I’d somehow dropped off the Worms & Germs Blog, hosted by my former hockey friend-buddy-guy Scott Weese at the University of Guelph, in the same way people lose barfblog.com.
Scott writes about recent raw pet food outbreaks that, I haven’t written much lately about recalls of raw pet food because of Salmonella contamination. In large part that’s because it’s an expected event. There’s a reason we cook food…to kill things that can make us sick. We assume that raw meat intended for our consumption is contaminated with bacteria like Campylobacter and Salmonella (because it often is). Therefore, we similarly expect raw meat for pet consumption to be frequently contaminated. Various research studies have confirmed that.
A recent recall highlights the issues and risks. The recall involves Blue Ridge Beef of Eatontown, Georgia. They are recalling “Kitten grind” (an unfortunate name, in my opinion…but that’s a different story) after consumer complaints of deaths of two kittens. One death was confirmed to have been the result of Salmonella. Salmonella and Listeria were identified in the food (although it’s not clear to me whether it was the same strain and the same lot). Regardless, it’s not too surprising. Salmonella contamination of raw meat is common and while disease in animals is fortunately rare, it can happen, sometimes with fatal consequences.
This should be a reminder that handling and feeding raw meat is a risk for acquisition of pathogens such as Salmonella. My main recommendation is ‘don’t feed raw’. That’s particularly true in households where there are high-risk people (e.g. young kids, elderly individuals, pregnant women, immunocompromised individuals) or high-risk animals (same types as for people). If someone’s determined to feed raw, it’s important to reduce the risk as much as possible.