The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) has responded to the recent paper on a Swedish study that tested 60 products from various European countries for bacterial contamination, including a single UK manufacturer.
The association said in its statement: “While it carries no greater risk than handling fresh raw meat intended for humans, pet owners must be dedicated to good hygiene practices in the home and maintain high standards of hygiene to prevent contamination.
“The researchers highlight the importance of careful storage, handling and good hygiene practices when feeding a raw meat diet. This is vital; the risk of foodborne illness must be a serious consideration for any person choosing to handle and feed any raw product in the home.”
PFMA then warned on the potential dangers of homemade raw diets saying while they provided “more flexibility” for pets with specific needs, they were “challenging” and required research and expert guidance.
It said: “A fundamental concern, as with any homemade diet, is whether all the right nutrients are provided in the right proportions for healthy bodily function. An additional concern is ensuring ingredients from a safe and reliable source.”
PFMA also advised owners to feed raw pet food from registered manufacturers who “professionally making raw pet food meals with appropriate microbiological controls”. It said: “As with all commercially prepared pet foods, commercially prepared raw foods are subject to stringent legislation.”
The research, published in Veterinary Record, suggested raw food products could pose a risk to dogs and their owners as the offal used was not usually treated to remove traces of microbial content. Of the 60 samples tested, all contained traces of Enterobacteriaceae.