Salmonella from Pet Food- How to Avoid Infection
It seems that every week a new pet food recall is reported due to suspected contamination. Even beyond the large scale pet food recall in 2007 when pet food was recalled due to the presence of melamine, pet food recalls have occurred due to contamination with bacteria like E. coli or Salmonella, or aflatoxins (fungal toxins). In just the month of May 2011, four different pet food companies recalled pig ears due to concerns of salmonella contamination.
All of these recalls may leave pet owners wondering what they should do to. Pet owners should be vigilant since contaminated pet food not only poses a risk to the pet in the home, but to the humans that handle the food as well. A recent report was published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association discussing how pet owners can decrease risk of illness for Salmonella contaminated pet products. Some of the tips from that report are highlighted below:
- Avoid feeding raw pet foods.
- Buy individual packaged pig ears, avoid bulk bins.
- Inspect package for damage- don’t use if package is damaged or if food has bad odor/appearance that doesn’t seem normal.
- Store pet treats and foods according to label recommendations-usually a cool, dry place under 80 degrees.
- Save original packing material- keep label and date codes for reference.
- Always wash hands after handling pet food items.
- Wash bowls and scoops regularly.
- To prevent human cross-contamination, prepare and feed pets in a room other than kitchen and bathroom.
- Discourage at risk individuals from handling pet food and treats – children under 5 years, elderly, or immune compromised individuals.