food Manufacturing

Guide to Product Inspection of Pet Food

This guide for pet food manufacturers outlines how innovative product inspection solutions can help...

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Learn how manufacturers help keep pets safe and healthy by implementing product inspection solutions...

How can I prevent over-filling and under-filling of pet food?

Checkweigher for pet food products

Pet food checkweighers offer precise weight measurement of pet food and pet food packaging. Checkweighers from METTLER TOLEDO provide feedback to filling machines, enabling real-time adjustments to correct over-filling and under-filling errors. Their hygienic design stands up to the harsh cleaning routines required in wet pet food production environments, and the tool-less disassembly and reassembly makes cleaning and maintenance faster.

How is metal detection used in the pet food industry?

Pet food manufacturers use industrial metal detectors for pet food to detect ferrous, non-ferrous, and stainless-steel metal contaminants in pet food products before they leave the factory. In a wet pet food production scenario, the food is usually pumped through pipes or run on conveyors, while dry food production will often involve vertical applications.

Metal contaminants can enter pet food during production through broken machinery, accidental introduction by employees, or via raw materials from suppliers. Preventing metal-contaminated pet food from reaching store shelves reduces the risk of unsafe products being ingested by pets. METTLER TOLEDO metal detection systems are capable of performing inspections in vertical and pipeline applications as well as conveyorized systems, allowing manufacturers to place them where they are most effective.

Foreign body detection for pet food products

How is x-ray inspection used in the pet food industry?

X-ray inspection for pet food products

X-ray inspection is used for foreign body contamination detection in pet food, and is also used to perform completeness checks of packages. X-ray systems for pet food can detect and reject contaminants such as plastic, glass, bone, rubber, metal and stones, and can be placed at the critical control points along all areas of the production line.

How can I detect foreign body contamination in pet food?

Physical contamination detection in pet food can be achieved by utilizing metal detection systems to identify metal contaminants at the start of production, in-processing and end of line. X-ray inspection systems also detect metal, as well plastic, glass, rubber, stone, minerals, or bone. The choice between metal detection or x-ray can be down to a number of factors, including budget and the likely types of contamination as identified in the Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point (HACCP) audit. 

You can read more about this in our Metal Detection, X-ray or Both Guide.

How do I minimize labeling issues with pet food?

The best method for avoiding labeling issues on pet food products – including mislabeling, poorly-applied labeling or poorly printed labels – is to implement vision inspection processes to visually inspect package labels for accurate content and acceptable quality. Installing a machine vision system on the production line can be one of the most efficient ways to inspect product labels. Vision inspection systems for pet food perform automated label content and quality checks on every package as it travels along the production line, identifying packages with labels that fail to fit your quality control standards. Implementing this kind of process can help to keep manufacturers compliant with pet food labeling regulations and guidelines, by automatically removing any products that have missing or incomplete information on the label.

Are there regulations on pet food?

Governments do regulate the production of pet food, covering (in general) accurate labeling, advertising claims, the use of additives and accurate net weight display. In the United States and Canada, the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) publishes guidance for pet food packaging and production, while in the European Union, guidance is provided by FEDIAF, the European Pet Food Industry. 

What are the AAFCO Labeling guidelines for the US and Canada?

The AAFCO guidelines provide a standardization of the display of nutritional information, ingredient statements and instructions for storage and handling. Visit the AAFCO website for more information.