Raw pet food has, unfairly, taken some significant hits over the years. One was when the Delta Society banned volunteers that fed their pets raw meat from participating in activities. As if raw feeders haven’t had enough struggles, there might be a new one on the horizon.
My friend and animal/pet food guru Dr. Gary Pusillo shared some startling information with me. The word is, insurance companies have raw pet food companies on their radar. Not because of the risk to pets, because of the risk to humans who purchase and handle the raw pet food.
Dr. Gary tells me that “some insurance companies will be reluctant to continue to provide coverage” for raw pet food companies.
As lawsuits continue for human illnesses related to contaminated foods, insurance companies (representing food manufacturers) are looking closer at all the risks. Now that the USDA has added zero tolerance policy for six additional E. coli bacteria, raw pet food manufacturing has come onto the insurance radar. From the USDA press release dated September 13, 2011 “As a result of today’s action, if the E. coli serogroups O26, O103, O45, O111, O121 and O145 are found in raw ground beef or its precursors, those products will be prohibited from entering commerce. Like E.coli O157:H7, these serogroups can cause severe illness and even death, and young children and the elderly are at highest risk. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies these particular serogroups of non-O157:H7 Shiga-toxin producing E.coli, or non-O157 STEC, as those responsible for the greatest numbers of non-O157 STEC illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths in the United States.”
The new testing program will begin March 2012.
Dr. Gary…“If raw pet food manufacturers and distributors, do not have the six nSTECs on their radar screen, they should be put there immediately.
The time to address a potential health threat is before it becomes a serious health problem.
I cannot predict how many health problems can be prevented by addressing the nSTECs in commercial raw pet food, but I know that if a serious problem results from a commercial raw diet, the damage will be immediate across the pet food industry.
I am not condemning raw diets, but I am warning raw diet producers that their raw diets are only as good as their ingredients, formulation, and professional accountability to both human and animal health; it will only take one irresponsible raw diet manufacturer to cause irreversible harm to reputations and to human and animal health.”
Thank you Dr. Gary. There is no one I know that has such true concern for animal health and so much knowledge of animal feed/food and safety. You are a gem!
Risks for human health has not been much of a concern for pet food manufacturers in the past (can you imagine the risk some pet foods would be if they weren’t cooked to death?); but now it is. The concern I have is the damage one careless raw pet food manufacturer can cause to the entire raw food industry and it’s faithful feeders.
Oh, Dr. Gary also warns that the meat rejected by the additional E. coli testing will more than likely end up in kibble or canned pet food. No, the pet food label won’t warn you “With E. coli bacteria”.