Dangers of role reversal

Proven by Judge Reinhold and Fred Savage, switching roles (whether brought on by a magic skull, or a bottle of red wine on an empty stomach) can be dangerously unfunny.

Here’s what I’m talking about: Humans need stay away from pet food and pets need to stay away from human food. 

UK veterinary charity PDSA, says that feeding pets food destined for human plates is a factor in the increased problem of pet obesity.

The Globe and Mail reports that a 13-year-old feline, Tinks, who lives in Gillingham in southeast England, weighs in at 9.8 kilograms (21.6 pounds), which makes him around 95 per cent overweight.

It also makes him one of Britain’s most obese pets, eight of which are to embark on a 100-day diet and fitness regime in a kind of animal version of the TV show The Biggest Loser. The winner will be crowned this year’s feline or canine weight-loss champion.

Deryck Wilson, Spokesperson from the UK veterinary charity PDSA, says the competition – now in its fourth year – has produced an increase in people bringing their pets to the PDSA’s weight clinics.

"More and more people are becoming aware that by feeding scraps to their pets and giving them chocolates – although they’re doing it as an expression of their affection towards their pet – in reality they’re … killing with kindness."

In somewhat related news, the newest food safety infosheet focuses on Salmonella-contaminated dry pet food which has led to at least 79 illnesses, in humans, since 2006. How does this happen? Google kids and pet food and you’ll see a few examples on blogs (like here and here).

CDC also suggests that there is a cross-contamination potential, and that hands need to be washed after handling dry pet food.  As Randy Phebus says: Assume all dry pet foods and treats are potentially contaminated.

You can download the food safety infosheet here.

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About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.