Raw petfood: Is it safe enough?
With arguments both for and against raw petfood meeting ever-tightening FDA regulations, this industry niche must get ready to be more vigilant than ever.
The discussions both for and against a raw petfood diet are long-familiar to the industry. Proponents cite unmatched health benefits for pets and the way the diet simulates how animals would eat in the wild; while detractors point out the risk of pet illness, contamination and public health issues if proper food safety measures aren't taken. It's a complex issue, set to become even more complex due to the Food and Drug Administration's Food Safety Modernization Act.
Under the Act, all food manufacturers-both human and petfood-will likely be expected to develop and implement a written Food Safety Plan for review and approval by the FDA. These plans must include HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point)-based, validated interventions to eliminate and control harmful bacteria and other food safety hazards.
For the raw petfood industry, this means that their processes must be designed to eliminate harmful bacteria during the manufacturing process. Is the industry ready to meet such a challenge?
Raw petfood companies typically rely on two things to ensure the safety of their products, according to Dr. James Marsden, professor of food safety and security at Kansas State University. "They rely on interventions that are applied throughout the process that reduce the risk of pathogen contamination, and these may be things like treating trimmings with an antimicrobial solution, relying on their upstream suppliers to have interventions during the slaughter process and after the slaughter process," he said. "So there's a number of things that can be done that…