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For the health of your horse

13 februari 2024 Reading time 3 minutes

From raw material to end product

At Pavo, quality is of paramount importance. As an end user, you hardly realise how many checks and processes take place before a raw material as feed ends up in your horse's feeder. Rob Krabbenborg, Product Manager at Pavo, takes us through the entire process.  

Krabbenborg kicks off with an interesting fact: "In the chunks and mueslis of Pavo we process a total of almost 100 different raw materials every year ....." Of course, it all starts with the recipe. "Before the raw materials even enter the factory, they have to meet a strong list of requirements. Think, for example, of the right nutritional values, GMO-free, doping-free." Meeting the quality requirements on paper alone is not enough. Every cargo of raw materials that arrives at Pavo is sampled and assessed. "We check the nutrients, nutritional values, whether there is any dust or fine grit, whether there are any animals or eggs between the raw materials and whether the raw materials look good. This is especially important for a muesli because you often really see the raw materials in the end product we make. In addition, we also check whether the substances are doping-free. For example, we ask what has previously been transported in the truck or in a boat. If this is a high-risk raw material, such as cocoa, we will not accept the freight. A new item that we will become increasingly critical of in the coming period is the CO2 footprint of raw materials, because the sustainability of our raw materials that we use to make horse feed is also becoming an increasingly important theme." 

The Product Manager says that three people are working full-time on these checks. "Because we are so strict about this, we also keep our suppliers on their toes. They ensure that we receive good quality, because they know that otherwise we will not accept it." 

Adding an extra raw material, which has not been used before within Pavo, is often a lengthy process because of all the controls. "The supplier must meet various conditions, and the raw material must also be extensively tested. We not only test for the quality of the raw materials themselves but also for "health and safety". The raw material must not only be safe for horses but also for humans to work with in the factory." 

Processing into product 
Once the raw materials have passed quality control at the gate, they are processed into the right product. Each kibble or muesli has its own recipe and therefore a different composition in terms of raw materials. "Our machines that we use to make chunks or muesli undergo an extensive annual check to make sure they are doing what they are supposed to do. For example, we check whether the weighers work properly, whether the mixers mix the raw materials accurately and homogeneously and we make sure there is no "carry-over" on the production lines. It is standard that if we change recipes we do not sell the first five bags of feed we make. As a result, we ensure that the products we make meet the requirements we set for them". 

The end products also undergo a thorough check. "We check whether the end product contains everything that needs to be in it. Only after that does the feed enter the trade. We have an extensive control program for all products we make, where we check the vitamin levels, the levels of different nutrients such as protein and energy, the various minerals and trace elements and of course doping products that we are not allowed to contain in our products. And finally, each batch is checked to make sure the product looks as it should, because the visual aspect of our products is also very important. 

Shelf life and complaints 
When the bags leave the factory on their way to the warehouse, they have a shelf life of 7 months. "At the warehouse, an inspection also takes place on the bagged goods. The warehouse management system records when the feed has arrived. A bag of feed may not be in our warehouse for more than a month. If that period passes, the bag can no longer be sold via the regular channel to shops that sell Pavo. When the bag leaves our warehouse, it can therefore be kept for at least 6 months. It has to be this way, because at some retailers the bags first go to a central point from where they are further distributed to the stores. That sometimes can take a few weeks." 

Each bag contains a code, expiry date and a batch number. This is very important should complaints come in. "We deal with every complaint we receive. We will find out where the feed comes from, when it was made and which raw materials were used in the batch in question. We can all find that neatly on the basis of the code that is on the bag. With every complaint, we can therefore find out who is the supplier of the raw materials we have processed and hold them accountable. We are very critical about this. No matter how well we assess and monitor the quality in our process, something can always go wrong that has not been noticed. Just look at your own hay, you will sometimes find something in it that does not belong. That happens sometimes when we process lucerne. If we have the same complaints a few times and we don't see any improvement, we say goodbye to such a supplier." 

Because of this entire chain of controls and quality control, Pavo can proudly say that it guarantees the quality that an A-brand stands for.