Food poisoning isn’t only a human problem, according to the US Food and Drug Administration, which says that pets are also at risk if they eat foods that are contaminated with disease-causing bacteria. Two of these bacteria—Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes—are particularly dangerous to both pets and humans, says the FDA.
Raw petfood consists primarily of meat, bones and organs that haven’t been cooked, and therefore are more likely than cooked food to contain organisms that can make a dog or cat sick, says William J. Burkholder, DVM, PhD, veterinary medical officer in the FDA’s Division of Animal Feeds. Moreover, raw food can make humans sick as well if it isn't handled properly. The FDA says it does not believe feeding raw petfoods to animals is consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks.
The agency recommends cooking raw meat and poultry to kill harmful bacteria like Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes before the food is given to pets. Burkholder says people who choose a raw diet for their pets often point out that feral dogs and cats catch prey and eat it raw. “That’s true,” he says, “but we don’t know how many of these animals get sick or die as a result of doing that. Since sick feral animals are rarely taken to a veterinarian when they’re ill, there’s no way to collect that information.”
Consumers also run the risk of getting sick if they handle contaminated petfoods and accidentally transfer the bacteria to their mouths. “If you’re going to handle raw foods, you need to pay particular attention to good hygienic practices,” says Burkholder. “Wash your hands and anything else that comes into contact with the product with hot, soapy water for at least 20 seconds.”
Feeding raw food to a pet also increases the risk of contaminating food contact surfaces and other places. “Even if the dog or cat doesn’t get sick, they can become carriers of Salmonella and transfer the bacteria to their surroundings, and then people can get the disease from contact with the infected environment,” says Burkholder. Once Salmonella gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination will continue to spread.
“Feeding raw foods to pets increases the risk that both the pet and the people around the pet will encounter bacteria that cause foodborne illness, particularly if the products are not carefully handled and fed,” says Burkholder. “This is certainly one factor that should be considered when selecting diets for your pet.”
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The FDA "warns" but do we know really how many pets get sick from eating "raw" meats purchased from retailers that have been "inspected" by officials so the public can be protected from disease causing bacteria's. What studies have the FDA performed? What exactly do we need to do to make sure the “raw” food we feed our pets is safe? After all, I love sushi and I trust the businesses selling this product...I understand the rationale for taking the precautions when "handling" raw meat products...the FDA really doesn't need to "warn" They should be teaching the public to just take the normal precautions when handling raw meats for pets or humans! The benefits of the "raw" food diet and the businesses supporting the "raw" food diet may suffer from such "warnings" . Just to note, my dairy farm relatives lived long and healthy lives eating their raw milk products, beef and pork from their livestock "before" the inspections took place.
This article would have us believe that raw food is the only pet food that can be contaminated with pathogenic bacteria and that it is the only pet food that offers any notable "risk" to human handlers. In case anyone was asleep for most of last year, one of the largest pet food industry recalls EVER happened, MULTIPLE times- to California Natural/Natura/Evo brands. Lets think about this. The FDA warns against feeding raw food, then what SHOULD we feed that is safe? Certainly not commercial dry dog food! So who's interests are served by this "warning"? If the safe way to feed raw food is to "wash your hands and utensils and contact surfaces with hot soapy water for 20 seconds - (DUH!), this is also true for dry kibble feeders, who are more likely to not consider dry dog food a bacterial risk to themselves or families. For those of us who actually have dogs, we are also aware that they like to eat cat and each others, poop, and lick their own butts. Why is this not more of a story? I feel confident that 100% of the dog population has done one or both of those activities in the past 24 hours. Compare that to say, 10-15% of the USA dog population that is eating raw and apparently ravaging their families with disease…you would think there would be a considerable bacterial load in poop right? SO, unless you are purchasing meat that has a higher bacterial pathogen load than cat shit or your dogs ass, then you might seriously want to reconsider where you purchase your groceries and I doubt I want to eat dinner with you regardless of how well you cook the meat- and while we are in the thinking frame of mind, why don't we start asking our government why the human food chain is so filthy and contaminated with "acceptable" levels of bacteria and foreign materials?
I completely agree with alamodeo' sentiments, but do not agree with the language used.After spending over 10 years as a distributor of an assortment of food and supplements for dogs and cats, I have come to the conclusion that the Pet Food Supply Business has to be the most corrupt one out there, bar none! Please do proper research and feed your pets a healthy diet, not crap in a bag!
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