Our company believes that to produce a truly superior product, you need to have control over the ingredient sourcing and the manufacturing process. That is why FirstMate has invested in owning and operating a dry facility and human-grade cannery.
We have been producing quality dry dog and cat food since 1989. When we decided to enter the canned dog and cat food market, our first priority was to have control over quality.
Our Founder and President, Michael Florian, reached out to contacts from his time in commercial fishing and found that one of those contacts was producing canned salmon for human consumption in nearby Port Kells, British Columbia, Canada. After initially working alongside the Coastwise Processors team, we purchased the human-grade facility.
The FirstMate cannery holds a Safe Food for Canadians license which allows us to produce canned salmon for human consumption (click to visit site). Coastwise is also certified by Pro-Cert to produce a certified organic canned salmon under our Coastwise Organics brand. We are also approved to sell pet food across Canada, The United States, Europe, and Asia.
Quality begins by selecting ingredients that meet our stringent human-grade certification. Working with long-term partners, we evaluate our ingredients on the nutritional quality, continuity of supply, and ethical and humane farming conditions.
Our boneless/skinless chicken and turkey are humanely raised and sourced from local suppliers here in British Columbia. Our wild, boneless/skinless Albacore tuna is line-caught to mitigate harm to marine life and sourced from sustainable fisheries off the coast of Alaska. Our wild, boneless/skinless salmon is caught off the coast of Vancouver Island and is also from sustainable fisheries.
Our proteins are delivered from our various ingredient suppliers in insulated totes and produced within 24 hours. Once the ingredients have passed our quality control inspection, we combine the raw meats with a small inclusion of either rice, pea, or potato, and our chelated vitamins and minerals. We believe in adding only ingredients that will provide nutritional benefit, which is why we include a small amount of carbohydrate instead of artificial thickening agents, such as guar gum. We then proceed with a thorough mixing process to ensure nutrient consistency throughout the batch.
Uncommon in canning, our meats are not precooked. They are cooked once in the can itself, which helps to improve the palatability of our canned diets naturally. The end result is a loose pate that is easily mixed with kibble or can be used as a standalone, complete and balanced diet.
Our cans are hermetically sealed to ensure food safety. Our team utilizes a high definition scope to inspect the double seams of our cans. This detects imperfections in the seam that a manual method cannot match, allowing for quicker adjustments with more confidence. A physical tear-down check that requires a systematic opening and unfolding of the seal is also completed on a routine basis.
The cans are then lowered into our retorts and thermally processed to a predetermined time, temperature, and pressure to ensure a thorough cook. This is called the “scheduled process” and is determined using an independent, 3rd party which is an expert in thermal processing. Each diet is put through this rigorous audit to ensure that the scheduled process is sufficient to provide a safe product for our customers.
Preservatives are not required in canned foods because the canning process is a method of food preservation.