wet pet food

It’s important in the pet food industry that during manufacture the risk of contamination and cross-contamination are decreased as much as possible.

HPS have worked with pet food manufacturers across the world. When initially contacting us many of our clients told us that cross-contamination was a considerable risk in their processes.

One of our clients made us aware that their concern for cross-contamination was largely associated with species crossovers, such as having a fish product in the line followed by a chicken product.

Cross-contamination can create a product that does not conform to standards, which is especially important given that both humans and animals have a right to safe-to-eat food.

Being able to reduce the risk of contamination and cross-contamination in pet food manufacturing, particularly of meats, emulsions, slurries and ‘wet’ products is frequently a priority for companies. That’s why pigging systems for pet food are widely used by pet food manufacturers. And their use is increasing.

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There have been studies performed that assess the risks associated with cross-contamination in pet food production. Accidental crossovers of different species can lead to bacteria passing from one meat product to another.

One risk is the presence of bacteria such as Enterobacteriaceae, salmonella, listeria, and mould in pet food products, which can have a harmful effect on both pets and owners.

The presence of bacteria is an increased risk due to the current trend of meat-rich diets for pets. Raw ingredients, such as meat and additives, can harbour bacteria past kill-steps and rising demand for moisture rich foods provides a suitable environment for bacterial growth.

Pets who consume contaminated food may experience symptoms of food poisoning. Additionally, chronic exposure to bacteria may cause additional health issues, such as skin and coat issues.

Another risk of cross-contamination is that allergen safety may be compromised. This can pose a risk to the pet who is consuming the product and the human who is handling the product.

The rising risks of contamination during processing increases the importance of hygienic practices for manufacturers.


Pet food can also have an impact on human health. The closeness with which animals and humans live together, and the daily handling of food by humans, means that humans can come into contact with bacteria contained in pet food.

This may be through direct contact, such as handling the food, or through indirect contact, such as pet bowls or close contact with the animal(s). Through direct and indirect contact there is a risk of human consumption. If a human ingests too much of the contaminated product, then they may experience food poisoning.

Pet food as a source of illness may not be the first thing that an affected person thinks of, however manufacturers still have a responsibility to consider all the ways that they can reduce the risk to both pets and humans.


Liquid product recovery (pigging) is an efficient way of reducing the risks of cross-contamination between products.

Hygienic and sanitary pigging systems work by sending a specialist projectile (the pig) with an interference fit through a pipeline. The pig is propelled by a high pressure medium, such as compressed air, nitrogen or carbon dioxide, or by a fluid, such as water or the next batch of product.

The pig then pushes the product through the pipeline to its destination before returning to the pig launch station, ready for CIP procedures to begin. The HPS pigging system has a recovery rate of up to 99.5% of product. This increases product yield as well as decreasing the risk of cross-contamination.

The pig removes product from the internal wall of the pipeline, meaning there is almost no trace product left behind. By removing such a significant amount of product from the pipeline before CIP procedures take place, cleaning is faster, easier and uses less resources. What’s more, the return on investment (ROI), payback and product recovery savings are nearly always significant.


To find out more about how pigging can reduce contamination risks and create efficient product recovery contact HPS – the experts in hygienic and sanitary pipeline product recovery systems. We’ll help you discover how you can increase your yields, capacity, and profit sustainably.