The new site of Perfection Pet Foods in Visalia, California, USA may be more advanced than a human food plant in terms of food safety, according to Ed Cooper, VP of operations for PPF.
The standards required of pet food in the United States, and about 75 other countries, are rapidly moving toward the standards PPF will implement when it starts producing what it soon expects to be 140,000 tons of dry pet food by March.
Cooper said that even during the financial crisis the demand for quality pet food continues to grow at a rapid pace. “The importance of the family pet has grown so much, the phrase 'pet owners' is now evolving into 'pet parents’,”he said.
PPF expects to double production in about two years and expand from 30 employees to 80. By then, it also hopes to be using mainly local ingredients to make more than 200 dog and cat food formulas.
Perfection Pet Foods will (toll)-manufacture foods under nationally recognized brands. The company is a subsidiary of Western Milling Quality Feeds in Goshen, California.
The new plant has an on-site independent certified lab that will test the ingredients that arrive at the plant through to the end product.
The lab, certified to test food for human consumption as well, employs four and also does testing for Western Milling as well as for companies with production plants across the United States.
The pet food plant will also have sealed rooms separating different production stages, and in the room where wet and dry ingredients are combined — considered the most potentially dangerous area for development of bacteria and toxins — employees will wear clothing, shoe covers and hairnets which never leave the room and use special stations to scrub any exposed skin.
The plant will also circulate air through three special Hepa filters to ensure no outside air invades the plant and will use special enamel floor coating to ensure food safety.