The American Veterinary Medical Association passed a new resolution discouraging the feeding of raw petfood diets to dogs and cats due to human health concerns.
The association is discouraging pet owners from feeding raw meat diets because pathogens like Salmonella, E. coli and other bacteria can be easily transmitted to humans by handling the raw food or through contact with the animal's feces. Dr. Ashley Hughes of Friendship Hospital for Animals says bacteria is very difficult to get rid of, even with proper washing of bowls and utensils. She says feeding raw food is especially dangerous in homes with children, elderly people or people with weak immune systems.
"The Internet tells [pet owners] raw food is the best thing to feed, and if they love their dog, this is what they should be feeding them, and so I hope people research it more and, you know, make an informed decision if that's what they want to feed," Dr. Hughes says. "I think it's about discussing your feeding choices with your veterinarian and working out a system and a way of feeding that works for you and your pet."
Safe, nutritious, tasty petfood requires careful handling and processing of raw meat ingredients
Processors should carefully develop, validate and implement an effective kill step to support production of pathogen-free petfoods
Smaller lobbying groups employed most often to fight for clients' interests
The intent was to educate regulators and industry about the Model Pet Food Regulations
Committees discussed key proposals such as a possible shift in the oversight of animal feeds
It gives more direct control to CVM in establishing and maintaining ingredient definitions
Aunt Jeni's Home Made promotes the health and longevity of pets with their natural and raw lines of products
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Commercial petfood makers are creating mixers and diets
that require consumers to get involved with preparation
I'm VERY disappointed to see that Petfood Industry is doing such a sloppy job of reporting. The AVMA is NOT discouraging the feeding of raw diets. It is discouraging the feeding of raw diets that *contain pathogens*. As the makers of the top 5 selling raw diets have advanced pathogen control systems in place, as well as test and hold programs (all batches are tested and none enter distribution until negative test results are returned), these products are perfectly acceptable to the AVMA. There are additional raw diet companies other than the top 5 that also have pathogen-free products in place. There are many other issues to be considered about raw diets, but the industry understands that it can't be the only segment of food products - human or pet - that are allowed to contain pathogens. Kibble that contains pathogens is not acceptable or legal either. So this is all really old news. For an industry leader like Petfood Industry not to recognize and report this important distinction (that it's NOT raw diets at issue, just raw diets that contain pathogens) is, as I said, very disappointing. You are guilty of spreading misinformation. The raw diet industry would appreciate seeing an immediate clarification in the above Petfood Industry story. Melinda Miller President North American Raw Petfood Association
From a July 2011 article in this same publication:"There seems to be a huge disconnect between veterinary care and nutrition. Most US veterinarians would admit their formal education on companion animal nutrition consisted of one basic course that, in some cases, had to be taught by a professor from another program because no veterinary faculty had the knowledge or expertise to teach it.Any information on nutrition received after veterinary school usually comes via a handful of petfood manufacturers that sell through the veterinary channel. Of course, their products and information are all fine, but let’s face it: That information is by its very nature prone to be limited and biased."http://petfoodindustry.com/Default.aspx?pageid=5306&id=7711&terms=avma
Sorry, AVMA, you are all wet on this one. My own raw fed dogs have been healthier for the past 20 years than my clients' dog food eating dogs. Are we veterinarians promoting health or the pet food industry, with all its recalls, Chinese ingredients, and biologically inappropriate diets?And why in the world is AVMA worrying about what perhaps 2.5% of the pet food market does? Surely there are serious problems affecting more pets than this... how about the jerky treats from China that are actually killing dogs, which FDA refuse to order recalled.Laurie S. Coger, DVMwww.WholisticVet.com
Dr. Hughes warns us the "bacteria is difficult to get rid of, even with proper washing of bowls and utensils". Is she saying we should not have any raw meat in our homes at all. I use bowls and utensils to prepare my families raw meats. I use dish-washing soap to clean them. Is she trying to tell me that I am not effectively removing bacteria when I use soap??I had to look up Dr. Hughes just to make sure she had a college education. I was a little doubtful.
If Salmonella is so easily transmitted from raw fed pets to humans, why hasn't it happened? The AVMA dismisses reports by pet owners of great improvements by feeding fresh food to pets as ancedotal, yet passes this policy based on theoretical science.From one of the 6 studies cited by the AVMA:"The increasing popularity of raw food diets for companion animals is another potential pet-associated source of Salmonella organisms; however, no confirmed cases of human salmonellosis have been associated with these diets.""To date, there have been no published reports of salmonellosis occurring in dogs as a result of exposure to natural pet treats.""To date, there has been only one published report of salmonellosis occurring in cats as a result of exposure to raw food diets. Septicemic salmonellosis was diagnosed in 2 cats that underwent necropsy at the College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Georgia (Athens, GA).""To date, raw pet foods have not been associated with salmonellosis in humans; however, identification of Salmonella-contaminated food and Salmonella shedding by pets that have been fed raw food diets should raise concern."
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