Disclosure: Compensation and product provided by Petcurean in exchange for this post. All opinions are Spike's and mine!
As a pet owner, I am always reading the ingredient label before buying food for Spike. I've just started to think about where his food might come from, much like I think about the groceries we buy for ourselves.
With the knowledge that consumers like myself are increasingly demanding sustainability, transparency and organic ingredients in their pet food, and scrutinizing more than ever for quality and safety, Petcurean created GATHER. GATHER is a new category of pet food crafted from certified, organic, non-GMO and sustainably produced ingredients. The recipes are perfectly blended and balanced to provide dogs and cats with premium quality, natural nutrition and are free from rendered ingredients.
My friends at Petcurean shared a little bit more about the sourcing of the ingredients in GATHER and in pet food in general. Take a look:
CERTIFICATIONS: Pet food certifications are used in the food industry to provide information to consumers about the way in which a food is produced. Certifications are developed by governments or independent organizations which establish the certification’s ‘standards’. These are the documents that describe the criteria a food producer must meet in order to become certified. To become certified, food producers must undergo a highly detailed audit by an accredited company that determines whether the certification standard is being met. The certification cannot be used by the food producer until the auditor determines that all of the relevant criteria on the standard are fulfilled. To maintain certification, most certification bodies require an annual re-certification audit.
Many certifications have been developed for the food industry, each having its own unique set of standards. GATHER™ dog and cat recipes have received three different food certifications to provide transparency about the ingredients that have been carefully selected for these diets: Organic, Vegan, Marine Stewardship Council. Find out more here.
GATHER Wild Ocean & Free Acres: At Petcurean, we’re always thinking and talking about pet nutrition, formulations and ingredients for our premium-quality pet foods. We’ve been excited by all the benefits of krill, and are excited to include it in two of our new GATHER recipes; Free Acres ™ and Wild Ocean™ for dogs. Our producer partner is Aker Biomarine, certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (Aker Biomarine’s extraordinary sustainability practices were critical in our decision to partner with them). The krill we use in GATHER is fished from the oceans surrounding Antarctica, using proprietary Eco-Harvesting™ technology. This prevents by-catch (fish and animals other than krill) and brings the live krill onto the ship where it is processed immediately to ensure maximum freshness.
GATHER Wild Ocean: Catching cod by longline is one of the most environmentally-friendly and sustainable methods of fishing used today. A particular school of cod can be located, identified, and brought on board, without the damage to the ocean floor associated with some net fishing. Individually-hooked fish are handled carefully, and the minimal by-catch of fish other than cod are released, live. These are just a few of the reasons we chose Alaskan Leader Fisheries LLC to supply us with their Alaskan Leader® brand cod for our GATHER Wild Ocean Recipe. Alaskan Leader, family founded and family run (just like Petcurean), operates out of Dutch Harbor, Alaska. The fish they provide us for GATHER Wild Ocean is the same Alaskan cod that’s sold in supermarkets and served in fine restaurants.
Alaskan Leader Fisheries LLC is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council. The MSC Fisheries Standard is designed to assess if a fishery is managed for protection against overfishing, habitat damage, and pollution. It was developed in consultation with scientists, the fishing industry, and conservation groups and reflects the most up-to-date understanding of internationally-accepted fisheries science and best practice management.
Alaskan Cod is the single source fish protein we use in Wild Ocean; it provides dogs with an excellent source of high-quality protein, is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, and is a source of essential vitamins and minerals, specifically niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, phosphorus, and selenium. The catch is so accurately targeted and recorded, that we can track the cod in a package of Wild Ocean right back to the day the cod was caught, which Alaskan Leader vessel caught it, and where it was caught.
GATHER Endless Valley & Free Acres: Farmer Direct is a farming co-operative based in Saskatchewan, Canada. Their 60+ strong family farms grow certified organic oil seeds, oats, lentils, beans, wheats, ancient grains and peas to the Canadian Organic Regulation, USDA National Organic Program and the European Union Organic Standards. The farmer-owners in the cooperative have been stewards of the land for generations. In fact, a number of the families have been farming the same land for over a century and were practicing organic agricultural techniques before organic certification was even available.
Naturally, we were drawn to Farmer Direct Co-Op as our supplier of the organic peas for our Endless Valley and Free Acres recipes. Their sustainability practices include rebuilding the soil through proper crop rotations, preventing topsoil erosion with cover crops, protecting shared waterways and air by never using toxic herbicides and pesticides, and honoring a farmer's right to independence by never using genetically engineered seeds.
Peas are a nutrient-rich, environmentally-friendly ingredient that contain a variety of compounds to support health and are an excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, and many essential vitamins and minerals. They provide most of the essential amino acids required by dogs and cats. Peas contain insoluble fiber, soluble fiber, and resistant starch, which all provide benefits for the digestive system. Peas also contain compounds known for their antioxidant properties that may protect dogs and cats against various diseases such as cancer. Also, a diet with peas as the primary source of carbohydrates has been shown to lower insulin levels in obese dogs.
GATHER FREE ACRES: When we were creating our new GATHER Free Acres recipes for dogs and cats, we wanted to have certified organic chicken as a primary protein source. Our search for the ideal partner took us across North America. We spoke to many producers, inspected their farms and finally decided on a family-owned and operated company in Northern Indiana known as Miller Poultry, who’ve been around since 1942.The folks at Miller provide us with a reliable, consistent source of USDA certified organic, free-run chickens that are raised in smaller flocks on Amish family farms.
These “broiler quality” chickens are fed an all-vegetable, antibiotic-free diet with no animal by-products, animal fats or artificial coloring. They also have access to the outdoors and three living enhancements that include things to perch on, hide behind and run through. Miller Poultry strictly adheres to the humane treatment policies defined by the Whole Foods animal welfare spokesperson, Temple Grandin. They don’t de-beak their chicks and use both male and female chickens. We were very pleased to hear that Miller has invested heavily in “Where Food Comes From”, a program that allows them to trace every bird to the specific farm where it was raised. And although chicken production is a water-intense process, they capture and treat all the water they use in the harvesting process, and then spray it on croplands surrounding their plant.
This remarkable quality organic chicken with USDA/MOSA/BRC/GAP certifications is the single source poultry protein we use in our GATHER Free Acres recipes for dogs and cats. It’s a perfect meat source, in that it’s a high-quality protein which supplies all essential amino acids; it’s a source of omega 6 fatty acids and a source of essential vitamins and minerals, in particular, niacin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, potassium, and selenium.
Thanks, Petcurean! Get $5 off GATHER here.