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Proven! Bacteria is not an issue in raw pet food.

There has, over the years, been a fair amount of misunderstanding about the potential possibility of bacteria in a raw pet food.Many guardians and some vets still mention it, you may very well be asking the question. After all you care for your dog, to ask is to question and to question is, we hope, […]

There has, over the years, been a fair amount of misunderstanding about the potential possibility of bacteria in a raw pet food.
Many guardians and some vets still mention it, you may very well be asking the question. After all you care for your dog, to ask is to question and to question is, we hope, to find the correct information.
Studies, highlighted more in-depth below, are proving time and time again that bacteria isn’t as much of an issue in raw pet food as it has been thought.
To understand, more about the whole topic here are also a few pointers to know.

One is that all, good, raw pet food brands are complaint to a Defra, Animal Plant Health Licence, and thus have a zero tolerance to adhere to on bacteria such as Salmonella.

Human intended meats and minces are sold from a fridge, not a freezer, so they will always have a higher bacterial loads than raw pet food as sold.
How often do you handle different options of steak on the shelf before choosing yours? Unpack your meat after shopping without washing hands afterwards?
Our bet is almost every vet concerned about raw pet food does that!

Raw pet food, from a good supplier such as Naked Dog, is created still frozen, and then stored at 18c in order to ensure any possible bacteria remain utterly inert and thus is only likely to ‘wake up’ and be active again upon guardian defrosting.
Guardians can also follow the same hygiene as when handling their own meats prior to cooking, and thus this is not an issue. Washing hands, utensils and chopping boards, bowl or plates.

Dogs evolved as scavengers, and have thus developed the potential strong stomach acid. This is kept strong when they are fed fresh food too as the fresh food requires more movement of the stomach walls, leading to greater stomach acid production. In contrast processed food simply disintegrates and so doesn’t create the same level of protective acidity.
Us humans would never cope with the level of bacteria, or substances like bone, that a dog with strong stomach acid can do. We are made differently.

Finally, in recent years there have been substantial, large recalls on dry pets foods for Salmonella.
Weight for weight, and even including the few years only raw pet food was tested, more dry dog food has shown to hold Salmonella than raw pet food*.
Given that we very rarely wash hands or utensils in the same way following the dry food feeding, this is likely to be more of an issue. At least is an issue we absolutely should be considering too!

So what do the studies show?
In 2019 and as recent as 2021, two pivotal studies recently showed bacteria not to be an issue in raw pet food. They are:
2019 Infection through raw pet food is Rare
2021 Suspected transmission of Food Bourne pathogens is LOW

*italics below is text directly from the study.

2019’s study published in the Veterinary Record highlighted that 99.6% of households across europe did not experience any pathogen transmission. Of the 16,475 households in the survey only 39 ( yes just thirty nine) reported possible transmissions.
In four of the 39 households with infections, those sick were children between two and six years of age, while in two houses those ill were immunocompromised people with cancer and Crohn’s disease.
A positive correlation with infection was found in relation to children between two and six years old living in the household, even though most of the infected individuals (90 percent) were adults.
“This raises the question of whether the pathogens could have been transmitted by children from outdoors, daycare centers or other public spaces, even if pet food had been assumed to be the source of infection,” said said researcher Johanna Anturaniemi from the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

So we don’t know if the .04% of reported transmissions were definitely from the raw pet food.

The 2021 worldwide study was published in the Frontiers of Veterinary Medicine Journal, included 5’611 households from 82 different countries, all feeding minimally processed (fresh and raw food )to pets. 77% of the households fed solely that type of food and yet with “no confirmed cases of pathogen transmission or infection by laboratory testing.”

11 households (of the 5’611) were classified as having: experienced probable transmission, and
20 households were classified as having possible transmission from the fresh pet food

The study concluded : “Based on the results of this survey, confirmed pathogen transmission from MP diets to humans appears to be rare. We conclude that potential or probable cases of pathogen transmission is likely dependent upon hygiene and food safety measures, and more education surrounding food safety should reduce risk.”
“Both the veterinary and human medical communities are in need of clear directives and protocols for identifying potential pathogen cases in relation to public and animal health regardless of diet type.”

The PFMA (Pet Food Manufacturers Association) offer a terrific raw pet food hygiene poster, please do also follow this guidance of you feed dry food to your pets.

Find it here:

By Caroline Griffith

*Recall stats as discussed by Dr Conor Brady, from collaborated recall stats, also highlighted in his book Feeding Dogs.

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