HFC and PFC: two quality standards
HFC and PFC: two quality standards

The European Regulation (CE) 1069/2009 clearly sets out the meat quality levels used in pet food.

For the production of kibble (dry food), in particular, we have organised these into two categories:

100% HFC fresh meat, originally fit for human consumption

Article 10 paragraph a) of European Regulation (EC) 1069/2009: parts of slaughtered animals “(…) which are fit for human consumption in accordance with Community legislation (…)”

PFC Meat, originally unfit for human consumption, but usable as an ingredient for pet food

Article 10 paragraph b) i, et seq. parts of slaughtered animals “(…) unfit for human consumption in accordance with Community legislation (…)”

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HFC and PFC: how to recognise them
HFC and PFC: how to recognise them

Distinguishing between HFC and PFC is simple; you just need to check the following:

100% HFC Meat

100% HFC meat is clearly recognisable from the packaging of the product and its label because

  1. It is always and only ‘fresh’: fresh chicken, fresh beef, fresh tuna, etc. are the words we will see
  2. It is always associated with the indication ‘100% HFC’, which means originally fit for human consumption

100% HFC fresh meat, originally fit for human consumption, is the highest quality possible because it is free from scrap parts and it is highly digestible.

 

PFC Meat    

PFC meat will appear on the label with various descriptions: fresh, dried, dehydrated or meat meal. The PFC meat, in whatever state it is used, was originally fit for pet food only and was unfit for human consumption.

  • PFC Fresh Meat: the label may describe this meat as simply “fresh chicken”, “fresh beef”, “fresh tuna”, etc. but WITHOUT any HFC indication.
  • PFC dehydrated meat, dried meat or meat meal: these products are the result of a thermic (heat) process of drying. The more thermal processes the meat undergoes to be transformed into dried or dehydrated, the greater the denaturation of the protein meaning the original characteristics and biological properties are increasingly destroyed and lower its digestibility.

Meat subjected to drying of any degree is used in dry foods only: i.e. kibble.

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The importance of HFC Fresh meat for cats and dogs
The importance of HFC Fresh meat for cats and dogs

Meat – a source of essential amino acids – forms the basis of the daily diet of our dogs and cats. Although they have different evolutionary profiles and nutritional characteristics, nutrients from meat – especially proteins – are essential for the growth and maintenance of cell structures for both species, dogs and cats.

No vegetable protein (derived from corn, potatoes, soybeans or peas, etc.) can guarantee the same essential amino acids, nor replicate the quality and variety of nutrients offered by 100% HFC fresh meat.

To ensure that essential amino acids are “ready to use” and can be completely absorbed by the body, the quality of the protein should have the highest biological value possible, like 100% HFC fresh meat.

That’s why it is important that the foods we choose for our dogs and cats are HFC quality: it is always, and only, the quality of ingredients that determine the quality of the nutrients the food provides. For example, chicken feathers are rich in protein… but what of the quality…?

Almo Nature always selects the highest quality ingredients possible, thereby ensuring the quality of nutrients.

This is the HFC standard.

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Unique: The only 100% HFC dry food on the market
Unique: The only 100% HFC dry food on the market

Alternative is an absolute innovation – and not just because all ingredients used are certified as HFC i.e. originally fit for human consumption but also because – for the first time in the pet food market – Almo Nature has designed and built a machine (an extruder) capable of generating kibble (dry biscuits) using only fresh meat or fish, without adding any lower quality dry ingredients such as meat meal or dehydrated meat.

The research and development of this innovative product and process has taken six years. The technology enables a slow cooking process that preserves the essential nutrients without degrading them creating a high-quality kibble because only high quality fresh ingredients – unaffected by previous aggressive cooking techniques (such as dehydration) – are used.

The difference is also evident in the in length of the production process: in the time it takes to produce one pound of HFC kibble (dry food), eleven pounds of kibble with meat meal or dehydrated meat can be produced.

We are what we eat – a truth that applies not only to us but also for our animal friends.

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How to read a label
How to read a label

Labels comprise two main lists: composition and analytical components: 

  • Composition (ingredients): defines, in descending order, all ingredients in the recipe, like meat, rice, vegetables, etc.

The list of ingredients is key because it allows you to understand the true quality of raw materials used in the recipe

  • Analytical constituents: represent the nutrient analysis of the finished product by defining the amount of protein, fibre, fat, etc. contained within.

The list of analytical constituents is just an indication of quantity, not quality!

 

The ideal composition that respects their nature.

The dog and the cat were originally carnivores and although their evolutionary histories led them to have different nutritional characteristics, today, they still retain the need to primarily eat meat or fish for the nutritional intake the proteins provide.

That’s why meat or fish should always occupy the top spot in the list of ingredients (composition) on the label.

We have seen (above) that the more thermal processes the meat undergoes being transformed into meat meal i.e. being dried or dehydrated, the greater the denaturation of the protein (where the original characteristics and biological properties of the protein are destroyed) and the lower their digestibility.

Three rules to follow when reading a label
  • 1Check that ‘fresh’ meat or fish is the first ingredient on the "composition" list
  • 2Verify the presence of an HFC symbol that certifies the origin as fit for human consumption: if not present, the ingredients are PFC i.e. unfit for human consumption
  • 3Make sure that the percentage of meat meal, dried or dehydrated meat is lower than that of fresh meat to ensure a higher quality meal

Attention to quality should always be the first parameter to verify – that’s why it’s crucial to check the main ingredient in the recipe, which is always listed first on the label. Read a label, what is the first ingredient?

  • meat or fish: what’s the quality? If ‘HFC’ is indicated, the presence of the finest cuts of meat, originally fit for human consumption is confirmed.
    If the acronym ‘HFC’ is not present, the meat is PFC meaning it has no certification of Human Food Chain origin. If dried, dehydrated or meat meal is indicated as the first ingredient, the food is of a poor quality
  • corn, rice, soybeans, peas, listed first means that the proteins are of plant origin, not ideal for a carnivorous animal

 

Although all these ingredients are a source of protein, their quality and bioavailability differs significantly. It is therefore important to understand the quality of the recipe first; reading the analytical components can be done at a later stage.

Let’s take chicken feathers as an example: they are rich in protein and, if analysed, would report a high percentage in analytical components. But how digestible are they? What is the bioavailability of a feather? Can a dog or cat really assimilate the amount of protein needed for their well-being from feathers? Or will they be unable to digest any goodness from the feathers and eliminate it in their faeces?

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Respecting cats’ and dogs’ natures
Respecting cats’ and dogs’ natures

Diversity vs humanisation: do HFC recipes humanise our pet?

Absolutely not: feeding cats or dogs with HFC recipes doesn’t humanise them but respects their natural, biological evolution as carnivore species.

We respect the specific nature of cats and dogs; however, we must not forget their current position as members of our human families; and as such, we must dedicate the same care and attention to their diets, health and well-being we would for ourselves.

HFC offers exactly that assurance: it respects their natures and instincts, ensuring their bowl contains only the highest possible quality food, the same we choose for our dishes.

This is the challenge Almo Nature has chosen to overcome: foods “from their point of view” with a human attention to quality.

HFC therefore does not humanise dogs and cats, it increases the chance of them living healthier, longer lives.

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