Cold-Processed Canned Pet Food

The following is an exchange of emails between a pet owner (O) and a pet food company (PFC) claiming to be producing cold-processed canned foods.  The letters were sent to Wysong asking assistance in evaluating the claims.

O:  "I noticed your canned dinners are cold processed?  What does this mean for our dogs?"

PFC:  "That means that the protein is cooked at the lowest temperature possible for the shortest amount of time to kill any bacteria yet without killing the enzymes.  It helps the dogs actually simulate the protein instead of passing it."

O: "I am thinking of recommending your canned food to some of our customers.  But before I do, if your patience still persists with me, I still need to understand your explanation of the protein being cooked at the lowest possible temperature to kill the bacteria … Please tell me what that temperature is that does not destroy enzymes yet makes it safe to eat canned food without the bacteria.  It is still not clear."

PFC:  "The food goes through an emulsifier where the product reaches a temp of 180 for 3 minutes which kills all of the bad bacteria and stimulates the good stuff.  The product then goes into the can where it is cold processed at 90 degrees."

Several errors are made by PFC

  1. The lowest temperature to kill bacteria is in the hundreds of degrees.  Enzymes are destroyed above 118 degrees F.

  2. Dogs do not "simulate" one cooked protein any more than another (rather than pass it.)  If the food is heated sufficiently to kill bacteria, then it is the same as any other retorted (cooked) canned food.

  3. An emulsifier does not cook the food.  It is an intense mixer, not a cooker.  It also does not "stimulate the good stuff."

  4. Going into a can to be cooled after cooking is not "cold processing," it is cooling the product after cooking.
It is true that cold-processing is the ideal technique in processing food.
Heat processing of enzymes, vitamins,  minerals, amino acids and other nutrients that naturally occur in raw foods causes them to be lost, unavailable, or converted to toxins. 

As the health benefits of raw, organic, and whole foods are recognized by consumers, some pet food companies are advertising cold-processed pet products, but buyer beware:  it is not possible to cold process a canned food that is safe and has any shelf life. (See Raw Pet Food Deceptions Exposed.)

Canning requires high pressure and heat at temperatures of 240-250 degrees Fahrenheit.  Such processing conditions are necessary for meats, seafood, poultry, dairy products, and most vegetables.  The only foods that may be safely canned in a boiling water bath without high pressure are highly acidic foods with a pH below 4.6, such as fruits, pickled vegetables, or other foods to which acid has been added. 

Despite the constraints that canning and heat-processing in general place on the retention of nutrients and enzymes in foods, and despite the fact that it absolutely eliminates the feasibility of delivering a cold-processed food in those cans, some pet food manufacturers (as noted above) have laid claim to producing a cold-processed canned food.  This reflects either a gross misunderstanding of food processing or a deliberate attempt to deceive.

As part of the Wysong Optimal Health Program™ it is acceptable to feed pet companions a canned food as long as it is fed in rotation with fresh, natural foods, truly raw pet foods such as Wysong TNT™ processed raw dog and cat foods, as well as Wysong pet supplements.

(Also see our How to Apologize to Your Pet Brochure).