Food and Drug Administration is cautioning pet owners
about feeding their animals raw diets, warning that
those who do may have a higher risk of getting infected
with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.
a new study, compared to other types of pet food tested,
raw pet food was more likely to be contaminated with
disease-causing bacteria, the agency said.
new warning was issued after a two-year study, in which
the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine screened more
than 1,000 samples of pet food for bacteria that can
cause foodborne illnesses.
the study, CVM sampled 196 commercially available raw
dog and cat foods. The center bought a variety of raw
pet food online from different manufacturers and had the
products shipped directly to six laboratories for
analysis, according to the FDA. The raw pet-food
products were usually frozen in tubelike packages and
made from ground meat or sausage.
the samples analyzed, 15 were positive for salmonella
and 32 were positive for listeria.
study "identified a potential health risk for the
pets eating the raw food, and for the owners handling
the product," said Dr. Renate Reimschuessel, a
researcher at CVM’s Office of Research and one of the
study’s principal investigators.
FDA said the best way to prevent infection is to not
feed your pet a raw diet; however, the agency is aware
that some people prefer this type of food and offers
some tips to prevent salmonella and listeria:
wash your hands with soap and water (for at least 20
seconds) after handling raw pet food, and after touching
surfaces or objects that have come in contact with the
raw food. Potential contaminated surfaces include
countertops and the inside of refrigerators and
microwaves. Potential contaminated objects include
kitchen utensils, feeding bowls and cutting boards.
clean and disinfect all surfaces and objects that come
in contact with raw pet food. You can also run items
through the dishwasher after each use to clean and
raw meat and poultry products until you are ready to use
them, and thaw them in your refrigerator or microwave,
not on your countertop or in your sink.
handle raw and frozen meat and poultry products. Don’t
rinse raw meat, poultry, fish and seafood. Bacteria in
the raw juices can splash and spread to other food and
raw food separate from other food.
cover and refrigerate what your pet doesn’t eat or
throw the leftovers out safely.
you’re using raw ingredients to make your own cooked
pet food, be sure to cook all food to a proper internal
temperature as measured by a food thermometer. Thorough
cooking kills harmful foodborne bacteria.
kiss your pet around its mouth, and don’t let your pet
lick your face. This is especially important after your
pet has just finished eating raw food.
wash your hands after touching or being licked by your
pet. If your pet gives you a "kiss," be sure
to also wash your face.