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Rad Cat and HPP

January 18, 2016

By Tracey Hatch-Rizzi, LAc, MAcOM, Co-Founder

 

I’m going to be truly honest:  I have never been excited about high pressure processing or using this process on our poultry or any of our meats.  But, the FDA has always had a problem with raw pet food and they claim how unsafe it is due to potential bacterial contamination.  They even launched a campaign this last summer where they are continuing to test hundreds (thousands?) of raw pet food samples for pathogens, which has resulted in a number of recalls. 

 

But the reason why we started using HPP isn’t because we’re scared of a recall.  Seriously, it must be terrible to have one and I feel very fortunate and grateful that at the time of this writing, after almost eleven years on the market, we have never had to venture into that storm.  I feel for every company that has been forced to recall their products – I never want to see that happen to anyone in the industry.  When one raw company has a recall, it hurts us all.

 

I believe, like so many others, that cats and dogs are able to handle even moderate bacterial loads without harm.  The FDA is concerned about humans handling potentially “contaminated” food and having it sitting on dishes for their pets to eat.  Truthfully, there should be more concern about a cat that has just left the litter box, jumping on the counter or sauntering across your pillow.

 

There is a terrible double standard when it comes to raw poultry and meat and the FDA.  Many people don’t realize that it is acceptable for pathogens to be present in meat and poultry intended for human consumption.  Yep, it’s fine for that lovely chicken breast you take home to eat to have salmonella or E.coli.  In fact, those parts are not even treated for pathogens at the poultry slaughterhouse.  Nor are they tested.  Whole birds are and maybe chopped fryers, but the boneless, skinless parts we love so much are not even monitored.  But, if we use those parts in a wholesome, natural pet food, we – the manufacturer – are held accountable for pathogens in the food.  If they’re found in our products, no matter how some of us have fought, we recall and our reputations suffer for ingredients that may come to us, the manufacturer, already tainted.  Sure, we test, and rinse and do everything we can to make the cleanest products possible – all of us.  But sometimes, bacteria slip by all of the processes we have in place.  Every single chicken thigh can’t be tested.  We can test the raw materials when they arrive at our plants, but when you have a truckload delivered, how anyone can be sure?  Even if the poultry is organic, free-range and the best quality one can find, all it takes is one person at the slaughterhouse to make a mistake and contaminate the entire line (yes, contamination comes from improper evisceration). But mistakes happen, because no one is perfect. For human food, this contamination doesn’t matter.  For raw pet food, that’s a very big deal and it’s my job, as the manufacturer, to make sure my products are safe.

 

But, for now, the FDA is targeting raw food manufacturers - even those that use HPP.  It is the goal of several of us that have adopted this process to petition the FDA to recognize HPP as an official kill-step for pathogens, like it is for other ready-to-eat foods.

 

Many folks don’t realize how much of what we purchase has potentially been HPP’d:  fruits, vegetables, guacamole, salsa, smoked salmon, packaged lettuce, jam, hummus. . . I could go on and on.  It’s used not only to kill bacteria, like its use for juice (“cold pasteurized”), but to extend the shelf-life of many products.

 

We have always had processes in place to make sure our products are safe and free from pathogens.  For almost eleven years, we have sold a raw cat food that has saved many cats’ lives and we are very proud of it.  Even though we now use HPP on our poultry thighs and organs, cats still absolutely love our food and it will continue to save cats’ lives.

 

The changes to the poultry are truly minimal.  There is a change in color – it’s a little lighter, and the grind is slightly smaller.  For some reason, which I can’t explain, the flavour is enhanced!  I have four cats and two aren’t poultry eaters.  As soon as I dished up the HPP’d chicken, they all inhaled it – the plates were licked clean.  We did a test with about 24 cats and the HPP’d chicken and every single kitty absolutely loved it.  Some of our customers’ “test kitties” loved it so much, their pet parents wanted to purchase the rest of our HPP’d product over the non-HPP’d.

 

My hope in writing this post is to instill a greater understanding of why we decided to use this process on our poultry ingredients.  Our products still contain organic and free-range ingredients and are the exact same quality they have always been.

 

We have enhanced our website with many new pages which includes information on our Safety and Quality, about the HPP process itself, and more detailed feeding guidelines.  Please visit our site and use the contact us page with any questions, comments or feedback.

 

Thank you for reading this, for your support of our little cat food company and for feeding your felines like the carnivores they are.

 

 




Comments

Comments

33 Comments
So the beef, lamb and venison products remain unchanged?
By: Dunja on January 18, 2016
Thank you for making us aware of this process. My cat loves your food and as far as I'm concerned, it has made him a new cat. He has kidney issues, and this food was the turning point in his recovery. Thank you for all you do for our pets.
By: Barb Enneking on January 18, 2016
Thank you for making us aware of this process. My cat loves your food and as far as I'm concerned, it has made him a new cat. He has kidney issues, and this food was the turning point in his recovery. Thank you for all you do for our pets.
By: Barb Enneking on January 18, 2016
I want my kitties to be test kitties! I think my cats are keeping the company in business.Ha. Thanks for such a great product.
By: Nicole Talbot on January 19, 2016
My cats have been on the raw diet many years, but didn't love the other brands on the market, many times they had a funky smell also, but Rad Cat, they LOVE it! They are more playful and energetic and I see new hair growth all over their bodies, they seem to be thriving better than ever, and no one throws it up, which I think the other raw foods had too much bone in it. Thanks for an awesome product.
By: Carolyn Keene on January 19, 2016
Wherever you go, whatever you do, we're gonna go through it together. If you could see my kitty's right now, you'd understand. One was raised on RC, the new one canned. (Good stuff) Both stopped eating. I was boiling chicken breasts just to get some food in their bellys. Came across Fresh Pet. Did okay for 10 days. Got some good canned. Nelly did ok. Gidget wanted only Fresh Pet. So we had a system. 1 bowl Fresh Pet, 1 bowl canned. They seemed to be doing okay. They appeared to share the 2 foods. No one was losing weight. Tonight Rad Cat came back. I fed the regular dinner. Then about 2 hours later I broke out the RC. It was still mostly frozen, so the prep time was excruciating! Finally little bowls of RC for all! (Well, not me) I cannot even begin to explain the instant change in my kitty's. Gidget was all Ninja cat, attack everything, who needs sleep! Nelly was all paper, feathers, box, sleep. I will do whatever it takes to keep on feeding my babies Rad Cat. I'll let you how in my next post how long it took to resolve the itch.
By: Kary Stone on January 26, 2016
Our kitties are actively disliking the change to the turkey and chicken. They avoid eating it when we first serve it, but eventually ingest enough to survive. This is very upsetting because they don't care for the other meat kinds at all. We don't know what to do. It was so thrilling to see how excited they'd get about mealtime before; now, it's like they're holding out for their "real" raw food. We've been a Rad Cat family for five years so, this hurts. So far all we've explained to the cats is that the FDA is stupid and it isn't the manufacturer's choice.
By: Shannon on February 26, 2016
Unfortunately my kitties, like Shannon's, do not like the new process HPP either )-: And these are the only two favors that my gang will eat...... It seems like it is not as "juicy". I'm so disappointed as this food has been a LIFE SAVER for my two kitties with IBD and now I have to use freeze dried treats on top to try to encourage them to eat it..... Would love to keep buying your product, any chance of buying the "old formula" if I sign a waiver ?????
By: Lynne on March 13, 2016
Im going to Whiskers in nyc to purchase your chicken Two of my girls one is post op breast cancer survivor and the other hyperthyroid.they have been on canned organic wet cat food .So here goes what i hope will be acceptable to them I'm a bit nervous and i will let you know how it goes i will mix the Rad food in a bit a little at a time with their canned foods and thanks for the blog info of hop sophie
By: sophia on March 14, 2016
Like Shannon and Lynne. My two will not touch the new formula which is devistating.. my male just had his leg amputated 3 months ago and is fighting cancer and my female has hyperthyroidism. .the only food not making them sick.. now back to square one...all I have to say is this sucks!!
By: Marcy on March 15, 2016
I was searching your website because I noticed a change in the food. My cat only likes chicken and turkey and doesn't like this change. It's like the pieces are smaller and it makes it hard for him to eat. He doesn't like it as much. It's really too bad. I've been getting this food for him for a while. I may have to try switching back to Natural Pet Pantry raw to see if he likes that better. I'm not that concerned about the HPP process but I am concerned that he doesn't like his food anymore. =o(
By: Nicole on March 16, 2016
We have been feeding our 3 MaineCoons and 3 strays in the neighbourhood, RAD Turkey, predominately for 10/3 years now - ten for our boys, and 3 for the unfortunate cats left behind by their owners, when they moved. In any case, our 25 pound Maine Coon, promptly sicked up the entire contents of RAD Turkey FFP. We still have a few of the real raw RAD, but what is the point in feeding them RAD when the sole reason I purchased it years ago, was to get away from Feline's Pride, which we did have problems with, and RAD being closer to California, turned out to be the answer. I agree with the owner that feeding only the raw, their feces is not smelly at all and nearly dry looking coming out...like fertilizer, and there has never been any smell in the urine all these years, since getting them off of dry and canned foods. I am well aware of our "RAW" nuts in the supermarkets NOT being raw - just try sprouting them. This is terribly disappointing. I used to eat raw hamburger as a child when making meatloaf, raw eggs, and my mother used to keep the turkey in the sink all nigh to thaw, and we never became ill. Why eat salad at all, if it is not raw and there are no enzymes in it. Soon, we will be put into jail for growing our own vegetables and they will come chop down all our older fruit trees. There will be more illness, as we continue more and more to eat "dead" foods. I used to get drink raw goat and cows milk, and yoghurt and kefir before all that was halted...All I can say is support your local farmer and I too would sign a waiver to continue feeding our cats RAD RAW turkey - ours aren't fond of the chicken. What to do with the 30 RAD that they don't like in the freezer!? The most disappointing news in 2016 - thusfar...OH, and BTW folks, our formerly NON-IRRADIATED spices are now all IRRADIATED, So much for wanting to eat more healthy. What's healthy any more? I feel bad for the owners of businesses like RAD that shared their passion and tried to make our lives easier and our pets lives healthier, only to be brought down like this. It was only a matter of time, but was hoping it wouldn't happen during our pers lifetimes. Just how is it healthy to switch from RAW to cooked after 10 years? Everything is going downhill - FAST. So bloody depressing.
By: Redmund on March 16, 2016
Really appreciate your openness and love that you guys signed the TRUTHABOUTPETFOOD pledge. Bravo. I'm a customer for 10 yrs. plus. I feed all of my cats RC. Not cheap (over $400 monthly), but absolutely worth it. No health issues to report! My problem is that no one likes the new HPP chicken or turkey. I totally understand that you had to carefully weigh the risk to your company, but I think it's a mistake. I will continue to support your wonderful company, but to be honest, I'm gonna strongly consider switching to another raw product. Good Luck!
By: Emily on March 17, 2016
Thanks for taking the time to give such a detailed explanation of the food change. I've loved and trusted your company since you were wee things bringing Rad Cat to my store in Eugene. You have reminded me why I have so much confidence in your products!
By: Miranda on March 21, 2016
We have been an RC family for seven years. Unfortunately our two cats also do not like the new HPP turkey. One cat will not eat it, the other cat eats only a small portion of what he used to eat. We will continue to support RC, purchasing as much as our cats will eat of the HPP turkey, and attempt to transition them to Lamb (which we have tried to do in the past, without success - fingers crossed!). For seven years we have felt RC is the healthiest cat food for our cats on the market and we hope our cats feel the same :)
By: Kristin on March 29, 2016
I have to join the others whos cats no longer will eat your food since the HPP. Mine loved it before and now won't even go near it. Too bad it has to be this way. I will add that I work in a pet food store that sells your product. One by one the customers are coming in and saying the same thing. There was a time that we could hardly keep it in stock between orders...now we hardly order it.
By: Diane on April 11, 2016
I'm so appreciative to everyone that has commented here. Unfortunately, I don't have a professional blog where I can respond to folks, individually. Thanks to everyone for their honest feedback. It's been a few months since this post and truthfully, most of the feedback we've received from stores and customers is positive and most kitties are still loving their Rad Cat, with HPP. It breaks my heart that there are some that just don't like it though. Sometimes kitties fixate on certain flavors and when those flavors change, they get apprehensive to try something "new". Customers have had success with "toppers" like bonito flakes or freeze-dried hearts or chicken and turkey breast. As a follow-up, the FDA is still on a sampling campaign for raw pet foods. While they sample all raw foods (and we know several states' Depts. of Agriculture have recently tested ours) there is a focus on poultry, because that's where the highest contamination is. It's hard to read harsh words and I'm sorry for everyone's kitties who aren't fond of the chicken and turkey. We've spent the last 13 years dedicated to making the healthiest food that has healed countless cats. It's unfortunate, but we'll all be seeing more recalls and other companies moving to HPP to avoid those recall situations. Here's some info. many folks don't realize: chickens get salmonella by being fed feed that is contaminated with pathogens, so now salmonella is present in their bowel. If improperly slaughtered, the bowel contents then contaminate the entire line, which then spreads salmonella to every piece of chicken that touches it. This chicken is not rinsed with an antimicrobial at the slaughterhouse and it isn't even tested before it goes to market. If there were tighter controls with feed and with the processing, then us raw manufacturers wouldn't have to HPP. There are some farms that won't sell to manufacturers that don't have a kill step or that won't cook their poultry. There are some distributors that won't sell new raw products that don't have a kill step, as well. It will be interesting to see where this all goes in the future. Feel free to keep posting here or you always email me at info@radfood.com, as well. My very best to all that read this, Tracey
By: Tracey Hatch-Rizzi on April 13, 2016
My cat was a big fan of your turkey until now. She will not touch the turkey since you have had to use HPP. I had trusted your food completely and now can't buy it any longer as she won't go near it. I can understand you were in a catch 22, but we are all suffering.
By: Sandy Friedman on April 16, 2016
I am so sorry that you were pressured into the HPP process. Your foods absolutely saved my cat's life. 18 months after starting on Rad Cat she came back from what I thought was a final decline.. . same story as many have written, she's not going with the HPP poultry. However, the Venison is somewhat acceptable, giving us hope. Have to bait it with a teaspoon of Fancy Feast, (confession) -- but so far keeping her stable. SO appreciate the lifeline you've provided for our cats.
By: Amy Freed on April 30, 2016
We have a 21 year old Tabby who has been stable on the Rad Cat Turkey for a few years now, but will not eat the HPP processed form. I just don't get it! This cat used to eat all her food from nature. Don't know what we will do if we can't get her to eat something else, but will try other Rad Cat products. Don't suppose you have any pre-HPP tubs of turkey around that we could stash?
By: Patricia on May 6, 2016
My cat is insatiable with the chicken and turkey! I haven't noticed a difference between the non HPP and the current HPP. She can't get enough, I supplement her diet with grain free kibble and the raw here and there. Anytime I feed her the Rad Cat raw for a week or two she protests after it's gone! It's hilarious but I feel bad cause I know it's so good for her, I wish I could afford to put her solely on the raw. Anyway, your company is great and thanks for being transparent about the process and changes.
By: Angela on May 11, 2016
I agree with what you wrote in the blog and I am sorry that circumstances have forced you to change to HPP. It was difficult for me to find a raw food that I could transition my 6 cats to as the couple picky ones and moderate ones did not like any of them but when I tried your chicken and turkey they voraciously gobbled it up, even my really picky boy who has always been slight. He even started gaining weight which has never happened before. After almost a year all 6 of them stopped eating it across the board. At first I thought it must have been a bad batch so I threw it out and bought more but no luck. I was really scratching my head because it was all of them including two that will eat anything (I call them my vacuum cleaners for food.). So I had to go back to regular food because they were all adamant about no longer eating it. Now I understand why. I don't blame you for making this change. I just want you to know the extreme negative reaction all 6 of my cats had including the ones that I had never seen leave food in their bowls ever before.
By: Stephani on June 2, 2016
I have had used Rad Cat for years and have been so happy with the quality and the owners! I am so sad because I CANNOT get 2 out of 3 kitties to eat it. One does not like the texture at all! I have tried sprinkling liver powder and brewers yeast and anything i can think of to get her to eat it. Any other suggestions?
By: on June 18, 2016
Ever since the HPP my cat no longer loves amd enjoys eating the turkey formula which I find extremely unfortunate. Rad cat should take a stand and fight against this ridiculous FDA regulation.
By: Deitrich on June 22, 2016
Why did you delete my and Sally's comment? Something is fishy.
By: Deitrich on June 25, 2016
Sally posted that she suspects her cat was violently ill from the HPP turkey, but I told her that it could be from the recent food recall of your company.
By: Deitrich on June 25, 2016
Deitrich - I have no idea what you're talking about. I have no way to respond to people on this blog, directly, as I mentioned in an earlier post, so I have to respond in this comment field. If you would like to talk about an illness and report it to us, please call or email us. I don't understand why you would post something like this here. I'm happy to have dialogue with you and understand that you must be upset, but my blog post about HPP is not a proper way to discuss issues concerning our recall, as I cannot respond to people here. If someone has a concern about their cats being ill, contacting us directly and having dialogue is the only way I can address these concerns. There is nothing fishy here. If you look on this blog, I leave all posts here, good or bad, unless they contain degrading or mean language. The same goes for our Facebook page. I'm not afraid to engage folks. If you think there is something fishy about my company or my posting, I am happy to address it with you, in a proper forum. Please email at info@radfood.com or publish a post on Facebook, where I have many conversations with people. If someone believes their cat is ill from any recalled product, then they should take their cat to their veterinarian immediately and let us know about it, directly. I do not know about Sally, but if her cat is ill, I hope she emails me right away.
By: Tracey Hatch-Rizzi on June 25, 2016
I posted a response to Sally's comment and both are no longer on your blog. They were obviously deleted. I don't know why. Neither were degrading, mean or contained foul language.
By: Deitrich on June 25, 2016
I don't know why, either, and I manage this blog and site. I haven't checked it for days, so I don't have an explanation. Perhaps she will post again that way I can respond to it here. It's entirely possible that she has been one of the callers we've had, also, and has gotten answers to her questions. I invite you to do the same. If I was in to deleting challenging posts on this blog, you would not see all of the posts you see here, including this conversation. I don't know how those posts are missing, but I will ask our web host and maybe they have an idea. Please do not accuse me of something I have not intentionally done. Technology is never infallible.
By: Tracey Hatch-Rizzi on June 25, 2016
Its not necessarily an accusation but more of a logical conclusion. I revisited the two posts several times before I later discovered that they were gone. Perhaps it was a techniclogical glitch. I have no clue. In any case, I'm curious if the recall has anything to do with the newly adopted HPP and possible recontamination.
By: on June 26, 2016
I'm glad I saw this post. We had been feeding our cats Rad Cat for a number of years and suddenly they didn't like it any more. I saw a difference in the texture and wondered what had changed. I understand why, but it is a shame because now our cats won't eat it...
By: Corinne Mitchell on June 26, 2016
Salmonella and Listeria recall guess HPP didn't work. Just a bandaid for deadly pathogens like Salmonella, Listeria and E. coli O157:H7. Should have used irradiation a true lethality step used to protect the consumer and their pets from these deadly pathogens found in raw meat and poultry, fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, spices, eggs and shellfish.
By: Food Safety Conscious on June 27, 2016
The vast majority of folks use this blog, as it is intended - as a forum to voice opinions and concerns about whatever it is that we blog about. At this time, we are currently conducting a recall and I understand there are many feelings everyone has about it. Please, keep this blog post as an open forum about our blog. There are posts that I have deleted from someone posting anonymously, and making inappropriate and harassing comments. Please do not make such comments on our blog or they will be deleted. Thank you for your understanding.
By: TraceyHatch-Rizzi, Co-founder on June 29, 2016

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