I’ve toured half a dozen dry pet food manufacturing plants, and to date, three wet pet food plants. In most cases, to secure the invitation for a tour, I am asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, promising not to disclose anything that may be proprietary in nature for the owner of the plant or any information about which company’s products are made there. In the cases in which I was not asked to sign a nondisclosure agreement, I have been asked for my word about these issues anyway – which is fine by me. I’m not looking to become a pet food detective and spill company secrets; I’m looking for things that would be of some use to owners who want to know how to identify and purchase the best foods for their pets!
This is one of the reasons it was such a pleasure to be invited to a pet food plant with no strings attached. The owner and CEO of Lotus Pet Foods extended an invitation for me to tour their new (launched in February 2011) plant in Torrance, California. Could I bring my camera? Yes. Could I take pictures and video of anything I wanted? Yes. Could I go through any door and see any label of any ingredient I wanted? Yes. Did I need to sign something? No.
One reason that the principals of Lotus are able to be so open: they do not yet produce pet food for other domestic pet food companies at their facility, so they don’t have to secure permission from anyone else.
Nevertheless, it was great to get to walk through a pet food plant and confirm that everything there looked exactly like how it’s described on the Lotus Pet Foods canned dog food label and on the company website.