The PFI and what it means for you

Our commitment to deliver safe, nutritious and delicious products to South African pets, is reinforced by our membership with the Pet Food Industry Association (PFI) of South Africa.

It’s an affiliation we’re proud of, which is why Montego Pet Nutrition, and other member brands, display the PFI logo on our bags – as this provides further assurance to our customers that the products we offer are manufactured in accordance with world class standards of quality and safety. That’s the intention, but not everyone knows about the PFI, or its significance to consumers.

To give you a bit of background and a better understanding on the relevance of the PFI, we sat down with PFI marketing manager, Dominique Kuhlmann for the nitty gritty.

Can you give an overview of the PFI?

The PFI is a non-profit body formed by pet food manufacturers, dedicated to upholding quality standards that ensure the nutritional wellbeing of household pets.  Members of the PFI commit to manufacture and market food that meets internationally accepted standards, as set out in Act 36 of 1947. The Department of Agriculture’s regulatory authority manages Act 36.

What are the objectives of the PFI?

  • To grow and lead a responsible pet nutrition industry.
  • Being a credible voice for stakeholders.
  • Assuring industry quality and food safety standards align to international levels.
  • Collaborating with authorities and regulators to promote a safe sustainable environment.
  • Applying an industry code of conduct which ensures ethical sales and marketing.
  • Improving the long-term care and wellbeing of pets.

What are the challenges involved in attaining these objectives?

Growing our membership base is an ongoing challenge. Consumer awareness is also a challenge as consumers often don’t know to look for the PFI membership logo when purchasing pet food.

Although being a member the PFI is not compulsory, what are the benefits and what does it mean for consumers?

Pet food brands that choose to join, pledge that their pet foods are aligned with ethical and safe food processes, giving pet owners total peace of mind in knowing that what it says on their products, is exactly what is in their products.

How does the PFI uphold the international quality and safety standards of Southern African pet nutrition? 

PFI members must adhere to the PFI’s strict code of conduct. New applicants are only approved by the board of directors following compliance with various mandatory requirements, such as registration with Act 36 and inspection of their facilities confirm that they measure up to the PFI’s requirements.

We also conduct random tests on the members and non-member brands to ensure that the product is true to the label, and are of the quality they profess.

What are some of the issues negatively impacting local pet food manufacturers? 

New pet food brands are continually entering the market and established brands consistently grow their ranges. This puts added pressure on the regulator, in terms of meeting mandated turnaround times, renewals and amendments. The PFI is currently working closely with Act 36 to implement measures that will alleviate some of the pressure on a technical level.

The industry is affected by economic factors, such as fluctuating exchange rates, especially those that import finished products or ingredients. The drought we experienced also had a negative impact in terms of the cost of maize, an important ingredient in the production of pet foods.

A persistent issue is that of inaccurate myths about commercially prepared pet food being publicised. The PFI works hard on distributing content to publications to educate consumers about the truth behind commercially prepared pet foods.

In developing countries, such as South Africa, many pets are fed nutritiously inadequate foods. Brands are not all made equal and it is in the different ingredients as well as the quality of the ingredients used in their composition that sets them apart. The PFI is proud to represent a broad spectrum of pet food brands, ensuring options of trusted brands to suit all income levels while still upholding international standards of quality and safety.

By feeding the best quality PFI member brand that you can afford, you can be sure that you are giving your pet the best that you can afford. 

What’s on the horizon for the PFI in terms of consumer awareness and member growth?

The PFI is working to reach the South African public, to educate them on the benefits of feeding pets safe, nutritious meals as well as educating on responsible pet ownership.

Greater participation on a global level, such as participation in the Global Alliance of Pet Food Associations (GAPFA). The PFI has worked with other pet food associations around the world, on the development of our association for over five years. In 2014, the PFI was a co-signatory in Brussels to the final legal formalisation of GAPFA and currently participates on multiple levels.

Great focus is being given to improved communication with members as well as offering members greater support and resources to hopefully ensure their success in the industry.

How does one decide which pet food brand is right for them?

By adhering following guidelines, you can be sure that you are moving in the responsible direction, to supplying the best, balanced, nutritious diet to meet your pets’ needs:

  1. Ensure the pet food has been registered – look for the ‘v number’ on the packaging followed by ‘Act 36 of 1947’.
  2. Ensure the pet food brand is a member of the PFI – look for the PFI logo on the packaging or check online for a full list of members (www.pfisa.co.za).
  3. If your pet has a medical or health ailment that can be addressed with diet, purchase a pet food that has been formulated to treat the issue.
  4. Purchase a pet food brand that suits your budget, opting for the best quality that you can afford.
  5. If your pet in not doing well on a specific brand, or is reluctant to eat it, shop around.

We hope you enjoyed this insightful Q&A with Dominique, but if you’d like to learn more about the PFI and the strides they’re taking in the pet food production industry, visit their website here.

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Action Photography

You don’t need to be a professional or own professional equipment to take a good action shot. What you do need is to know how to use your camera – this goes for smart phone camera apps as well as conventional cameras. Spend some time learning how to adjust your camera’s settings and features so you can adjust them on the fly. Follow these tips and you’ll be taking better, clearer action shots of your pets and family in no time!

Begin by considering the results you want. Do you want to catch your dog running with the kids, your cat stalking a butterfly in the garden or the whole family enjoying a game of Frisbee at the park? Visualise your shots, consider how you’ll capture them, then position yourself in a suitable spot. To make the subjects stand out, where possible, choose backgrounds that are clean, clear and free of distractions.Capturing action without blurring requires shooting in areas with ample lighting. The more light, the better the camera’s chances of capturing a focused image – especially if your weapon of choice is a cell phone. The more available light, the faster the shutter speed and sharper the image. Conversely, it becomes increasingly harder to take action shots when indoors or at night. As the shutter speed slows down to capture more light, any movement in an image will become blurred. If you’re able to adjust the shutter speed of your camera or smartphone manually, try playing around and testing the results of different settings.

Rather than chasing the action with your camera, find a good spot, adjusting your settings until you get the focus and exposure you want and lock the settings to stop your camera from automatically adjusting. Then wait for the right moment to come to you.When it comes to capturing action, you can’t account for unexpected moves by your subjects. However, you can pay attention and follow the direction of movement with your camera. This movement is called “Panning” and while you Pan your camera, you can take a number of photos (try burst mode while panning) in order to get a selection to choose from. Burst mode was created specifically for action photography. In burst mode your camera takes a ‘burst’ of photographs in quick succession over a few seconds. The goal is to capture at least one good, clear shot during the burst.

Auto-focus is a wonderful feature that has made better photographers of us all – with action photography being the exception. When you’re dealing with moving targets, selectively focus on an area and photograph it. This allows you to focus on your subject, leaving the motion and blurring for the background.

Unless you’re using high-end lenses and a professional camera, zooming in will result in lower quality photographs. Smart phones use digital zoom and this compromises the quality. Don’t be shy, get closer to your subject and your results will be clearer and more satisfying.ProCam 4: Professional DSLR-like functionality for your iPhone.

Hydra: Helps you take brilliant photographs under difficult lighting conditions.

Camera+: Advanced editing tools, scene modes, shutter control and photographic effects.ProShot: Manual ISO, exposure, focus, white balance and 4K support (hardware dependent).

Camera FV-5: Similar features to ProShot with an Exposure Bracketing feature that takes several shots with different exposures for you to choose from.

A Better Camera: Exactly what it sounds like, a superior camera app for your Android device.We hope you’ve enjoyed this introduction to action photography. While this is a good start, there’s always more to learn and we hope that you spend some time discovering the possibilities for yourself. Don’t forget to share your best results with us by entering our #calendarpets competition and your photography could feature in next year’s calendar.

 

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