Harris S, Toddes B, Maslanka M. 2013. A guide to deciding on a centralized vs decentralized commissary approach a zoo setting. In Ward A, Coslik A, Mahan K, Treiber K, Reppert A, Maslanka M, Eds. Proceedings of the Tenth Conference on Zoo and Wildlife Nutrition, AZA Nutrition Advisory Group, Salt Lake City, UT.
Likely since the inception of zoological collections, there has been a debate over whether it is most efficient and effective to have a centralized or a decentralized commissary operation. Proponents of both types of operations know the bonuses and shortfalls of their own approach, as well as their perceptions of each for the “path not chosen.” Both approaches have been successfully used to help manage not only inventory, equipment, and infrastructure, but also clinical nutrition for collection animals. By implementing an organized approach to monitoring the quality of food delivered to the animals, regardless of centralized or decentralized, the safety and nutritional value of the foods will increase, while decreasing the financial loss due to food waste and time spent caring for ill animals.