FDA Vets Focused on Salmonella Risk Before Recall

Tiger Eating Raw MeatITCHMO EXCLUSIVE: In October of 2006, a month before the tainted wheat gluten got to Menu Foods, the FDA’s veterinarians launched a nationwide, year-long program to test hundreds of samples to reduce the number of people who are getting sick from handling pet foods that contain salmonella or e.coli.

It is in fact, extremely rare for pets to be sicked by salmonella.

We understand the FDA’s focus on human food safety, but if the FDA’s vets have the same focus, who is looking out for out pets?

Isn’t there a bigger problem with salmonella and e.coli than cross contamination with pet food? The FDA’s report says (emphasis ours):

There are numerous reports of human salmonellosis or E. coli O157:H7 infections in the United States (US) in which the illnesses were linked to human contact with various pets at homes, pet stores, petting zoos, zoos, fairs, and festivals. Pets implicated in these cases or outbreaks include chicks, ducklings, rabbits, livestock… and reptiles…

In most of these reports, the authors did not determine if feeds fed to the animals were implicated in the outbreaks/cases or played a role in the illnesses.

Wait, we don’t even know if this is really a problem?

What if the resource-strapped veterinary team in the FDA focused on the testing and quality procedures of the pet food industry? Instead of focusing on salmonella — which we’re more far likely to get from handling or under-cooking meat — in cat and dog food. How many people have you heard about get sick from touching pet food versus eating bad meat?

We will pass this info to Senator Durbin in the hopes that his hearing will reveal the FDA’s veterinary priorities.

More on recalled foods due to salmonella, and one recalled maker’s response after the jump.


So far, four pet food recalls have been issued due to salmonella:

The maker of Wild Kitty wrote to us to say:

I will be the first raw food manufacturer to produce an organically sterilized, pathogen free, cat food. It will be out by May 1. I take feline nutrition and health very seriously, and I spare no expense in making my food (Do you know how much shucked oysters and clams cost?). I make my food because it helps cats, and I just love cats. It breaks my heart that I have been kind of smeared with Menu Foods’ negligence.

3 Responses to “FDA Vets Focused on Salmonella Risk Before Recall”

  1. Lynette says:

    No kidding. (said sarcastically)

    The FDA has been pretty openly against raw pet food - basically stating that they can’t prohibit raw pet food, but certainly aren’t in favor of it.
    http://www.fda.gov/cvm/Guidance/Guide122.pdf

    Quote: “FDA does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home and/or used to feed domestic pets. Objective data derived specifically from commercial raw meat pet foods are sparse for quantifying the magnitude of risk to human and animal health from such products. Therefore, CVM also reviewed data on the risks to humans, both from foodborne pathogens in general and from food-borne pathogens relating to raw foods for humans.
    These data are relevant because people are exposed to food borne pathogens in animal feed when they come in contact with that feed, and animals, in general, are affected by pathogens in the same manner as people. Based on these data, CVM believes the risk to public health from
    feeding raw meat products to animals warrants taking the precautionary measures described in this guidance.”

    As far as I know, there has been ONE documented case of a cat getting sick from salmonella - an unneutered 15-year-old male owned by a hoarder and fed tainted meat. In my opinion, the FDA is targeting an industry (raw pet food) where FEW large companies are involved - perhaps because those same large companies feel threatened by this budding market? Small pet food companies sure make an easy target.

    Too bad the FDA can’t, however, find time to visit plants where a huge % of the pet food supply is manufactured, huh?

  2. Judy says:

    I have been feeding raw to both cats and dogs for probably 40 years, with nothing but good results.
    When I brought my baby Chihuahua home, that’s what she got too.
    It is total hysteria the concern for raw meat. The source should be as clean as possible, and then if you freeze it solid, there is very little chance of any problems. Carnivores are totally equipped to handle any germs that come along with it, because of the PH in the gut and the short digestive tract.
    There have been way more recalls and deaths due to manufactured foods, along with conditions that come from years of eating a totally dead diet devoid of meat in some of them.
    Just the fact that there are “veterinary diets” prove that the food in the first place caused the problem, or there would be no need for a “dietary” correction.

    You take the same precautions in the kitchen that you do in fixing the meat you have for supper.
    Most people, if they are not fanatical about it, become resistant to this stuff after awhile.
    All that is necessary, is washing stuff with plain soap and water, and it doesn’t have to be bacterial soap either. Just normal precautions.

  3. Dave says:

    Vets (and the FDA) are concerned that if a dog eats raw, they will transfer salmonella to a person if they lick your face. Nothing however is ever mentioned by a vet that dogs put old sticks and balls in their mouth, drink muddy water, drink out of the toilet, eat goose and rabbit poop, some eat their own or other dogs poops and they lick their bums…..soon we will have to stop our dogs from doing these things too.

    As Judy indicated, you just have to handle any raw product for a pet the same way you for yourself. Our dogs are a living being with a heart, lungs, intestines, etc. and they deserve living foods. No animal in a zoo is fed a kibble or highly processed cooked food, filled with preservatives. Dogs should not eat high percentages of grains, rice or corn yet pet food companies use these products because it is cheap…..amazing that the recall is about using cheap products…..I wonder what the expensive stuff is made of.

    I can’t control everything in this world but I can control what my dogs eat. They have eaten raw for 8 years and are healthy living beings. If raw feeding was so bad, there would be 1,000’s of peope who have tried it and would be posting all kind of negative comments……where are those negative raw feeding people. The only comments however made are those trying to make money from commercial pet food companies, government agencies who think they know everything or vets who think they are in the pet food business. Dave


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