The first independent accreditation of its kind has been launched to ensure that pets and working dogs across the UK are fed the best and safest possible raw food.
The mission of RawSAFE - www.rawsafe.co.uk - is to encourage the highest safety standards and best practice in commercial raw pet food manufacturing by conducting an independent audit and an unannounced spot check of manufacturers annually.
Audits are conducted by independent auditors from the largest meat hygiene and food safety inspectorate in Europe. A set of standards, which are reviewed and updated frequently, has been prepared after consultation with experts in human food manufacturing and veterinary professionals.
Manufacturers who successfully pass the audit can add the RawSAFE Certification Mark to their products, assuring consumers of the highest level of quality and protection for their pets. The integrity of this mark is legally enforced to stop fraudulent advertising by manufacturers who either fail the audit or who choose not to be audited.
Two UK-based pet food manufacturers - Bella & Duke in Inverkeithing and Paleo Rudge in Waterlooville - have become the first to achieve RawSAFE accreditation, which is supported by the Raw Feeding Veterinary Society (RFVS).
(Picture caption: Laura Jones, Morag Sutherland and Dr Brendan Clarke from RawSAFE with independent auditors Ioana Dobre and Georgios Kakarantzas at the London Vet Show 2022)
RawSAFE is run by veterinary professionals to support vets, manufacturers, consumers, pets and working dogs across the UK. Collaborating with experts in human food manufacturing, the company has examined existing accreditation standards within the industry.
The resulting RawSAFE standards match those required for human food production and have relevant adaptations to safely accommodate various ingredients used in pet food – but less commonly eaten by humans - such as tripe and organ meats.
“We are a proactive, new organisation focused on provision of the best and safest possible food for pet and working dogs and cats, just as they deserve,” said the directors of RawSAFE.
“When consumers choose a product displaying the RawSAFE Certification Mark to feed their pet or working dog, they can be sure that it has been manufactured with safety in mind.
“RawSAFE aims to encourage positive, constructive and science-based interaction between the veterinary profession and commercial raw pet food manufacturers. We have the safety of our animal companions and their human guardians at the heart of everything we do.”
The RFVS defines the gold standard diet for dogs and cats as comprising fresh, raw meaty bones, meats, organ meats, fruits and vegetables, minimally processed by mincing and freezing.
This diet, which contains no added synthetic supplements, additives or preservatives, is said to be biologically appropriate for the anatomy and physiology of dogs and cats. This reduces inflammation and disease of the digestive tract and the body as a whole whilst fulfilling their welfare needs, thus improving everything from the dental to mental health of dogs and cats.
Last November, RawSAFE shared a stand with RFVS at London Vet Show 2022 where there was standing room only for two presentations by RFVS president Dr Amaya Espindola.
“We didn’t stop talking to vets and nurses the entire time the show was open and almost all of them were asking really constructive questions about how they can better understand and support their increasing numbers of raw feeding clients,” said the directors of RawSAFE.
“Without exception, they understood the importance of RawSAFE and we’ve had a very busy time talking to veterinary professionals and journalists since the event.
“It was very clear that such reassurance was essential to even the most open minded of the vets that we spoke to. Their concerns are absolutely valid in relation to poorly manufactured foods, hence why we look to set the excellent manufacturers clearly apart.
“We were delighted to hear time and again that they would be recommending accredited products to their clients in the future.
“It was also pleasing to hear from one applicant that they had received an enquiry asking if they were RawSAFE accredited, as the potential customer's vet had insisted they should only use a RawSAFE certified product.”