Australian Vets Warn Pet Owners Of Preservatives In Fresh Pet Meat

The Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association is warning pet owners to only buy meat for pets that is human grade.

The association said sulphur dioxide is used in fresh pet meats sold in supermarkets and pet stores. The preservative keeps meat fresh but if consumed in large amounts, it can cause vitamin B1 depletion, lethargy, rashes, weight loss, seizures, and can even lead to death.

ASAVA president Dr. Matthew Retchford, said, “Buy meat you would eat yourself or bring in a sample of the food you are buying and (vets) can test for sulphur dioxide. A lot of pet owners need to be educated. Don’t buy fresh meat unless it is part of a well structured diet.”

Dr. Retchford added, “The problem, particularly in dogs, is that the signs are very subtle. It could be anything from lethargy to altered behavior through to seizures. Cats show acute symptoms such as apparent blindness and somersaults or flipping.”

A spokesperson for the Pet Food Industry Association of Australia said, “Preservatives, when used, are added at very low levels in the product. Preservatives are available in varying forms.”


(Thanks menusux)

3 Responses to “Australian Vets Warn Pet Owners Of Preservatives In Fresh Pet Meat”

  1. Nora and Rufus says:

    So they are speaking of the raw frozen diets?

  2. menusux says:


    “President of the Australian Small Animal Veterinary Association, Dr Matthew Retchford, then goes on to recommend that “people who prefer to feed their animals with meat should purchase it from a butcher, because legislation prohibits the use of preservative in meat for human consumption that could lead to a thiamine deficiency”.

    “The Food Intolerance Network would like to add that this is true in the USA where sulphites have been banned in meat since 1959 for this reason. However, in Australia, sulphites are permitted in sausages and some processed meats. As well, surveys show that many butchers will use sulphites in mince meat unless they think they will be caught. A survey by NSW Health found 58% of samples off fresh mince for humans tested in Sydney and the Hunter region contained illegal sulpites.”

    It looks like this is something we here in the US don’t find in meat by law. You will, however, find sulphites used in other products in the US. If you check the weekly FDA Enforcement Report, at times you will see recalls for “undeclared sulphites” (sulphites in the product but it’s not noted on the label) for other food products. They can be a serious problem for anyone allergic to them.

    The website above offers information about a sulphite testing kit here:


    Since this is an Australian site, I don’t know if sulphite test strips are available in the US.

  3. Katie says:

    Itchmo and Menusux, thankyou for the information.


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