Sharon Spielman, Food Engineering (SS): Tell me about Northwest Naturals.

Amy Snell, national sales manager, Northwest Naturals AS: Northwest Naturals is proudly owned by Morasch Meats in Portland, Ore., a family-run business since 1956. Morasch Meats is a USDA meat facility, processing for restaurants, grocery stores and independent retailers. NWN is the pet food portion of Morasch Meats, and must follow all of the same strict USDA human food guidelines since all NWN products are made in an active USDA human facility. USDA meat inspectors are onsite every day or every shift to monitor all production steps. 

SS: Who sets the standards for the ingredients that Northwest Naturals uses in their pet food?

AS: NWN is made in our own certified USDA eco-friendly facility. This means NWN pet food measures up to the levels of quality for agricultural commodities that the USDA has developed for human food. Our staff set NWN recipes and source ingredients that meet AAFCO nutritional values, follow Organic standards, and comply with BRC third-party audit standards.

SS: Are these standards enforced? If so, how?

AS: There is a USDA inspector onsite for every production run. All raw materials are USDA certified inspected and passed for human consumption. We are committed to quality, and we are transparent in what we do. We want the consumers to have full confidence in our business and our products—every step of the way. All production records and testing are performed contemporaneously and reviewed several times during the day be various staff for accuracy.

Northwest Naturals Treats for Dogs and Cats

SS: How are your pet food ingredients verified?

AS: The USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is responsible for inspecting ingredients to ensure the safety and wholesomeness of our products and that they are accurately labeled. We also follow the HACPP food safety program, which covers the best management practices to reduce risk of any food-borne illnesses. Additionally, we conduct voluntary BRC audits every year as we always focus on the R&D of our innovative technologies to ensure we follow the most exceptional standards. All raw material suppliers must pass thru a supplier approval program to verify that their standards meet our standards and that their supply of raw materials will remain sustainable in volume and quality.

SS: Tell me about your certificates of analysis (COAs)?

AS: Our COAs whereby all batches are sampled and lab tests are run to verify that certain standards are met, residual moisture for shelf stability on freeze dry product, water activity for shelf stability, free of pathogens such as Listeria, Salmonella and E. coli.

NWN has multiple certifications:

  • HACCP – Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points is a management system in which food safety is addressed through the analysis and control of biological, chemical, and physical hazards from raw material production, procurement and handling, to manufacturing, distribution and consumption of the finished product.
  • GMP – Good Manufacturing Practices describes the methods, equipment, facilities, and controls for producing processed food. As the minimum sanitary and processing requirements for producing safe and wholesome food, they are an important part of regulatory control over the safety of the nation's food supply.
  • TQC - Total Quality Control is a practice quality control method that is to develop, design, produce and service a quality product from design to delivery which is most economical, useful and always satisfactory to the consumer.
  • SSOP - A Sanitation Standard Operating Procedure is a written document of procedures or programs used to maintain equipment and the environment in a sanitary condition for food processing. It is a step-by-step description of cleaning and sanitizing procedures and specifies what is to be cleaned.
  • PREOP - The pre-operational check is important for the workers safety. It involves a daily check of the machine’s health. ... Any forklift or warehouse machine that needs repairs, maintenance or is observed to be unsafe to operate must be taken out until such repair or maintenance has been done.

SS: Tell me how Northwest Naturals manages its pet food ingredients to ensure quality and safety. 

AS: NWN uses high-pressure cold processing systems that employ pressures to inactivate many foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria, with no change in organoleptic properties or nutritional value. This eliminates the need for chemical additives, irradiation or any heat applied methods. We operate two HPP systems on most pet products. 

NWN also installed a photo catalytic oxidation system throughout each building. This inactivates pathogens in the air and on surfaces.

Northwest Naturals Raw Diet for Dogs

All NWN ingredients are North American sourced with the exception of Lamb and Green Mussels (New Zealand) and Rabbit (France). All the produce comes from local Oregon and Washington farms when possible, depending upon the season. All raw materials are sourced from USDA inspected and passed suppliers with consistent quality. All our meats contain no added hormones or antibiotics. 

By housing a full-time USDA inspector onsite at each facility, we are consistently monitored and reviewed to ensure that our production process continually exceeds expectations. 

SS: Is there anything else you would like to add?

AS: The NWN mission is to provide pet-lovers the option of feeding their pets a health-enhancing, life-prolonging, easy-to-feed food that is carefully formulated based upon the most advanced science and principles of raw food diet preparation.

NWN recently became an Accredited Icon Member for the Pet Sustainability Coalition. With over 1.04 million megawatts of solar power being added to our freeze-drying and high-pressure cold processing facility, it will be one of the largest independent solar array buildings in the Portland metro area. We also have extensive recycling programs recovering over 85% for corrugated office supplies, metals, and plastics. We compact the recycle over 876,000 pounds of materials each year and burn 100 percent of our waste lubricants and hydraulic fluid into our custom heating system for our maintenance shop.

For more information about Northwest Naturals, visit

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