Courtesy of: Dr. Michelle
In June of last year, I was invited by Royal Canin (RC) to Guelph, Ontario, for a tour of the Royal Canin (formerly Medi-Cal) pet food plant. Royal Canin is the manufacturer of the food that you will primarily see on the shelves of Truro Vet Hospital because it is the brand that the vets and staff trust enough to feed to their own pets. In California (where I am originally from and began my veterinary career), RC is not well known. When I moved to Canada, I was curious as to why TVH chose to stock the RC brand instead of one of the other three veterinary prescription diet lines. What makes Royal Canin so special?
The night I arrived in Guelph, I met up with 29 other veterinarians and veterinary staff from Atlantic Canada who were going to join me on our tour. We had a few learning sessions about the history of Royal Canin, and the philosophy and values of the company. These are: dogs & cats first, knowledge & respect, health nutrition, and research & innovation. The next morning, we started the day with a few more sessions about the many different diets that RC offers (everything from the veterinary exclusive diets to the pet specialty retail diets), the science and ingredients that go into their food, and future innovative diets in the works.
Then came the plant tour! When we pulled up to the plant, the first thing that we noticed was the lack of odor. The facility has a biofilter (an odor treatment system) that uses naturally occurring bacteria to destroy odor compounds. The air is then filtered before it is released into the environment without the use of hazardous chemicals or harmful waste products. This means that the residents living behind the facility do not have to deal with the smell of pet food being cooked (something Truro residents are all too familiar with!).
We were then shown the laboratory where the food is tested for quality and safety. The floors were white and spotless, and I felt like I could eat off of them! The state-of-the-art equipment they have was fascinating to see in action.
The manufacturing facility was the last part of the tour. We did not actually get to see any kibble being made at the time of our tour because they were in the middle of disinfecting the entire plant – they do this before each and every batch of the Hypoallergenic diet is made. This is to ensure that there is no cross contamination with other diets, because Hypoallergenic diets must be entirely free of even trace amounts of other proteins. We got to see how the raw ingredients are stored before they become a part of the food. Each truckload of these ingredients that is brought in is allocated a batch number and is then analyzed to make sure the food is up to the standard needed to enter the facility. The drivers of the truck are asked to stand by and wait for the analysis to be completed to make sure that their batch will pass the inspection. RC is very strict about what they will allow in their plant, and therefore batches are declined and sent back to the source on a weekly basis.
Royal Canin is the only one of the four veterinary prescription diets to have earned its ISO 14001 certification. This means that RC has incorporated an Environmental Management System into their business which minimizes the impact on the environment. This is done by finding alternate ways to dispose of kibble waste other than landfills, energy efficient equipment, a decrease in water consumption, as well as an on-site water treatment facility.
After leaving Guelph, I understood why Truro Vet Hospital supports the RC company. They have so many safety features in place to ensure excellence in their products, care about the ingredients that go into their food, and are mindful of the environment. My cats love their RC food…Earl is on the Hypoallergenic diet, and Flynn is on the Dental formula!
If you have any questions about any Royal Canin diets or their safety and environmental commitments, feel free to give us a call at 893-2341.