META, MO. — At the moment’s pet meals market could also be a dog-eat-dog world, however the meals security side should be extra of a collaborative effort, based on Michele Sayles, Ph.D., government director of meals security and high quality at Diamond Pet Meals. This knowledgeable microbiologist has spent her profession conserving individuals and pets secure from meals security and high quality hazards, and he or she stays eager on new applied sciences and progressive strategies accessible to get the job completed.
“Our aim is that there is no such thing as a aggressive benefit to meals security, and we work collectively to drive that ahead and produce secure merchandise,” she stated.
Within the following Q&A, Sayles shares thrilling tasks she has been engaged on and what they imply for the well being and security of furry relations world wide.
PFP: Inform us about your online business or profession within the pet trade.
Sayles: I primarily oversee high quality assurance, sanitation and meals security. I additionally work because the lead scientific researcher for all points of meals innovation and meals security for each ingredient that goes into every formulation at Diamond Pet Meals. One novel undertaking I’ve been engaged on for the final 5 years is mapping the microbiome of the manufacturing environments at every of Diamond Pet Meals’ manufacturing amenities. This permits Diamond to higher perceive and management the person environments by which their meals are produced to allow them to present the most secure merchandise to shoppers and their pets.
PFP: How did you get your begin within the pet trade, and the way did that have lead you to the place you are actually?
Sayles: I began as a meals microbiologist and was within the meals trade for various years. I all the time had a meals security and meals microbiology focus, and that focus shifted over to the pet trade, the place I obtained concerned with a pet meals firm about 16 years in the past. Round 2006, there was numerous consideration round pet meals. The function of pets had began to shift as they grew to become extra included into the household. There was a brand new outlook for pet meals to be handled with the identical microbiological expectations as human meals.
As a human microbiologist and meals security knowledgeable, I used to be recruited to come back into the pet meals realm and convert pet meals crops into amenities with the identical microbiological expectations as human meals crops, together with meals security expectations and applications, microbiological testing, sanitation, separation management and extra.
PFP: What has been your largest problem — private or skilled — associated to your work within the pet trade?
Sayles: Once I first obtained into pet meals, one of many largest challenges I confronted was competitiveness throughout the trade. Nonetheless, it’s superior now to see varied pet meals firms, commerce organizations, regulatory teams and educational establishments coming collectively to share analysis initiatives, collaborative tasks and findings. Our aim is that there is no such thing as a aggressive benefit to meals security, and we work collectively to drive that ahead and produce secure merchandise.
PFP: Inform me a couple of skilled accomplishment within the pet trade that you’re pleased with.
Sayles: Whereas at Diamond Pet Meals, I’ve had the chance to do extra analysis tasks, increasing my information in new applied sciences to learn how we will make the most of these applied sciences in a useful manner. One instance could be the world of metagenomics. I’ve not solely been capable of analysis sensible functions of metagenomics inside our amenities, however I even have been capable of develop partnerships and collaborate with completely different organizations on varied metagenomic analysis tasks. Outcomes of those tasks have actually helped us acquire a greater understanding of the world of microbiology and the way impactful instruments, similar to metagenomics, are in serving to us not solely troubleshoot however acquire a greater understanding and appreciation of the complicated ecologies of microorganisms and the way they’ll affect our manufacturing environments.
It has been an incredible alternative to work inside this space of metagenomics, which has influenced the work that we’ve completed with probiotics. With probiotics, I’m wanting particularly at how we will use “good bugs” (probiotics) to boost the microbiomes of our manufacturing amenities. We’ve not solely studied the consequences of probiotics on enhancing the microbiome of the manufacturing surroundings but additionally to in the end improve canine’ intestine well being. It has been a number of the coolest analysis that I’ve been capable of do. For me, that’s been the largest accomplishment — having the ability to do these experiments and assist Diamond keep on the innovative with expertise, particularly on this planet of microbiology.
PFP: What’s high of thoughts for you and/or your online business within the trade proper now?
Sayles: What’s at the moment high of thoughts for us is the consistency of the provision chain and ensuring that, if new ingredient streams are explored, any new ingredient goes by a rigorous hazard evaluation.
PFP: What’s one thing concerning the pet trade that individuals exterior of the trade could not understand?
“We function with the mentality that that is human meals and needs to be as much as the identical requirements,” stated Michele Sayles, Diamond Pet Meals.
Sayles: The quantity of testing and high quality assurance applications which might be concerned in our manufacturing is one thing individuals could not understand. We function with the mentality that that is human meals and needs to be as much as the identical requirements. We routinely check and monitor our manufacturing course of — pre-production, manufacturing and post-production — and work carefully with our provide chains to substantiate ingredient security. Our amenities adhere to stringent high quality and meals security protocols, have a devoted high quality assurance and meals security employees, and comply with GMP protocols. By implementing scientific and technological developments, we’ve got developed a complete meals security system that ensures our pet meals is wholesome, secure and nutritious. A few of our security and high quality checks embrace:
3,458 mycotoxin checks per week
1,538 microbiological checks per week
268 oxidative stability checks per week
5,520 ingredient dietary checks per week
40,095 completed product dietary checks per week
We additionally implement a check and maintain program, by which product checks are performed by an ISO-certified laboratory. We use scientifically and statistically primarily based sampling strategies referencing requirements set by the Worldwide Fee on the Microbiological Specification for Meals (ICMSF). Samples are collected and examined for each product produced. Each pattern is stored for a time equal to the assured shelf lifetime of the product, usually 12 months.
PFP: Only for enjoyable, do you take into account your self a canine particular person or a cat particular person? Or, in case you have pets of your personal, inform us a bit of bit about them.
Sayles: I’m undoubtedly extra of a canine particular person. I’ve a Border Collie-Queensland Heeler combine who’s 14 years previous and cherished tagging alongside on horseback rides when she was youthful.
PFP: Any last recommendation for different girls within the pet trade?
Sayles: Once I first began, the trade was fairly male dominated, however we’ve got extra girls meals security managers now, and we actually have embraced that. My recommendation could be to not really feel intimidated. If you realize your online business and you realize your job description and also you’re assured in what you do, that can provide help to be probably the most profitable.
Michele Sayles has greater than 20 years of expertise within the realm of meals security, high quality and microbiology. She has held varied positions with main meals and pet meals firms all through her profession. Sayles earned her bachelor’s diploma from California Polytechnic State College, adopted by her grasp’s from Kansas State College and a Ph.D. in meals microbiology from Oklahoma State College. At present, she may be very lively with the Worldwide Affiliation of Meals Safety (IAFP), the newly shaped Animal and Pet Meals Security Skilled Improvement Group, the Pet Meals Alliance, and serves because the co-chair of the Product Security Committee for the Pet Meals Institute.
Proceed studying about different feminine leaders featured in our Girls within the Pet Business collection.