In today’s increasingly competitive market, pet food manufacturers must ensure their products are safe, fault-free, and contain exactly what they claim. This means eradicating all traces of foreign materials and cross-contamination, and guarding against the naturally-occurring poison aflatoxin. Not easy, you might say – but now that TOMRA Food has brought its world-class sorting technologies to the pet food industry, it can be done.
All of TOMRA’s pet food sorting solutions are specially-tailored applications of technologies originally designed and developed to ensure the purity of food for human consumption. All are so accurate in their detection work, and so precise in removing unwanted materials from the product stream, that they minimize food loss, maximize yields, and can ensure attainment of pre-set protein levels. All eliminate the traditional needs for manual inspection or rework. And all have proved capable in the toughest working conditions – wet, dry, dusty – of running reliably and performing consistently for 24 hours per day and seven days per week.
The TOMRA machine best-suited to pet food applications is the Nimbus BSI+, a high-capacity free-fall optical sorter. This combines laser detection of foreign materials with TOMRA’s proprietary Biometric Signature Identification (BSI+) technology, so that it is able to detect materials not only according to shape, color, and size, but also by their biometric characteristics. In addition to accurately removing foreign bodies from incoming raw materials, the Nimbus BSI+ can identify aflatoxin mold in food by detecting the extremely low intensity of light it reflects.
One producer already familiar with TOMRA’s Nimbus BSI+ sorters is GA Pet Food Partners, Europe’s leading manufacturer of private label premium dry pet food. GA’s Managing Director, Andy Kettle, says: “What I like about the TOMRA solution is the ability to inspect each individual kibble within a batch and compare that against defined and agreed quality attributes.”
TOMRA’s optical sorting technologies are also effective in earlier stages of the supply chain. A good example of this can be seen at JG Pears, a leading processor in the UK of animal by-products and food waste which produces a range of meals and fat for the pet food industry. Here, Nimbus BSI and BSI+ sorters were installed on the company’s low-temperature line to remove foreign bodies such as plastics, wood and rubber from incoming raw materials. JG Pears’ Site Manager, Craig Harrison, affirms: “With the TOMRA machines, non-conformances with our customers have reduced dramatically and we see very, very little waste and foreign bodies in our material. Our current customers have seen the difference in the finished product and now there’s lots of interest from additional customers enquiring about buying our material.”