As discussed in prior postings, there are animal and public health concerns associated with the growing practice of feeding raw food to pets.

The Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) recently reported they will step up their efforts to study potential risks from such feeding practices.

CDC described an investigation they have begun to determine the prevalence of certain pathogens in samples of raw food products sold for dogs and cats, specifically Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Non O157:H7 Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli (STEC).

Scientific reports have described bacterial pathogens identified in raw pet foods:

Joffe (2002)1 reported that Salmonella was found in 80% of the samples of raw chicken dog food diets and in 30% of the stool samples from dogs fed the diets.

The FDA/Center for Veterinary Medicine/ Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network in collaboration with the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) conducted a research study and found that among the 196 samples of raw dog and cat food purchased from online stores, 15 were positive for Salmonella (7.7%), 32 were positive for L. monocytogenes (16.3%), none were positive for E. coli O157:H7 and 10 were positive for non O157:H7 STEC (CVM, 2014).

Finley (2007) reported that, 50% of dogs fed Salmonella-contaminated raw food diets shed Salmonella in their feces, while none of the control dogs fed Salmonella-negative diets shed Salmonella. In addition, dogs fed Salmonella-contaminated raw food diets shed the same Salmonella serotypes as found in their food.

There are published reports of transmission of Salmonella from household dogs or cats with salmonellosis to people that became ill.  STEC and L. monocytogenes were found among clinical isolates from dogs.

Surveillance and testing of raw pet foods from retail stores will take place between June 1, 2015 through August 31, 2015.

CDC has warned that “[p]ositive findings of Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7 in a sample of raw foods for dogs or cats product collected from a retail store may result in a Class I recall, press release, and Reportable Food Registry (RFR) submission” since such products would be considered “adulterated under section 402(a)(1) of the Act (21 U.S.C. 342(a)(1) in that it bears or contains a poisonous or deleterious substance, namely Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, or E. coli O157:H7.”