FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF FREE RANGE & GRASS FED AND DOES IT DIFFER FROM US STANDARDS?
All the red meat animals (lamb, beef and venison) in New Zealand spend their life freely roaming in grass and eating grass. Feedlots and inside feeding is not popular or necessary in New Zealand.
In the US, animals only need to be grass fed for a short period at the end of their life to be called grass fed. In New Zealand, the animals are grass fed for life.
For more information on the New Zealand meat industry please see the link below:
WHAT IS THE DEFINITION OF BARN RAISED AND DOES IT DIFFER FROM US STANDARDS?
There is not a defined definition. The chickens we source are freely roaming within a controlled environment. Morally we would prefer a free range chicken, but in New Zealand we have found that free range chicken is of significantly greater risk of Salmonella. In the cage free barn raised chicken, the controlled environment means the risk of Salmonella has largely been removed. One of the key reasons for this would be the roof, which greatly minimises the chance of bird droppings (a common carrier of Salmonella) entering the food chain. We have been testing the chicken raw material for over 5 years and we have never found Salmonella. The chickens are still ethically treated, so it is close to a free range environment.
WHY IS SALT INCLUDED?
Our Sodium levels were not high enough to fit with the AFFCO requirements for Growth and Reproduction. We used salt as the supplement to fulfil this requirement – it is a very natural form of sodium.
WHY ARE YOU SUPPLEMENTING THE FOOD WITH MINERALS? WITH SO MANY MANUFACTURERS TOUTING THE BENEFITS OF “NO” OR “FEW”ADDED SUPPLEMENTS, WHY WOULD YOU TAKE THIS COURSE WITH A NATURAL PRODUCT?
It is our opinion that it is impossible to create a complete and balanced food where you are confident all the vitamins and minerals reach the AFFCO requirements without some form of supplementation. Also, many of the minerals are in low quantities but their existence in the raw material used in the food is volatile – it often depends on the soil that the grass is grown on. As an example, in many parts of NZ, selenium levels are low in the soil. Animals that feed from this soil will be lacking in selenium. This will be the same in all parts of the world – the soil will be low in certain minerals.
So, to be confident that the food has adequate levels of all the minerals, we decided to supplement with minerals. In developing the vitamin and mineral pack we ensured the vitamins and minerals were in a natural form.
WHAT SPECIES OF FISH ARE USED IN FISH FORMULA AND FISH OIL?
WHAT PERCENTAGE IS NEW ZEALAND GREEN LIPPED MUSSEL?
3% which is very high for an inclusion rate in pet food. Often the percentage of GLM is well below 1%. We use the whole mussel whereas many pet foods use a by-product of the mussel industry which has limited nutritional benefits. Mussels are very sensitive to heat so that’s why Freeze Drying is superior. Pet food that uses heat and has mussels in the product destroy most of the nutritional benefits of the mussel.
Please see our description of Superfoods for more information on New Zealand’s unique Green Lipped Mussel.
THE PRODUCT HAS A SLIGHTLY GREY COLOR, WHY IS THIS?
We put blackcurrants in the food which have very high levels of anti-oxidants. It is an ultimate Superfood. The blackcurrants have a very strong dark purple colour. When added to the meat based product, it has a dramatic effect on the colour. With the level of blackcurrants we use, it changes the predominately red or pink colour to a grey.
WHEN THE WEBSITE SAYS GLM ARE ECO-FRIENDLY SEAFOOD CHOICE, WHAT DOES THAT MEAN EXACTLY?
New Zealand mussel farms adhere to a strict environmental management system. US environmental agency, Blue Ocean Institute, ranks New Zealand green lipped mussels top of their list of eco-friendly seafoods. NZ green lipped mussels were the conservation group’s top seafood choice because they require clean, healthy waters to grow in, and have a limited impact on the environment.
All formal environmental studies carried out to date give the New Zealand green lipped mussel farming industry a clean bill of health. Since mussel farming began in the late 1960’s, minimal ecological imbalance has occurred upon or near established marine farm sites. This is partly because most New Zealand green lipped mussel farms are sited in areas where mussels occur naturally.
Perhaps the biggest environmental plus for New Zealand green lipped mussel farming is that it uses no harmful additives. Mussels are cultured on suspended long lines, instead of being dredged from the ocean floor. No fertilisers, herbicides, pesticides or artificial feeds whatsoever are used. Environmentally, New Zealand green lipped mussel farming is cleaner and greener than organic gardening.
New Zealand’s shellfish growing waters are some of the cleanest and most monitored waters in the world. Unlike many countries that produce shellfish, New Zealand has very little heavy industry and few sources of pollution. The country also has a small population base, and New Zealand green lipped mussel farms are sited well away from cities and centres of higher population density. This additional measure ensures that land-based activities do not adversely affect the marine environment.
The growing water standards also meet or exceed the USA National Shellfish Sanitation Program Water Quality Standards.
WHAT IS THE FUNCTION OF THE GELATINE?
The function of Gelatine is to retain the shape of the food. It is derived from beef and is largely a collagen based protein. So, it does help with protein levels, while collagen has benefits.
WHAT GELLING AGENTS DO YOU USE?
For the canned products we use Agar Agar, Cassia and Guar Gum to ensure there is a nice consistency across the products and the whole production process. We understand there are some concerns with binding agents so we investigated the use of these products very thoroughly. A key pillar of our product is that it has to be natural. All these binding agents fit that category. It is also vital that all ingredients are nutritious and are in no way harmful. Again, these ingredients pass that test. Carrageenan however does not past this test. When we investigated this product, we were concerned about the potential for it to be harmful, hence we don’t use it.
Freeze Dried Products
We use an animal based Gelatine as the gelling agent for our Freeze Dried Foods. This is largely a collagen based protein that has binding properties but also has some very significant nutritional qualities. We are very comfortable with the use of this product.
There are many opinions about a wide range of ingredients – some bad, some good. Many of these are opinions and often not based on fact. So we take a very simple approach to the ingredients in our food as follows:
- Natural wholefoods wherever possible
- Always look for a natural solution to all ingredients
- Avoid over processed foods
- Only deal with facts, not opinions.
These gelling agents are natural products so they satisfy our primary requirement. We also have not found any facts that they are harmful in any way.
We like to use a gelling agent to achieve consistency in the product. Guar Gum is one of the best natural gelling agents we can find.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEW ZEALAND BLACKCURRANTS AND BLACK CURRANTS?
To eliminate any confusion about the Blackcurrant berries that we use in our food range, we have compiled this information for you. To confirm, these Blackcurrant berries are NOT toxic for dogs and they are NOT the same as USA Black Currants. We will be changing our packaging to the New Zealand spelling of Blackcurrant berries in future.
There appears to be 2 types of commonly called Blackcurrants (NZ) or Black Currants (USA).
- Zante currants, Corinth raisins or Corinthian raisins are also simply called Currants in New Zealand or Black Currants in USA, are dried fruit of the small sweet seedless grape cultivar. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zante_currant . These are more commonly used in baking or salads. This is not what we use in our food.
- Ribes nigrum which is not related to grapes and is a berry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackcurrant . This is what we use in our food.
Grapes and their varieties are toxic to dogs. The experts don’t seem to know why, but it is certainly a commonly held view. The Zante currant is also very likely to be toxic to dogs.
The Ribes Nigrum currant is a berry, not a grape and is not related to the Zante currant. Ribes Nigrum currants are not toxic for dogs.
We use the Ribes Nigrum variant in our food. It is the only Blackcurrant that we know of that is grown in New Zealand. The Ribes Nigrum Blackcurrant is well known as a Superfood and has many great properties such as being very high in antioxidants.
THE FEEDING RECOMMENDATIONS OFFERED IN “CUPS” ARE VOLUME, NOT WEIGHT, CORRECT?
IS LABELING COMPLIANT WITH NEW AFFCO REQUIREMENTS?
Yes, it is.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE FREEZE-DRYING PROCESS STEP BY STEP AND EXPLAIN HOW THIS IS BENEFICIAL IN HELPING TO RETAIN NUTRIENTS?
Step 1. Blend the raw materials together
Step 2. Freeze down into 50lb blocks
Step 3. Dice into cubes at -12 degrees (10F) and place into large bins
Step 4. Freeze Dry
4a. Drop temperature to -40 C (-40F)
4b. Create a vacuum
4c. At some point sublimation occurs where water becomes steam (misses liquid phase).
The main benefit is that water is extracted from the product without the use of heat. Heat destroys nutrients, so the freeze-dried product has more beneficial nutrients. This link summarises the benefits of freeze dried.
CAN YOU TELL ME WHAT TEST YOU RUN ON THE PRODUCT TO ENSURE FOOD SAFETY?
Every batch gets tested for Salmonella, Listeria and Ecoli.
IS THIS FOOD AND ALL ITS INGREDIENTS MANUFACTURED UNDER THE GUIDELINES OF THE NZFSA? HOW WOULD YOU SUMMATE THE BENEFITS OF THIS IN A SENTENCE OR TWO?
Yes, it is. The NZFSA (or commonly called Ministry of Primary Industry (MPI)) are a Government run entity that monitors all companies that export from New Zealand. They independently audit every facility and issue the health certificates that accompany every shipment. So, they are guaranteeing the food is of a standard to be exported. They also assure what the company says is in the food, is in the food.
WHERE IS THE MANUFACTURING PLANT? WHO IS THE MANUFACTURER AND WHAT QUALITY CONTROL AND SAFETY MEASURES DO THEY HAVE IN PLACE (HACCP, ETC)?
Through the process there are various processing plants as there are many raw materials that are sourced from these plants. All the plants are export certified by MPI. The easiest way to assess the standard is to look at the quality control and standards at the last place of manufacture, as everything prior to this, must meet these standards. This place is Freeze Dried Foods (the freeze-drying facility) in Hastings New Zealand.
CAN YOU PROVIDE A QUICK RECAP OF WHO YOU ARE, YOUR EXPERIENCE BOTH IN AND BEYOND THE INDUSTRY?
Pet Nutrition NZ Limited Partnership (PNNZ) was founded by Calvin Smith and Jeremy Stewart along with their wives Joanne and Mary. Calvin and Jeremy worked previously for a freeze dried pet food company in New Zealand, pioneering this category globally. It is a family based business with strong family based values. Both families are animal lovers with the Smith family having 4 dogs and a cat. The Stewart family has a dog, a cat plus too many ponies or horses to count. The Smith and Stewart families are passionate about nutrition and passionate about New Zealand, hence the phrase New Zealand in a bowl.
Kiwi Kitchens was developed as a collaboration with the management team at Pet Food Express, specifically with the goal of providing a unique freeze dried range that was both nutritious and more affordable. The New Zealand origin was important, hence the name. “Kiwi” is commonly referred to as the famous fruit, but it is also the name of the people from New Zealand and a unique flightless bird that is only found in New Zealand.
We firmly believe New Zealand produces the best quality food in the world. Kiwi Kitchens purpose is to bring this food to your dog in a bowl.
HOW LONG DOES THE PRODUCT LAST?
The Cans last 3 years and the Freeze Dried lasts 2.