Salmonella in Cat Food
by Elisa Black-Taylor
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has just announced it will up it’s testing of pet food for contamination. According to recorded poisoning cases reported to the CDC last year, salmonella made approximately 40,000 people sick. Many of those were children.
The FDA Center for Veterinary Medicine is concerned about the levels of pathogenic and drug resistant bacteria in commercial pet food sold in the U.S.
Major pet food retailers including PetSmart, PetCo, Costco, WalMart and Target are among those who have already submitted samples for testing. Not only is the FDA trying to determine the amount of salmonella and other bacteria present in cat and dog treats, they also want to know the percentage present in those submitted by the major retailers. It’s terrifying to think how much pet food is already on store shelves waiting to be purchased for our pets.
As it turns out, the biggest danger is not to the pets themselves. It’s to those who feed and care for them. Many times this is a child in the family. The best way to avoid becoming ill is to thoroughly wash hands after handling any kind of pet food or treats. This is a good practice to follow whether you have pets are not. Make sure pet bowls are kept away from toddler’s who may decide to sample the pet food. We all know this can happen!
Salmonella is not life threatening in most cases. Symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting and usually subside in a few days. It can be more serious for those with compromised immune symptoms and require hospitalization.
With more and more derogatory reports coming in about commercial food, many are choosing to prepare their own homemade pet food. Homemade, especially using raw meat, is also subject to salmonella contamination and hand-washing practices apply here as well.
Regardless of what food you choose for your pet, be sure to keep the feeding area clean and also wash your hands well. Remember that any surfaces you clean using bleach or another approved disinfectant, the solution must sit for a ten minute minimum or you’re wasting your time. It takes this long for the disinfectant to do it’s job.
There are many homemade pet food diets available online. Just Google “homemade cat food” or “homemade dog food” and you’ll find more than enough recipes. This won’t eliminate the risk of salmonella, but you’ll be more in control of your pets diet.