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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Human Salmonella From Pet Foods

A research paper has been published which links 79 cases of Salmonella infection in people to pet foods. Scary stuff. I won't get into the boring details of the report (the abstract can be found at http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/peds.2009-3273v1), but here are some tips on how this could happen, and how to avoid possible infection at your house.

Because pet foods contain animal-origin products, there is a risk of contamination with Salmonella or some other bacterial organism. In most cases, pet foods and treats are cooked to temperatures which kill these organisms. However, if a contaminated additive (flavoring, etc...) is added after cooking, the food will be contaminated. Also, the food could come in contact with some other contaminated material after cooking. There are many safeguards in place to prevent contamination, but as we have seen, mistakes and accidents do sometimes occur.

Here are some steps you should take to reduce the risk of a Salmonella infection from pet food:
1.Wash your hands after handling pet food or pet treats (including rawhide chews).
2.Do not allow small children, immunocompromised persons (HIV-pos, on dialysis, on chemotherapy, etc...), or very old/infirmed persons handle pet food or treats.
3.Keep pet food and treats away from human food.
4.Do not use the same places or utensils for preparing pet food and human food.
5.Do not let pets onto surfaces where food is prepared.
6.Do not feed your pets in the kitchen or dining areas of your home.
7.Do not feed your pets raw meat diets.

Bon apetit!

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