Introducing Grain Free Precise Holistic Complete

We recently launched our Grain Free Precise Holistic Complete and have had a great response! Wondering why we decided to add this formula? Here’s some background from the Precise team (Ramona Keith, marketing manager; Dr. Lisa Drapela, staff veterinarian; Mike Compton, vice president of operations; and Linda Arndt, “The Great Dane Lady”).

Introducing Grain Free Precise Holistic Complete
With the recent explosion of grain free formulas in the pet food market, we knew that we needed to develop grain free options for our customers as well. Pet foods that would combine the same exceptional nutrition of Precise Holistic Complete, with the rising demand for grain free diets. But we were concerned with the possibility of compromising our superior foods by rushing into products that were not well conceived.

So after careful consideration and research, we developed our formulas with moderate levels of protein, that are tried and true, common sense levels that work well for all breeds and all life stages of dogs and cats. The meat sources of the protein include lamb, turkey, pork, and chicken. We use garbanzo beans (also known as chick peas), a low glycemic and gluten-free alternative to potatoes, in our canine formulas to provide necessary carbohydrates. Our feline formula uses Spring Yellow Peas, which also provide a wonderful source of carbohydrates that are lacking when the grains are removed. Both types of peas provide extra protein, fiber, and other beneficial nutrients and minerals. Plus, the valuable protein they provide does not interfere with the delicate mineral balance of the food, thus eliminating the need for more added minerals in the final product.

Once we had these major considerations established, we knew that by combining them with the Life Circle Essentials of our original holistic line, we would have foods that are nutritious and safe, and that address concerns such as allergies, obesity, and digestibility. Quality proteins, natural antioxidant vitamins, balanced fatty acids, probiotics and prebiotics, and select herbal and botanical ingredients. Plus the remarkable supplements that offer unique benefits to our pet foods.

We think our new Grain Free Precise Holistic Complete formulas were worth the wait. Same exceptional nutrition, zero grains. And as always, exceptional nutrition that promotes health, happiness, and harmony . . . for a lifetime.

Precise Pet Products is a subsidiary of Texas Farm Products Company, an 80 year-old, family- owned and independently minded company, that makes our own food and has a 100 percent safety record. The company has developed a reputation of integrity that is generated by a large number of animal-loving employees who are dedicated to producing safe, reliable, and wholesome products that provide the best possible nutrition for the animals we love.

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Quality Time: Digestibility studies

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

In our previous Quality Time posts, we discussed developing formulas and mentioned conducting a series of tests, including digestibility studies. When we develop new formulas, we want them to taste good, but also want to make sure they are healthy for your pet’s digestive system.

Digestibility studies are important because they allow us to understand how the animals are utilizing the nutrients in the food.

The process is simple. We feed several animals for a specific period of time and then begin collecting the feces. We then test the feces to determine what nutrients were digested and what nutrients were not.

If the results of this and additional tests meet our high standards, we move the formula into full-scale production and introduce the product to our Precise fans!

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Quality Time: Palatability tests

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

In our previous Quality Time post, we discussed developing formulas and mentioned conducting palatability tests. When we develop new formulas, we want to make sure they are not only healthy, but taste delicious too!

Palatability tests are run against competitive products to measure how tasty and appetizing a new formula is. The new formula is shipped to a palatability-testing lab that is contracted to offer these types of services.

To test the palatability, the animals are presented with two bowls. The bowls are presented at the same time with product A in one bowl and product B in the other. The observer makes note of the first choice the animal makes. After about 15 minutes, the bowls are removed and weighed to determine what food was not consumed.

On the second day of testing, the bowls hold the same products, but their position is swapped due to a possible left-right bias. Observers make note of the first choice preference and weigh the food, just as before. They continue this process for a third day. Afterward, they enter values in a computer and do statistical analysis to determine which was preferred over a three-day period of time.

After we receive the statistical information, we use it along with other test results, such as digestibility tests, to decide if the formula meets our high-standards and will satisfy and nourish our Precise pets.

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Quality Time: Developing formulas

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Here at Precise, everyone knows pet food like the back of their hands. That’s why ideas for developing or improving formulas usually originate with the folks in the field. After identifying a need for a particular product or segment of the pet population, we research the nutritional requirements and profiles of the ingredients used to put the formula together.

After the preliminary research is complete, we bring the materials to our quality assurance lab where we actually create the initial formula on a computer. The computer program produces a nutrient profile based on ingredients we have to work with. If there is a unique ingredient that we don’t normally have, we order a small amount of that ingredient for a test run to make sure that everything we need to create the formula lies within the capabilities of the plant.

Once we have our initial run and are successful, we conduct a series of tests – one for palatability and another for digestibility. Once these are successful, our new formulas are ready for happy pet consumption!

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Quality Time: Ingredient sourcing

 

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Curious about where ingredients found in Precise pet food are sourced? We’re happy to explain.

All of our products are naturally preserved and come from trusted distributors. Our chicken products (meal, chicken fat, chicken flavor) all originate from birds that are raised with the same standards and practices as those raised for human consumption.

Many ingredients (vegetables and fruits) found in Precise Holistic Complete also come from the same sources that stock your local grocery store. Additionally, the grains used are purchased based on specific USDA standards. When they are received, we check them very closely to make sure they meet our standards before we even unload them from the truck!

Our chicken products come from Arkansas, Mississippi and Oklahoma, while our lamb meal is from New Zealand.  Our duck products come from Italy. Our fresh-caught salmon in Precise Holistic Complete is imported from Norway. Additionally, the grains and botanicals we use are both of U.S. origin.

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Quality Time: Near-infrared testing

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Another important test we perform on our pet foods here at Precise is Near-infrared (NIR) testing. These tests analyze properties such as fat, fiber and amino acids, and help us provide ongoing analysis along the production line as our food is being made.

What used to take hours can now be done in 15 seconds, which allows us to test more often and in a more effective way. Here are a few photos of the process. First, here is a sample being prepared for NIR analysis:

Then the sample is loaded onto the NIR machine:

Finally, our staff monitors the NIR results to be sure it meets our stringent standards:

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Quality Time: Water Activity Tests

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Tests, tests and more tests! Along with our salmonella and chicken fat tests, we also test for water activity.

Water activity is a measurement of the amount of free water available to support growth of yeasts and molds, which in turn is a good predictor of product shelf life. To assure product freshness, we monitor water activity on each production run in our on-site quality assurance laboratory.  Below is a photo of finished product being tested for water activity.

Below is a photo of finished product being tested for water activity:



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Quality Time: What the new FDA regulations mean for Precise

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

Not surprisingly, the Food and Safety Modernization Act affects the pet food industry as well as the overall food production system. Fortunately for us, we’re happy to say the changes are minimal. We already had many of the new requirements in place, so we’re able to quickly adapt to meet new standards.

The new law requires that pet manufacturers have a Hazardous Assessment of Critical Control Points (HACCP) program in place. HACCP is a process that analyzes potential hazards. For example, when we receive a shipment of grains, they must meet our required standards. We test the grains, and as long as it fits our criteria, we continue with our process. If they do not fit our standard, it is in our plan to send them back.

Additionally, companies must solidify Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). This means that for every part of the production process, the company must have written step-by-step instructions on how to complete specific jobs, how to operate equipment and how the equipment should be maintained.

At Precise, we already had both the HACCP and GMP programs in place due to our American Institute of Baking certification, so we’re ahead of the curve.

In the end, the new regulations are going to put the pet food industry even more under the jurisdiction of the FDA, meaning more inspections. We are proud to say that the pet food industry is on its way to looking more and more like the food producing industry, which means more safe, high quality foods for your pets!

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Quality Time: Chicken fat

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

After sharing information on our salmonella testing, new packaging machines and shift tests, I’m back this month with an overview of our chicken fat tests.

Chicken fat has essential fatty acid levels to improve your pet’s skin and coat. Chicken fat is also a healthy source of energy.

Here’s a photo of a chicken fat sample:

To prevent rancidity, we perform these quality checks on our chicken fat samples:

  • Free fatty acids
  • Peroxides
  • Percentage of fines
  • Color
  • Temperature
  • Odor

Here is a photo of the the free fatty acid test being done:

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Quality Time: Shift work

Mike Compton is vice president of operations at Precise’s parent company, Texas Farm Products Company, and is responsible for the operations, quality assurance and nutritional content of our pet food. Each month on the blog, he shares how we keep our pet food safe and healthy. Read past Quality Time blog posts here.

I’m back in the New Year with our first Quality Time post of 2011. I hope you had a great holiday season!

Even during the busy stretch of holidays between Thanksgiving and the New Year, our quality assurance staff is hard at work around the clock to make sure our pet food is safe and healthy for your pets. And when I say around the clock, I mean it: As part of our efforts to be the best, we take test samples of our food during each of our three shifts at our plant in Nacogdoches, Texas.

This way, we don’t miss out on anything by only testing during the day or during the night. Here’s a picture to illustrate this, showing composite samples taken and marked by employees on the first, second and third shifts. This is just one example of the many samples that are taken during each shift.

I’ll be back next month with more information on our quality assurance practices but, in the meantime, check in on my previous posts on salmonella and our new packaging machines.

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