Article: New FDA Recommendations for Handling Pet Food to Avoid Bacteria
Prevent the spread of Salmonella and other Bacteria by new pet food handling procedures
Not everyone is made aware that pet foods and treats can be contaminated with Salmonella and many other very harmful bacteria that can make your pets sick. These various bacteria can also spread from your pets to you (pets to human contact,) a lot easier than you may expect and you can get sick simply from handling the contaminated pet food or treats.
How often can pet food make cats and dogs sick? Can your pet carry harmful bacteria like these without acting sick or displaying any symptoms and for how long would they carry that bacteria before your would know? What kind of precautions can you as a pet parent take to keep you, your poets and your family safer?
These are just a few of the questions and discussions happening through a study by the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Ultimately, we’re hoping to learn ways FDA can help minimize the incidence of food borne illness associated with pet foods and treats,” says Renate Reimschuessel, V.M.D. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), Ph.D., research biologist and head of Vet-LIRN
Stay Aware of Food Recalls
One way to know if a pet food may be a potential source of contamination is to check FDA’s often updated list of recalled products. You can get email alerts as soon as new product alerts are announced, so many they don't make it on your local or national news any more.
Also below is a newly updated list or recommendations you can take to avoid spreading possible bacteria in the event that pet foods and treats you have at home may be contaminated before you are aware of an alerted of an FDA recall.
- Avoid buying pet food in dented cans or with damaged packaging, saving a few pennies or buying the last can isn't worth the risk.
- Feed your pets in a location that can be easily cleaned and sanitized, use plastic matts that are easy to wash, especially if you feed them on carpet floors.
- Wash counter tops, tables, or any surfaces that can be compromised when pet foods can come into contact with food, dishes, even pet water bowls after eating..
- Earmark some utensils for use for only pet foods (both wet and dry foods)
- Wash hands carefully after handling pet foods, before and after serving pets.
- Keep dry pet foods in a cool, dry place and sealed in a container to prevent spoilage. Any air tight bag that you can compress and remove air after each use will keep food fresher.
- No matter how you store your pet food, keep the original packaging which contains data such as the manufacturer’s contact information, lot code, and UPC number. These facts can be useful if a pet food is a suspected source of illness and an investigation is underway.
- See emergency contact info below should your pet become ill after eating contaminated food.
This article appears on FDA’s Consumer Updates page , which features the latest on all FDA-regulated products.
For poison-related emergencies, call your regular Vet, 24 hour Local Emergency Vet or the Animal Poison Control Center at 888-426-4435.
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