You wouldn’t want your customers to find a moldy pet chew, would you? One way to ensure a fresh, healthy pet chew is to test for water activity. Let’s go behind the science and figure out how to prevent moldy pet chews!
What is water activity?
Water activity (Aw) is scientifically defined as the ratio between the vapor pressure of the chew itself, when in a completely undisturbed balance with the surrounding air media, and the vapor pressure of distilled water under identical conditions. In simplified terms, Aw is the measurement of the free water in the food that is available for microbial growth. All microorganisms, including molds, yeasts, and bacteria, have a preferable range of water activity that they grow in.
Water Activity can range from 0.0 to 1.0, where 0.0 is very dry and 1.0 is pure water.
Why measure water activity?
Aw is the most important factor to measure to predict if molds, yeast, and/or bacteria will grow in the chew and at what rate. The higher the water activity, the more available water is present in the chew for microbial growth.
Spoilage molds and yeasts grow at water activities above 0.70.
Pathogenic bacteria grow only in water activities above 0.85.
Ideally, your pet’s soft chew should have a water activity of less than 0.65. Aw is an excellent indicator of shelf life and can confirm production consistency. This can lead to fewer consumer complaints, better products, and greater profits.
How is water activity measured?
Aw is a quick measurement that only takes a few minutes with a water activity meter. Therefore, immediate feedback is obtained which prevents product spoilage and health risks.
When should the water activity be measured?
The best time to test water activity is immediately after the chew is produced to prevent moldy pet chews. This measurement will help you to predict the future quality of the chew and determine if it will hold up until its expiration date. You made a promise to your customers with that expiration date. Make sure you prove it with science and stand behind your word!
If you are looking for a private-label pet chew company that has your back, call 833-2-PETDINE or contact us here.