Napoleon didn’t conquer Europe by feeding his army rotten tomatoes or how to get the most from your produce investment

Proper handling and storage of produce items can increase shelf life thus positively impacting budget. At the Saint Louis Zoo we have tried various approaches to storage and have a system that works well for us. From which items to hold in the Kitchen area and to which produce items to hold in the cooler and the storage method that extends product integrity,...

Food safety and sanitation

Food Safety and Sanitation is a big aspect of our daily operation and by providing a safe and clean environment you can maintain quality food for the entire collection. The purpose is to help others understand that by doing everything possible to reduce and, or eliminate the threat of food-borne illnesses, that you can keep your food, equipment and staff...

Commissary standards and assessment

The Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden (CZBG) developed the “standards and assessment program” (S&A) as a coaching tool to assist the curatorial staff and supervisory keepers in animal operations at the zoo. This program tailors each section to meet the needs of that animal area following the standards set up by United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Association of...

“We’re gonna make you an offer you can’t refuse” or; contract purchasing

Purchasing contracts are an integral part of a Nutrition program’s procurement arsenal. Versatile and adaptive, they are one way to secure a consistent source and pricing of a product. However they can also be limiting and result in delivery of an inferior, albeit more economical, product. We will examine the advantages and disadvantages of contract purchasing and development of specification...

FOOD AND FEED SAFETY AND NEW REGULATIONS

Both federal and state agencies oversee the safety and efficacy of commercial livestock and poultry feed and pet food products. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under authority provided by the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act (Act) promulgates regulations designed to protect the health of humans and animals by requiring that animal feed and pet food be appropriately...

INGREDIENT VARIABILITY, STABILITY, AND PROCESSING EFFECTS

Often the assumption when constructing diets for pets is that nutrient requirements are a fixed number found in a table. Likewise, we often hear of nutrient values for ingredients and assume that they are a constant. Common sense tells us both assumptions are false. For ingredients these values are subject to wide ranges in variation from supplier to supplier, from...

NUTRIENT STABILITY OVER TIME IN MANUFACTURED FEEDS

Understanding nutrient stability over time is of critical importance when determining the shelf life of animal feed. Trials examining nutrient stability are difficult to manage because of the long duration of trials, particularly if multiple environmental conditions are examined. It is well known that a variety of factors including temperature, humidity, light, and interactions between nutrients (e.g., oxidation of fat...

A GUIDE TO DECIDING ON A CENTRALIZED VS DECENTRALIZED COMMISSARY APPROACH IN A ZOO SETTING

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...

COMMISSARY DESIGN: A TALE OF TWO COMMISSARIES

“It [is] the best of times, it [is] the worst of times,” to paraphrase Charles Dickens. Designing a commissary is one of the most important and long lasting effects a commissary manager and/or nutritionist can have on a nutrition program. While specific details will vary by institution and by program, the basic considerations are similar. Experiences during planning and construction...

A FIELD GUIDE TO AZA ACCREDITATION FROM A NUTRITION PERSPECTIVE

The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) maintains a rigorous accreditation process in order to ensure that AZA-member zoos meet the highest standards of animal care, welfare and management; veterinary care; business management; education; and conservation responsibility. This process is managed by the Accreditation Commission, and is implemented at individual facilities via the inspection team (a team of three –...

Microbiological and temperature evaluation as part of a comprehensive raw meat quality control program

Raw meat and raw meat-based diets are potentially hazardous food items used to maintain zoo carnivores. It is important to monitor handling temperature of meat throughout the preparation process to insure it is maintained below the appropriate threshold temperature (4°C or 40°F). Handling raw meat below this temperature threshold minimizes growth of harmful microorganisms. Three frozen raw meat samples were...

Browse information at your fingertips – the foragers source

The use of browse to manage dietary requirements of many animal species is becoming more important within zoological institutions. Browse can include shrubs, trees, woody vines and stems, including various plant parts like berries and flowers. Browse is important as a dietary constituent for many captive wild animals, but critical for others. It has also become essential for enrichment purposes...

Highlighting conservation nutrition: the Saint Louis Zoo’s Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center

The Saint Louis Zoo’s high standard for animal care is evidenced by the opening of its Orthwein Animal Nutrition Center (OANC) in 2007, a world class facility that highlights critical functions of the Nutrition Department in meeting the nutritional needs of wildlife. Not only will the collection animals be served, but also the science and research programs supporting the institution’s...

Commissary renovation and centralization at the Smithsonian National Zoological Park

Renovation of Smithsonian National Zoological Park (NZP) commissary facilities, evaluation and revision of procedures, and the addition of staff and volunteers were implemented as part of a programmatic shift from decentralized to centralized commissary operation and an overall renewal of the clinical nutrition program. Existing facilities were renovated and new equipment was obtained using hazard analysis and critical control point...

Communicating captive wild animal nutrition

Zoo or captive wild animal nutrition is globally evolving into a respected science. It is still in its infancy and there are many unknowns particularly with today’s economic environment. However, there is one certainty about this emerging arena, and that is, only the people caring for these animals and their dedication, will improve the field of zoo nutrition. Often “people...

Designing analytical software for global data sharing of rhinoceros browse and diet information

As part of an ongoing effort to develop information resources and tools integrating valuable global research, we present a database and software model that integrates feeding habits, browse usage information, nutrient composition of native and substitute foods, and captive diet records for rhinoceros species. Screen displays and output reports include: Browses/Forages Offered, Browse/Forage Nutrient Composition, Diets Fed by Zoological Facility,...

Sustainability issues come home: choosing seafood for zoo and aquarium animals

It has been have taken for granted that wild populations of seafood species would always be readily available. Unfortunately, there are limitations and a continued trend in the decline of fish populations both in the United States and around the globe. At the same time, the demand for seafood is increasing. Captive piscivorous animals must be provided with seafood to...

Development of an intranet browse identification reference

The general term “browse” refers to harvest plant materials that are including as a component of a captive animal’s diet. These materials may satisfy a nutritional, behavioral or combination of components desired in the feeding program. The Zoological Society of San Diego (ZSSD) maintains a comprehensive list of plant species (browse) which may be used with the animal collections, however...