I have spent my blogs so far talking about some of our core ingredients that go into farm animal feed. Dairy, beef, poultry, or horses utilize a lot of the products LaBudde markets, however we have some ingredients we specialize in that go into Pet Food. Tomato Pomace is an ingredient that we produce at our Michigan facility and at our sister facility, Clean Dried Processing, in Nevada.
Tomato Pomace is a fiber ingredient utilized in dog and cat foods. It is made up of the skins and seeds that are left when food plants produce ketchup, canned tomato juice, salsa, and tomato soups. The tomatoes are washed and cleaned at the plant and then a steam treatment separates the skins. Labudde picks up from our canning and juicing partner companies and bring the wet pomace to our facility in Akron, Michigan.
LaBudde has a unique process for the Tomato Pomace. We use a large drum dryer to dry down the pulp that arrives at around 70% moisture to a product that is around 10% moisture when finished. This enclosed system allows us to produce a consistent product that is free from contamination. Since this will be going into pet food, we have strict quality control standards to make sure the product is safe for consumers’ pets.
There are cheaper Tomato Pomace sources on the market, but they are referred to as “solar dried”. This may sound green and gives you visions of product being dried utilizing solar energy. In reality it is product dumped on asphalt slabs on the ground in central California. Solar dried product doesn’t have the same attention to detail and safety that Labudde and Clean Dried Processing take pride in. We quickly move the product from arrival as wet product into the dryer and then it is ground and treated with and natural GMO Free antioxidant that helps prevent spoilage.
Soluble fiber is important in a pet’s diet. It is like your bran muffin. Though it doesn’t bring a lot of calories to the mix, it is valuable to the overall health of the digestion of a pet. Tomato Pomace is a great source of soluble fiber. It binds with water to help nutrients flow through the digestive system. It also slows down digestion allowing longer time to absorb valuable vitamins and minerals. Tomatoes are also a source of one of the best antioxidants, Lycopene. Lycopene is found mostly in the skins of tomatoes, so the pomace is a concentrated source.
Byproducts can get a bad name in Pet Food advertising. We would all love to think our beloved pet is eating filet mignon with whole fresh peas and a low sodium gravy filled with all the vitamins and minerals they need for strong bones and a shiny coat. In reality, few people can afford to feed Fido the price that human food grade ingredients cost. Products like Tomato Pomace utilize a part of the food production system that humans are not using, while adding the nutrients into pet food. Most of us know in items like tomatoes and potatoes, the bulk of the fiber and nutrients are in the skins. The moisture is in the body of the vegetable. That moisture would need to be taken out by the pet food manufacturer in their kibble process anyway if a fresh tomato was used. The pomace gives the pet food the nutritional plus of the tomato without the moisture.
I hope my blog can help dispel some of the fear associated with BYPRODUCTS in pet food and other animal feeds. We need to look at it as an amazing system that lets your dog and cat eat the part of the plant or animal that human food companies don’t need to utilize. In this case,it is the skins and seeds of tomatoes that are left over when they cook up some nice canned stewed tomatoes for your prized chili recipe. Is it much different than grandma giving scraps to the dog after she used home grown garden tomatoes and made her spaghetti sauce?