MINNEAPOLIS – A US patent for Cargill’s Opti-Cook cooking process used to process its Loyall pet food has been granted. The process uses a steam-and-pressure cooking system and Near-Infrared Reflective Spectroscopy (NIRS) technology.

NIRS uses light waves to measure the chemical composition of nutrients in cooked batches of pet food.

"It is well known that in order for cats and dogs to digest the starch in dry pet food, it must be cooked properly," said Mark Newcomb, technology director for Cargill Animal Nutrition. "If it is under- or over-cooked, pets may have digestive problems. But until now, there was no quick way to measure the chemical change that occurs in starch during cooking. With this technology, Cargill does not have long waits for lab results on samples- we can rapidly determine if pet food has been properly cooked and ensure consistent quality in every batch."

Opti-Cook’s monitoring systems allow Cargill to monitor the cooking process and intervene before problems occur. All nine Loyall pet food formulas use the Opti-Cook process. The line offers eight formulas for dogs and one for cats, each tailored to meet the individual needs of pets in various life stages.