What you need to know about Sustainability, Food Safety and Quality Control

Choosing the right food can be an overwhelming decision. There are thousands of options, and many differing opinions on what makes a food ‘good’. ROYAL CANIN offers individualized health nutrition worldwide that accurately respects the specificities of cats and dogs, because we fundamentally believe in the distinct nutritional needs of pets.

Our core values

Respect

We respect cats and dogs for the animals they truly are, which is why we always put the needs of cats and dogs first, in order to improve their health and well-being. This is an ethical code that is embedded deep in our philosophy.

Knowledge

Our passion feeds our thirst for knowledge, which inspires our mission for precision, and enables us to deliver targeted nutritional solutions. We commit ourselves to put the needs of cats and dogs at the centre of everything we do.

Who are Royal Canin?

Founded by a veterinarian in 1968, Royal Canin has always been an expert in animal health nutrition.  We place cats and dogs at the heart of each step of the innovation process to develop the optimal nutritional solutions. We put our scientific knowledge at the service of the health and wellbeing of pets.  We base our work on the scientific observation of cats and dogs, learning what makes them unique in their habits and breeds. This guides the design of new diets, not current fads or trends in human nutrition or preferences of the pet owner.

With more published studies than all other manufacturers, Royal Canin and the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition continue to be responsible for significant advancement in the understanding of cat and dog nutrition.

We partner with pet experts – veterinarians, breeders and other professionals – to tailor more than 200 precise nutritional formulations to the real needs of individual breeds, sizes, life stages, lifestyles and across a host of medical conditions. 

Food safety

Safety should be number one priority for pet owners. Factors that impact food safety:

  • Manufacturing site
  • Raw material evaluation
  • Supplier validation and audits
  • Quality control
  • Finished product packaging and storage

How can you find out if a pet food is safe?

The American Animal Hospital Association (2010) and the World Small Animal Veterinary

Association (2011) published nutritional assessment guidelines for cats and dogs. In this

document, specific questions were listed as suggestions to ask of pet food manufacturers. These include:

Do you have a veterinary nutritionist or equivalent staff in your company?

Are they available for consultation or questions?

Who formulates your foods and what are their credentials? 

Which of your diet(s) are tested using AAFCO feeding trials, and which by nutrient analysis?

What specific quality control measures do you use to assure the consistency and quality of your product line?

Where are your foods produced and manufactured? Can this plant be visited?

Will you provide a complete product nutrient analysis for the dog and cat food of interest, including digestibility values?

What is the caloric value per gram, can, or cup of your foods?

What kind of research on your products has been conducted, and are the results published in peer-reviewed journals?

How does Royal Canin answer these questions?

Royal Canin is a worldwide company providing nutritional formulas to cats and dogs in over 91 countries with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities situated throughout the globe. Formulations are determined by a team of veterinary nutritionists, PhD nutritionists and Master of Nutrition primarily stationed at the Royal Canin Research Campus in Aimargues, France, but also in a number of other countries.

Using the knowledge from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, as well as the worldwide body of research, the formulation team develops and validates new nutritional formulations.

Nutritional profile examination

Most formulas have been validated according to AAFCO nutrient profiles and/ or feeding trials though there are some special formulas with specific therapeutic formulations that preclude meeting the AAFCO nutrient profile. These formulas have all gone through alternate product testing, and many have been proven through clinical trials to be efficacious in managing the disease processes for which they were intended. All have been fed to either cats or dogs for long term trials, and the cats and dogs have thrived. Examples would be the Hepatic and Renal support formulas.

Testing beyond AAFCO trials

  • Palatability trials
  • Digestibility trials
  • Blood parameters
  • Relative Supersaturation trials
  • Stool conformation
  • Amino acid analysis
  • Fatty acid analysis
  • Toxicology studies and stability data
  • Clinical trials for efficacy in conjunction with veterinarians and pet owners
  • Peer reviewed research

Quality control

Product quality begins with the audit of every ingredient from every supplier. We source local ingredients whenever possible, however ingredient safety and quality are prioritised over geography in our ingredient selection. Prior to entering the facility, each ingredient is subject to analysis to confirm quality and safety. Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIRS) is used; an analytical test that compares the ‘fingerprint’ of an ingredient to a database of standards (this database takes 3 years to establish). If the NIRS results for the incoming ingredient do not match the standard, then the ingredient is rejected prior to unloading.

The manufacturing facility is composed of 3 separate, but interconnected parts. Each part is color coded: red zone for pre-cooking, yellow for cooking and blue for cooked. Royal Canin workers cannot move freely from one coloured zone to another.

The manufacturing facility is designed in a vertical arrangement which allows for an energy efficient flow, while the computerized formulation management system ensures that every formula is created precisely. During manufacturing, minimum temperatures of 90 C are used for bacterial control; positive environmental pressure to prevent bacterial contamination; bacterial testing and metal detection prior to packaging ensure optimum food safety.

As the bags are filled, nitrogen is forced into the packaging to displace oxygen.

Consequently, once the bag is sealed, there is minimal contact between the kibble and oxygen. This process ensures the food maintains a higher degree of freshness and palatability.

Sustainability- protecting the global environment

We believe that tackling climate change is vital to our planet, and that the security of the World’s food supply depends on it. As a company within Mars, we have a responsibility to mitigate the impact of our business on climate change, and we are committed to pursuing science-based sustainability targets to make that happen.

At Royal Canin, we know that to grow responsibly we have to expand our business without increasing our environmental footprint. In particular, our Sustainable in a Generation (SiG) initiative, launched in 2007, commits us to eliminating fossil fuel use and GHG emissions from our operations by 2040. We have similarly ambitious targets for waste and water usage.

Use of by-products

As recognized by WWF, using by-products is more sustainable and secure than using human-grade ingredients. We use ‘animal parts’ that might otherwise be dumped in landfills, where they would emit carbon dioxide and methane.

By-products are defined by Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) as secondary products produced in addition to the principle product.  They can be from animal or plant sources. By-products are the parts of food-producing animals not generally consumed by North American consumers. The decision to not use these is based upon cultural, philosophical, appearance, or taste preferences. In other areas of the world by-products are eaten regularly as part of a healthy, nutritious diet.

By-products provide high quality protein and other nutrients that are not present in skeletal muscle. What is important is not what looks the ‘best’ on the ingredient panel— but our ability to deliver on the precise nutritional needs of cats and dogs. 

By-products do not include euthanized animals, diseased and/or cancerous animal parts, or foreign materials. Royal Canin only accepts ingredients from validated and regularly audited suppliers.

Sustainable fish sourcing pledge

We are also committed to 100% sustainable sourcing of fish used in all our pet food products. By 2020, we committed to:

  • have all wild caught whole fish & fish fillet replaced by sustainable fish by-products and aquaculture
  • have 100% sustainable wild catch and sustainable aquaculture sources use sustainable alternatives to marine fish ingredients.

How is sustainability this being achieved at Royal Canin?

We adhere to a ‘3R’ policy:

Our sourcing of marine raw materials is a great example:

  1. Reduce absolute quantity- as we do with fish meal, reduce the share of whole-body fish in our fish oil
  2. Reassure: we certify our fish supply chain with third parties (we use IFFO RS to certify our fish oil and fish meal)
  3. Replace: we want to progressively replace fish oil with an alternative source of EPA/DHA (omaga 3 & 6 fatty acids) from 2020.

The 3R policy can be completed by a 4th R: 

  • We seek to ensure that human rights are respected in our supply chains around the world.

Royal Canin is driven by a passion for animals to create diets based in science providing optimum nutrition for dogs and cats. However, the company is more than just this; it is a flagship pushing towards a greener, more sustainable future for subsequent generations of humans and pets alike.

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