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Salmonella, Is Your Dog Food Contaminated?

With the recent announcement of pet food recalls it becomes important to understand the potential exposure to the salmonella bacteria and understand how to process and prevent an illness from the bacteria.

  • Salmonella is a bacteria present in our food sources for both human and pets.
  • Chicken supply is the most common protein that poses salmonella.
  • Over 15% of the chicken supply in this country has the presence of salmonella bacteria.
  • Usually animals are free of the signs of infection but may suffer from diarrhea.
  • The infection can pass from human to pet or vice versa.
  • Most common source of infection is found in poultry.

With this level of contamination it is best to assume that all raw chicken, whether for humans or animals, is affected. Other protein sources such as beef or pork can also be a source of infection even though the meat has been cleared for human consumption.

The message here is that salmonella bacteria is present in a variety of food sources. The presence of this bacteria in humans poses a higher threat than in animals due to the fact that the animals have a stronger stomach acid content and a shorter digestive system allowing it to dispose of the harming affects of the bacteria. (faster digestion, less exposure)

Natural foods always contain bacteria. Meat handling regulations are in place to minimize the risk of infection. Cooking raw food could reduce the potential risk to a negligible level but since mother nature has given the pet an immunity to this type of infection we don’t see the need to alter the protein content and damage the structural nature of the protein source whether it is chicken or any other protein source.

Now that we know it is present in our supply chain we best find ways to reduce the possibility of cross contamination to humans and to our pets. The best way to do that is to follow the proper manufacturing protocol that prevents the bacterial growth caused by improper handling. Temperature control is critical to slow down the growth of the bacteria. If the diets are manufactured in a temperature controlled environment it will be the first step to slow down the bacteria. Proper tempering of frozen ingredients, grinding and patty forming equipment temperature monitoring, and flash freezing techniques are the best safeguards to use to prevent the bacteria risk.

We the end user MUST use common sense when handling or thawing any raw meat. We must do this whether it is for human consumption or for our pets. Wearing rubber gloves to prepare the patties and using hot water sterilization of surfaces is a good idea. Current evidence shows that feeding a raw meat patty or raw meaty bones does not create unacceptable infection risks.

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4 Comments  comments 

4 Responses

  1. Heather

    Where can I find the research to support your claim that “feeding a raw meat patty or raw meaty bones does not create unacceptable infection risks.”

  2. Heather

    Better yet, where can I find research to back up any of your claims?

  3. There are several books written in support of the raw feeding philosophy. Three that come to mind are books written by Ian Billinghurst D.V.M, Tom Lonsdale D.V.M and Henry Pasternak D.V.M . They all are natural raw meat diet advocates that support our philosophy. Each one has carefully pointed out the potential bacterial risks and have compared that to the potential gain in benefits. Each pet guardian is challenged to weigh the risks against the benefits regarding the sources and potential hazards in manufacturing the diets. The dry pet food manufacturers have documented many research studies to convince the public about the safety of their diets. The recent recalls and pet deaths have shattered all the research. The public is more aware of the potential dangers now in feeding a dry product that contains chemicals, preservatives, flavoring agents, and pesticides. The whole basis of our philosophy of how to properly feed a dog is founded on the principal of feeding the most biologically appropriate food source. Evolution has provided the proper and most appropriate diet for domestic pets. The main difference is the heat processing that is required to process a kibble diet. The inference that heat processing makes the product a consumer safe item is hogwash. Salmonella exposure is still a problem with dry food. Some of the most recent recalls pertain to salmonella contamination . In addition there are risks from mycotoxin buildup, and the harmful and damaging effects from the added chemicals. Common sense tells us that an open bag of dry dog food is stabilized with preservatives to keep the fats from spoilage. Flavoring agents are used to make a grain based unpalatable food source into a tasty and acceptable diet. All these agents go against our philosophy of feeding a food that is the natural diet of choice for the animal, Our theory of feeding a natural food source that has not been nutritionally compromised with the application of heat is the difference between feeding a dry kibble and a natural raw meat diet.
    You have asked for research to support our claims. I have formulated, manufactured and sold over 100 million pounds of raw diets to pet consumers for 34 years. I have seen first hand the remarkable turn- a- rounds in pet health from the conversion to raw food. I relate it to putting the right gas in the tank. iIt makes a difference for longevity, and improvement in the general health of the animal. As more companies surface to produce raw meat diets there will be more and more research conducted to support our philosophies. At this point we are spreading the word about the RESULTS rather than RESEARCH.

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