MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA, U.S. — Cargill has been granted a U.S. patent for the exclusive cooking process it developed to ensure every batch of its Loyall premium pet food is cooked to optimize quality, palatability and digestion, the company announced on April 19.

Cargill's Opti-Cook process works by using a combined steam and pressure cooking system and Near-Infrared Reflective Spectroscopy (NIRS) technology. NIRS uses light waves to measure the chemical composition of nutrients in every cooked batch of Loyall pet food at a speed never before seen in the industry.

"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."

The Opti-Cook process also includes monitoring systems that allow Cargill to continuously monitor the cooking process, identify trends 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. All use high-quality ingredients, organic trace minerals and natural sources of glucosamine and Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids.

"We believe the Opti-Cook process helps makes Loyall pet food the most palatable and consistent on the market," said Andy Rash, Loyall marketing manager. "In addition to the balanced nutrition our formulas provide, pet owners can feel confident that every batch of Loyall pet food is cooked properly and measured for consistency. It's a new standard of quality."