(Evo, Innova, California Natural & Healthwise)

Dear Jo,

Thank you for contacting Natura Pet Products. Natura’s goal remains to domestically source all ingredients. For many ingredients Natura does. Unfortunately, after an exhaustive search, some ingredients simply cannot be sourced from within the U.S. as they just are not available. For example, our venison is currently sourced from New Zealand. Many food safety precautions are in place due to concerns raised by the use of foreign ingredients. Some vitamins come from European countries such as Germany or Scotland, nothing from China.

Natura’s venison supplier is a global company that is committed to food safety and actually performs physical audits at the New Zealand manufacturer(s). Currently, Natura does not plan to provide the specific countries of origin for all ingredients.

Natura Pet Products has ramped up their food safety level one more time by sourcing supplements from trusted non-Chinese suppliers as of January 5, 2009. These supplements were once only available from China. The foods we manufactured prior to that date have been perfectly safe based on rigid quality control standards.

Natura was the first pet food company to break the transparency barrier by implementing consumer informational initiatives about our manufacturing processes. We did this because we want our consumers to be completely confident that they are feeding their pets the safest, most healthful products available.

Natura was also the first pet food company to develop testing protocol and guarantee that all of its products are free from melamine and cyanuric acid. We continue to receive numerous certifications by the most respected food safety and quality control agencies and auditing firms in the United States.

Natura’s dedication to quality resulted in finding ingredient sources that provide consumers with even more confidence in our products. We will not compromise on food safety and nutrition because both are so critical to the health of pets. We are committed to seeking out new resources and innovations in order to protect the integrity of our products, advance pet health and bolster consumer confidence.

Natura does not use any type of meat byproducts because of their non-specific origins and questionable nutritional value. In addition, organ byproducts (such as liver) may contain chemical residues and other elements of decomposition which raise serious health questions.

Natura preserves the fat in our dry foods and treats naturally with mixed tocopherols (the family of natural antioxidants that includes vitamin E), and we never add artificial preservatives like ethoxyquin, BHA, and BHT. We test our ingredients to make sure they are free from chemical preservatives such as BHA, BHT, and ethoxyquin to laboratory standards.

We prefer the term “high quality” over human grade. This is to respond to your query regarding the quality of ingredients used in Natura pet foods and to specifically address your request to validate our use of “human grade” ingredients. Before I can address your question, however, we must clarify the meaning of the term “human grade.” As you are probably aware, there is no official definition for this terminology even though pet food manufacturers have loosely thrown it about in their effort to differentiate their products from traditional pet foods. We all assume that “human grade,” although undefined, means “good” and “high quality.” But we need to be careful here, many foods that are human grade are not “good” and “high quality,” and would not be approved for use in Natura pet foods.

For example, consider the following list of foods that are considered “human grade”:

  • Oxtail
  • Tripe
  • Pigs Feet
  • Calves Feet
  • Chitterlings
  • Hog Snouts
  • Chicken Feet
  • Head Cheese

All of these foods fall into the “human grade” category because they meet all the basic requirements set by the USDA. Did you know that hot dogs can be as low as 15% raw skeletal muscle meat and can contain meat by-products such as heart, udders, lips, kidney, or liver? “Human grade” by-products? Would that be good enough for your pet? Natura doesn’t believe so.

I want to assure you that all of us at Natura are very caring people and we work very hard to produce the healthiest pet foods in the world. We do that by using “quality” ingredients, not just “human grade”. Natura uses only USDA grade ingredients. We source ingredients worldwide, regardless of the cost, and can confidently say that no other pet food manufacturer is even in the same class as us when it comes to quality.

It is important for you to understand the reason we cannot use the term “human grade” to describe the quality or grade of the ingredients used in our foods on our bags and/or labels. The Association of American Feed Control Officials (governing body over animal feeds) states in their Official Publication:

“No reference to quality or grade of an ingredient shall appear in the ingredient statement of a pet food.”

Although some companies choose to ignore these regulations, Natura follows the rules and does adhere to expected guidelines.

Each bag is date coded with an “expiration” date, which is one year from the date of manufacture. The canned foods were produced 2 years prior to the expiration date on the can. We always recommend using the product by the expiration date to ensure freshness. After opening a bag, we recommend using it within 3 months. Once a can is opened, refrigerate any unused portion and use within 72 hours.

However, just like the food you buy for yourself, our pet foods are affected by natural environmental elements over time. That is why we recommend providing appropriate storage conditions. The natural enemy of food is air, light and heat. The more you can do to minimize exposure to these elements, the longer the pet food will stay fresh and nutritious. To help minimize the exposure, we recommend storing the food in the original packaging.

We have manufacturing plants in California (baking facility), Kansas (canned products) and Fremont Nebraska-Natura Manufacturing Inc. (dry foods).

We have an annual inspection to receive UDSA approval at NMI.

The Natura baking and NMI facilities where all of our baked or dry kibble products are manufactured have regular inspections from the USDA. In addition to this inspection, our plants have also received organic certification from One Cert. Very few pet food manufacturing facilities have obtained such a certification in the United States, or in the world for that matter.

Natura’s baking facility has also received a superior certification form AIB (Association of International Bakers), which is the highest certification they offer. AIB has the most stringent guidelines of any certifying agency for baking facilities.

We do own our own new, state-of-the-art, dry food manufacturing plant in Fremont, Nebraska and our own bakery in San Leandro, California.

Our quality control system is second to none in the industry, and as such we’ve been able to achieve 3rd party certifications that, until recently, were reserved for only human food plants. These certifications include:

  • AIB Superior Rating Certification
  • USDA APHIS Registered
  • ISO 9001:2001 Compliant
  • ISO 22000: 2005 Compliant
  • USDA Organic Production Certification

I hope that this helps illustrate and reinforce the incredible commitment that Natura has made in producing dog & cat foods that are unequalled in ingredient quality, formulation, quality manufacturing and ultimately superior performance and health in the dog and cat.

Our small aluminum cans are free from BPA. Our large 13.2 oz steel cans contain BPA, but we are working with our supplier to find alternative options.