Posted: Aug. 8, 2012, 3:45 p.m. EDT
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) approved a resolution that discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal-source proteins to cats or dogs when pathogens have not been eliminated.
The policy, passed by the AVMA’s House of Delegates on Aug. 3, 2012, noted that cooking and pasteurization are the “traditional” methods for eliminating pathogenic organisms and that methods such as irradiation are “being developed and implemented.”
The AVMA acted because of the health risk to pets and people.
“Cats and dogs may develop food-borne illness after being fed animal-source protein contaminated with…organisms if adequate steps are not taken to eliminate pathogens,” the organization reported. “Secondary transmission of these pathogens to humans (e.g., pet owners) has also been reported.”
The stand brought an immediate response from supporters of raw diets.
“It should be noted that the AVMA opinion is just that and should not be misinterpreted as federal or state law or regulation,” said Matthew Koss, president of San Francisco-based Primal Pet Foods.
“Primal implements a stringent testing program to ensure that all of our products are pathogen free prior to being distributed for sale in the marketplace,” Koss added. “Primal Pet Foods adheres to all FDA standards for the manufacturing and marketing of pet food products, and we will continue to maintain our quality and safety standards with the goal of providing quality pet nutrition for dogs and cats.”
The policy does not forbid AVMA-member veterinarians from recommending a raw diet to pet owners, but it encourages owners to feed commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs.
The AVMA identified several animal-source proteins of concern, including beef, pork, poultry, fish and other meat from domesticated or wild animals, as well as milk and eggs.
The organization also recommended:
• Restricting cats and dogs’ access to carrion and animal carcasses.
• Disposing of uneaten food at least daily.
• Washing hands before and after feeding cats and dogs, providing treats, cleaning pet dishes and disposing of uneaten food.
The recommendation not to feed unpasteurized milk to animals does not preclude the feeding of unpasteurized same-species milk to unweaned juvenile animals, according to the AVMA.<HOME>
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