Many people are unaware of the risk of owning a dog and the responsibilities we take once we decide to have them as part of our life, for many they are our best friends, for others a service companion and their most loyal friend. Nowadays, raw meat diets are becoming more and more popular among our beloved pets. Raw diets may have multiple benefits on the nutrition side of it, but there are other things to consider before switching to a raw meat diet. On October 26th, 2018 the U.S Food and Drug administration (FDA) reported human salmonella illness linked to raw pet food. The outbreak impacted more than 29 different states and 21 people were hospitalized. Salmonella is a pathogenic microorganism that can survive under adverse conditions and flourish when the conditions are favorable for reproduction. These bacteria can easily survive in dried pet food and especially in raw meat; the cooking process acts as a kill step against pathogens that could cause food borne illness. A cooking step is not part of a raw meat diet and therefore is essential that we must follow the proper food handling, if not we are putting our health and our love ones at risk, especially those who are immune compromise, children and elders.
According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC) here are some good practices at the time of handling raw pet food. First at all raw Pet foods diets are not recommended due to the risk they represent to consumers, but if you still decide to have your dog on a raw food diet please make sure to:
- Thoroughly wash your hands to reduce the risk of transmitting pathogenic bacteria and cross contaminating other surfaces
- Have a designated container for handling dog raw food, and avoid the use of your own dishes or utensils to feed your dog
- Clean any surface that came in contact with the raw pet food
- Freeze raw pet food and avoid thawing on a countertop or in a sink. Just do this only when you are ready to use it and in its designated container
- Segregate human food and raw pet food in the refrigerator or freezer
- Dispose any left overs sitting after your dog has eaten
- Avoid crawling babies playing with dog items
Following these food safety practices at the time of handling our best friend raw food will highly reduce the risk of a food borne illness that can send us to see the doctor in a heartbeat. Live well, live healthy!
Lambertini, E., Mishra, A., Guo, M., Cao, H., Buchanan, R. L., & Pradhan, A. K. (2016). Modeling the long-term kinetics of salmonella survival on dry pet food. Food Microbiology, 58, 1-6. doi:10.1016/j.fm.2016.02.003