There’s a subset of pet guardians who feverishly believe raw food is the only food for dogs and cats and other pets because that’s all that was available in the wild.
As Hobbes noted in 1651, nature is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency announced last week that Carnivora Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs and Cats may be contaminated with Escherichia coli O157 (E. coli) and there is risk of cross contamination and illness after handling.
Consumers should immediately stop using any of the affected pet food products and contact the retailer where they purchased the affected product for a full refund or exchange.
As of June 12, 2020, the company has been made aware of 4 reports of illnesses in Canada – in people.
Consumers are advised to always wash hands, surfaces and utensils thoroughly with soap and water after feeding, handling or cleaning up after pets. Clean surfaces that come into contact with pet food or ill pets.
One of daughter Sorenne’s daily tasks is to give stress-reducing wet food to our neurotic cat, and she absolutely knows to wash her hands after handling the food.
Scott Weese over at the Worms and Germs blog writes that while people were presumably not eating the pet food (I wouldn’t presume that), there is the potential for cross-contamination of human food when handling raw pet food, as well as potential for exposure to pathogens through things like contact with pet food bowls and pet feces.
The main concern with raw pet food tends to be Salmonella; however, E. coli O157 is another significant concern because of the potential severity of disease. A death was reported in a UK a couple years ago from exposure to E. coli O157 from contaminated pet food.
While most dogs and cats that eat raw diets are fine, and most owners don’t get sick, it’s clear that feeding raw diet or raw animal-based treats (e.g. pig ears) is associated with risks to the pet and any human contacts. I’d rather people not feed raw diets to their pets, particularly when the pet or household members are very young, elderly, pregnant or have compromised immune systems. If none of those risk factors are present and someone wants to feed a raw diet, I’d still rather they didn’t, but there are some things that can reduce the risks, as outlined on the Worms & Germs infosheet on raw diets available on our Resources – Pets page.
Oh, and don’t go to the company’s website for accurate information about risk and risk mitigation. They bury some good prevention recommendations in a pile of often out-of-context dialogue to try to deflect any concerns and the typical raw diet misinformation. Some other raw pet food companies are up front about the risks and prevention measures – I have a lot more confidence in companies like that.
Good on ya, Dr. Weese.