Food Safety and Our Pets

Food safety for people and pets has become an important area of concern and confusion.

Problems with pet food can arise from toxic substances that are introduced to the ingredients before or during the manufacturing process. Bacteria can contaminate the food at any stage from the ingredient source to the end product. In addition, some bacteria will produce toxins which can cause illness. The majority of recalls of food are caused by contamination with Salmonella bacteria but some food is recalled due to detecting mold (aflatoxins) or due to concerns about labeling or ingredient errors.

Sometimes an animal may show no signs of disease but be a carrier of bacteria that may infect people. It is important to wash your hands after feeding your pets, wash bowls daily, and refrigerate canned food after 2 hours. Feed the pets away from human food and avoid handling of food by children under 5 years old or anyone who is immune compromised. The CDC (Center for Disease Control) recommends against feeding raw diets due to the danger of bacterial disease in people and pets.

Important resources: www.cdc.gov, www.epa.gov (flea products), USDA, and FDA – especially for recalls and withdrawals.

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