Why did we recall product?
FDA regulations do not allow the presence of salmonella in cooked pet foods (canned, kibble, freeze dried or dehydrated). Even though we produce and distribute raw meat products, we must abide by the same standards as a cooked product. It is in our best interest to comply with the FDA and “voluntarily” recall our products even though there are no reported cases of sickness in pets or humans.
Will salmonella hurt my dog?
Salmonella infections are rarely found in pets since salmonella is naturally occurring in their gut and their bodies have the tools to process it. Most pets will consume salmonella and will show no signs of harboring it and the FDA acknowledges that the consumption of raw pet food that has salmonella is a human risk issue, not a major concern for the pet.
Am I or my human family at risk if my dog consumes salmonella?
A study conducted by the Public Health Agency of Canada states “Raw food diets for companion animals is another potential pet-associated source of Salmonella organisms; however, no conﬁrmed cases of human salmonellosis have been associated with these diets.”[i] By practicing common, good hygiene and washing hands after handling raw food or your pets fecal matter you are protecting yourself from cross contamination. Some studies show that there can be salmonella in your pet’s mouth, but contact with your dog’s saliva has not shown to cause Salmonellosis in humans.
How does food become contaminated with salmonella?
Depending on the study you site, it is known that 18%-30% of raw chicken in your grocery store has Salmonella. It is the nature of raw meat products to have bacteria and since we are buying the same high quality meats that you find on store shelves it will naturally be in the food. The reason the FDA is not recalling your grocery store chicken is because raw meat for human consumption is regulated by the USDA who allows “tolerable levels” of salmonella. In early 2011 Steve’s Real Food joined the raw pet food coalition and lobbied the FDA to not include raw pet foodin the same category as cooked and suggested that we be governed by the USDA since we are a raw product and consumers will inherently treat our food the same as they do raw meat. Our efforts were fruitless.
Why Don’t You Kill Bacteria Like Other Manufactures?
Some raw pet food manufactures have implemented kill steps such as High Pressure Pasteurization. We have chosen to not use this process because it denatures the meat, killing enzymes and changing the taste, texture and color of the food.
Here is a great video from Dr. Karen Becker who talks about the benefits and negatives of HPP:
[youtube] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CqgdC5nLqrc&feature=youtu.be [/youtube]
How Can I Avoid Tainted Pet Food?
The truth is that you can’t avoid tainted pet food. There were 20 recalls last year due to Salmonella in all pet foods, most of which were kibble and canned foods or cooked treats. These are the foods that go through a heat process which is supposed to kill pathogens; however, they are still being tested positive for salmonella. In 2013 there have been 12 recalls as of 3/31/13. That means we can estimate that there will be 48 recalls by the end of the year. Keep in mind, we are not recalling becuase of reports of sick dogs or humans. If you have a dog with a compromised immune system we suggest to buy proteins that are less likely to have salmonella such as beef and stick to foods from companies you trust are buying quality raw ingredients.
Why is the Number of Recalls Growing?
In 2011 the Food Safety Modernization Act was put into action. This changed the roll of the FDA from a reactive organization whose job it was to pull product after a report of an illness was reported to a proactive organization who is allowed to pull product off shelves, test and recall if there are positive results. The amount of salmonella is not increasing in pet food, it is just the amount of testing.