Safety and Quality

 

 

We, at Rad Cat, all take the greatest pride in providing felines and their human counterparts with the highest quality products.  We are committed to ensuring our products are safe, healthy.  Even as a small manufacturer, we have always gone above and beyond regulatory standards of safety and quality.

 

How do we ensure Rad Cat is safe?  Below are brief, yet detailed descriptions of the steps we take to make sure our products do not contain pathogens.

 

 

Our commitment to quality:

 

Rad Cat has always sought to produce products made from animals that have been humanely-raised and that are raised eating foods that are as natural as possible.

 

Chicken: contains certified organic chicken and is sourced from the US.  We use thigh and leg meat – never mechanically separated poultry, that is typically labelled as ‘chicken’.  That is why we list the actual parts we use in our products.  We also use whole hearts and livers to provide natural taurine, as well as other vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

 

Turkey: contains free-range turkey, sourced from the mid-western US.  Like our chicken, we use thigh and leg meat – never mechanically separated “turkey”.  We use whole hearts and livers for taurine, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

 

Lamb: is sourced locally, in Oregon.  The lambs are pasture-raised and never fed grain.  We use boneless lamb shoulder and trim, which are true culinary quality.  We also use whole heart and liver as a natural source of taurine, vitamins, minerals and amino acids.

 

Beef:  is grass-fed and is sourced locally, from Oregon, and the cattle are raised without hormones or antibiotics.  We use whole chuck and 75% lean trim.  Our beef variety is higher quality than most ground beef found in stores.  We also use whole heart and liver as natural sources of taurine, vitamins and minerals.

 

Venison: is from New Zealand and, like our lamb, is never fed grain.  The deer are raised without antibiotics or hormones and raised on pasture their entire lives.  We use the trim that is from culinary cuts.  As venison is so lean, the trim is the same quality as the other cuts.

 

 

Quality Assurance and Quality Control:

 

We operate our plant under the same guidelines used for human food facilities.  Our programs include (but aren’t limited to):

 

  • The first step in our QA/QC process is to receive certificates of guarantee as part of our supplier verification program. Before we purchase any meats from a new supplier, we receive these verifications, receive samples of the product and always test the raw materials for pathogens.
  • Our products are still produced by hand. Even though we incorporate some larger equipment, our experienced employees (some who have been with us for many years) still do much of the processing by hand.  As our production is not automated, our employees visually inspect and monitor the temperature of  the product through every stage of the production process.
  • HACCP Analysis and Critical Control Point program. This programs includes 19 prerequisite programs that include a full traceability program, supply verification program and quality assurance and quality control programs
  • Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMP’s) – these outline principles and guidance for all stages of manufacturing, testing and quality assurance
  • Standard Sanitation Operating Procedures (SSOP’s) – these are documented steps that are used to ensure adequate cleaning and sanitizing of all food contact, non-food contact surfaces, equipment and the entire processing and warehousing environment
  • Ozone technology – We use ozonated water during our processing and as part of our sanitation process, on all food contact and non-food contact surfaces. Ozone is a 100% natural anti-microbial, that essentially uses water and oxygen to make a very effective, non-toxic, natural disinfectant that eliminates bacteria and mold from the environment.  This is used in conjunction with a secondary, quaternary sanitizer, throughout our processing area.
  • Environment testing – As part of our QA/QC plan, we regularly test our environment (food contact and non-contact surfaces) for pathogens and for ‘cleanliness’. This includes testing all of our equipment for Salmonella, E.coli O157:H7, and Listeria monocytogenes.

 

Food Safety: High Pressure Processing (Also see “About HPP” under the “Education” link)

 

Rad Cat will be implementing the use of High Pressure Processing (HPP) on its poultry ingredients beginning in 2016.

 

HPP is a very simple process that uses water pressure, at pressures up to 87,000 psi, to destroy bacteria, such as salmonella, listeria and E. coli. It is often referred to as “cold pasteurization” and destroys pathogens without the application of heat.  Pressure is applied throughout the poultry, where it essentially “cracks” the protective outer covering of some bacteria, leaving them to “succumb” to their environment.

 

It is recognized by the USDA and FDA as an anti-pathogen treatment or “kill step” for many food products – it is NOT sterilization (see “About HPP” under the “Education” tab on this site)  HPP is a 100% natural process that is also approved for organically labelled products.

 

It is the only FDA-recognized process that does not involve heat or irradiation to kill harmful bacteria.

 

Food Safety:  Ozone

 

What is ozone technology?

 

Ozone technology should not be confused with the ozone gas that is a pollutant!

 

Ozone is a very powerful, natural sanitizer that has a very broad array of applications.  It is incredibly safe, environmentally friendly and does not leave any residue on surfaces.  It's recognized by the USDA and EPA and is an approved antimicrobial in Certified Organic programs.

 

Ozone allows manufacturers to use fewer chemicals, minimizes waste and reduces environmental impact that is unavoidable with other chemical sanitizers, such as bleach (chlorine).  It has been in use for over 100 years for air purification and water treatment.

 

Here's the technical part:  What IS ozone, exactly?  Ozone is a highly reactive form of oxygen, O3. It contains three atoms of oxygen rather than the two atoms of oxygen that we normally breathe.  It is produced naturally, in the upper atmosphere (the ozone layer) through UV radiation. The process of creating the ozone molecule for sanitation, happens when an electrical current forces an extra oxygen molecule onto a natural, very stable, Ooxygen molecule.  This happens through a cold plasma generator. As this new molecule has a very weak bond, it is unstable and ozone decomposes very rapidly into oxygen ,O2.This process works quickly to destroy bacterial cells by "breaking" their protective outer wall (called "lysis").  When bacteria, viruses, molds, fungi or other contaminants or odors come into contact with the ozone molecule, they are destroyed by oxidation.  The extra atom of oxygen is consumed and destroys the "pollutant" it comes into contact with.  If there is nothing for ozone to 'act' on, it leaves a fresh smell in the air, like after a rainstorm.  This is because ozone is actually produced by lightning during rainstorms, which contributes to the beautiful, fresh smell after it's rained!  Waterfalls and ocean surf also create ozone, which produces the fresh smells associated with these places.

 

How does Rad Cat avoid recontamination after the poultry has been HPP processed?

 

All poultry arrives at our plant sealed in plastic bags.  These bags are rinsed with ozonated water, which will kill any pathogens on the outside of the bags.  We use ozonated water throughout our manufacturing process on our equipment and all food contact surfaces.  Ozone is a very reliable intervention step for pathogen reduction/elimination and is a completely natural process.

 

After production, our entire processing area is cleaned and sanitized twice to ensure the equipment is free from bacteria.  We also clean all of our processing equipment and food contact surfaces before production every day, so we have assurance there will be no contamination of our ingredients or our products from any equipment in our plant.

 

We also operate under HACCP guidelines and have a robust environmental sampling plan.  Sampling equipment and food contact surfaces and testing these samples for pathogens is the best way to monitor the effectiveness of our sanitation program.

 

Inspections:

 

  • Our plant is inspected regularly and licensed by the Oregon Department of Agriculture.
  • All of the scales that we use to ensure the weight of our containers are licensed and checked by the Weights and Measures department of the OR Dept. of Ag.
  • We are inspected by the USDA and are licensed to sell our products in Canada
  • Even though we are a small manufacturing facility, it is our goal and intention to receive third party food safety certification. We are very proud of our food safety programs and are looking forward to this verification process.  We hope this endeavour will create even stronger consumer confidence in our products.

 

Test and Hold and Lot Segregation:

 

All of our products are sampled and tested before they are released for sale.  No products are released until we have clear (“negative”) lab results for each lot. 

 

We use a third-party lab to test for Aerobic Plate Count, Salmonella, E.coli O157:H7.  When the results are confirmed negative, we then take the lot off of “hold” for release to our distribution partners.