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Claudia D

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  • Claudia D
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    Get the Facts! Raw Pet Food Diets can be Dangerous to You and Your Pet

    In a two-year study spanning from October 2010 through July 2012, the FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) screened over 1,000 samples of pet food for bacteria that can cause foodborne illnesses.1 (The illnesses are called “foodborne” because the bacteria are carried, or “borne,” in or on contaminated food.) The study showed that, compared to other types of pet food tested, raw pet food was more likely to be contaminated with disease-causing bacteria.
    The Pet Food Study

    Raw pet food was not included in the first year of the study. In the second year, CVM expanded the study to include 196 samples of commercially available raw dog and cat food. The center bought a variety of raw pet food online from different manufacturers and had the products shipped directly to six participating laboratories.2 The raw pet food products were usually frozen in tube-like packages and made from ground meat or sausage.
    The participating laboratories analyzed the raw pet food for harmful bacteria, including Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. In past projects, CVM had monitored dog and cat food for the presence of Salmonella. But before this study, the center “had not investigated the occurrence of Listeria in pet food,” said Renate Reimschuessel, a veterinarian at CVM’s Office of Research and one of the study’s principal investigators. Dr. Reimschuessel further noted that “quite a large percentage of the raw foods for pets we tested were positive for the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.” (Pathogens are disease-causing germs, like some bacteria. Not all bacteria are harmful pathogens, though. Some bacteria are helpful to people and animals, such as those that live in the intestines and contribute to a healthy gut.)

    Of the 196 raw pet food samples analyzed, 15 were positive for Salmonella and 32 were positive for L. monocytogenes (see Table 1).

    Table 1: Number and type of pet food samples that tested positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes (Years 1 & 2)
    Type of Pet Food Sample No. samples tested No. positive for Salmonella No. positive for L. monocytogenes
    Raw pet food 196 15 32
    Dry exotic pet food* 190 0 0
    Jerky-type treats† 190 0 0
    Semi-moist dog food‡ 120 0 0
    Semi-moist cat food‡ 120 0 0
    Dry dog food§ 120 0 0
    Dry cat food§ 120 1 0
    * Non-cat and non-dog food, such as dry pellets for hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, amphibians, and birds.
    † Included chicken jerky product, pig ears, and bully stick-type products.
    ‡ Typically packaged in pouches for retail sale, such as (1) pouched dog and cat food; and
    (2) food treats shaped like bacon, fish, pork chops, and burgers.
    § Included pellet- or kibble-type food typically packaged in bags for retail sale.
    Note: CVM did not collect or test canned and wet pet food samples in this study.

    Based on the study’s results, CVM is concerned about the public health risk of raw pet food diets. As Dr. Reimschuessel explained, the study “identified a potential health risk for the pets eating the raw food, and for the owners handling the product.” Owners who feed their pet a raw diet may have a higher risk of getting infected with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.
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    Because raw pet food is more likely than other types of pet food to contain Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, the single best thing you can do to prevent infection is to not feed your pet a raw diet

    Pet Food Recalls

    Both cooked and raw pet food products are recalled for various reasons, including the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. For a list of recalled pet food and the reason for the recall, please see CVM’s Recalls & Withdrawals Web page.
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    Resources for You

    Get the Facts about Salmonella!
    Get the Facts about Listeria!
    Avoid the Dangers of Raw Pet Food
    Pet Food
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    1 Nemser S, Reimschuessel, R. Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) disclaimer icon Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program (MCAP), FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) Special Project: Pet food testing for selected microbial organisms. Final Report 2010-2012. The study was conducted by FDA CVM’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), in collaboration with FERN MCAP laboratories. The journal citation is Nemser S, Doran T, et al. Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and Toxigenic Escherichia coli in Various Pet Foods. Foodborne Pathog Dis 2014;11:706-709.
    2 Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services; Michigan Department of Agriculture; Minnesota Department of Agriculture; North Carolina Department of Agriculture; Ohio Department of Agriculture; and Washington Department of Agriculture.

    Claudia D
    Member

    I am a nutritionist and formulated a super treat for dogs after my own dog died suddenly from eating tainted treats. This also inspired me to write a book on food safety, ‘Eat Clean, Eat Safe” which is dedicated to my dog, Chubbs that perished.
    I would suggest that for weight loss, you add in cooked vegetables for added bulk and satiety and less calories.
    My Organic dog treats are “Organic Doggie Treats” and are made from only 2 super foods,
    organic whole chicken thigh and organic sweet potatoes, manufactured here in the US, using locally sourced ingredients. I know how Mike feels.

    Claudia D
    Member

    I am a nutritionist and formulated a super treat for dogs after my own dog died suddenly from eating tainted treats. This also inspired me to write a book on food safety, ‘Eat Clean, Eat Safe” which is dedicated to my dog, Chubbs that perished.
    I would suggest that for weight loss, you add in cooked vegetables for added bulk and satiety and less calories.
    My Organic dog treats are “Organic Doggie T
    reats” and are made from only 2 super foods,
    organic whole chicken thigh and organic sweet potatoes, manufactured here in the US, using locally sourced ingredients. I know how Mike feels.

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