Safety of pet food packaging

Having dropped off a urine sample from Jacques (the white one) at the vet yesterday, and getting dinged for $400 while we were away, I’m increasingly sensitive about the food we feed the cats.

doug.cats.jun.14Joe Pryweller, an analyst for The Freedonia Group, an industry market research consultancy ( writes in Food Safety Magazine that food packaging can significantly influence the quality and safety of the food product in question by providing a barrier to moisture and other environmental conditions that may result in contamination and/or spoilage.

The U.S. demand for pet food packaging is expected to rise 4.8 percent annually to $2.5 billion by 2018. Growth will be based on the use of higher value, more sophisticated packaging and continued strength in pet food shipments. The proliferation of premium pet food brands will also spur packaging demand growth, as higher value containers will be required to provide superior graphics, puncture resistance to reduce likelihood of contamination and barrier protection for these more expensive, higher-quality products.

While limited design flexibility and the inconvenience of opening cans have been the chief drawbacks of metal pet food containers, this segment is attempting to increase its competitiveness by emphasizing the safety of steel cans and their environmental friendliness due to their recyclability and use of recycled content. A much lower rate of product recalls for pet food exists for food packaged in metal cans than for that packaged in plastic alternatives, due to the tight seal and tamper evidence in cans.

According to a new study, Pet Food Packaging, demand for metal cans in pet food packaging is forecast to rise 2.7 percent annually to $650 million in 2018. study analyzed the $2 billion U.S. pet food packaging industry. It presents historical demand data for 2003, 2008 and 2013, and forecasts for 2018 and 2023 by application (e.g., dry food, wet food, pet treats, chilled and frozen), animal (e.g., dog food, cat food), type (e.g., bags, metal cans, pouches, folding cartons, plastic bottles and jars, tubs and cups) and material (paperboard, plastic, metal, wovens).

Cans held 29 percent of the pet food packaging market in 2013. The percentage of overall can demand in pet food packaging will continue to decline due to supplantation by other packaging types, including retort pouches, tubs and cups, and chubs. Pouch demand in pet food packaging is forecast to rise 8.3 percent per annum to $540 million in 2018, the fastest pace of growth among pet food packaging types. For small packages of dry food, pouches will continue to supplant bags. For wet food, retort pouches will continue to gain acceptance as an alternative to metal cans, growing in popularity due to peelable lids that are easier to open and allow the consumer to avoid cuts from metal edges and especially in applications where strength and stiffness are not primary factors.

Follow the bug: 10% of chicken packaging contaminated with campylobacter – on the outside

Just cook it doesn’t cut it.

Especially when 10 per cent of 42 samples of packaging on chicken is contaminated with campylobacter on the outside.

(And another reason to wrap any poultry in extra plastic, especially if placing into a reusable bag.)

The Royal Environmental Health Institute of Scotland and other groups said the study confirmed the results of a previous survey by the group that also showed that approximately 10% of samples were contaminated.

The Chairman of the West of Scotland Food Liaison Group (WOSFLG), Mr Leslie Paton said, “We know that it is fairly common to find Campylobacter in raw chicken but we were quite concerned about the extent to which the external surfaces of the packaging were also contaminated. There are implications for anyone handling such packaging and consumers should take care as there is a possibility of cross contamination to other surfaces and foods.”

Food trial goes wrong at hospital; 10 sick

An investigation is under way at a U.K. hospital after 10 staff who took part in a food trial were struck down with illness.

Eight of the catering team at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness received treatment in the accident and emergency department.

The workers were testing a new food product aimed at patients with swallowing difficulties, such as stroke victims and dementia sufferers.

Symptoms ranged from temporary loss of vision to facial inflammation. None of the staff was detained in hospital and all are now back at work. No patients were affected and the kitchens were not shut down. It is believed that the illness was not food-related, a spokeswoman for NHS Highland said. The food packaging is the suspected source of the illnesses.

A source, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Some had lost their vision because their eyes were so swollen, they couldn’t open them. It must have been frightening."

"I am surprised the kitchen was not closed down for a while to find out what was going on," the source added.

Raigmore has 577 beds and employs around 3,200 staff. The catering department has 60 staff who provide 2,500 meals a day to patients, staff and visitors.

Cargill launches beef line with leakproof packaging

Consumers ain’t no dummies.

Cargill asked consumers what they wanted in beef packaging and they said stuff that doesn’t leak.

David Bisek, associate brand manager for Cargill said in a statement.

“Shoppers have spoken and Cargill has listened. They told us their No. 1 frustration with current fresh beef packaging is the fact that it leaked. These leaks plague consumers throughout the shopping process: they leave a mess in grocery carts, they stain car upholstery and they necessitate refrigerator clean-up during storage.”

And the cross-contamination potential is enormous.

So Cargill introduced a new Grantwood Meats line where beef is vacuum-sealed into a leakproof package with a peel-to-open tab. It is freezer-ready and has a 30-day shelf life from the packing date.

Meatingplace says the Grantwood Meats line includes muscle cuts and roasts.

The need for food packaging: The French fight back

When I was on The Dr. Oz show for 30 seconds a couple of months ago, I noted that leading supermarkets are taking steps to minimize contact between the thousands of sniffling, sneezing and wheezing customers who daily rifle through bread bins, climb on piles of plantains, and snort olives.

Albert Amgar alerted me to a new spot from the French Plastic and Flexible Packaging Association, highlighting the need for food packaging. I’m looking at you, Whole Foods.