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Study: Some Raw Diet Products Contain Bacteria and Parasites

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Healthier diets and activities for pets are trending, and pet owners are looking to make sure their pets are fed with what their bodies most need.

Related: The Benefits Of A Raw Food Diet For Cats

Many pet owners are fond of raw meat diets, and find considerable health gains for their pets when looking at more ‘natural’ diets for their furry family members.

But there’s news out of the Netherlands that suggests pet owners who offer raw diets to their pets be aware of specific bacteria that may be present in those diets, and may present danger to both their pets and themselves.

The researchers looked at 35 frozen, commercial raw meat products found in the Netherlands and fairly popular among pet owners.  They analyzed the products and found E. coli bacteria in eight products, listeria in 15 products and salmonella in seven products.

Those bacteria are well-known for causing cases of illness and food-poisoning in humans and pets, and researchers suggest that they fear pets who are on raw meat diets may become infected with antibiotic-resistant bacteria, in greater numbers than those who are fed conventional diets. Lead researcher Paul Overgaauw is with Utrecht University and said that this could cause a risk to the general health of animals and humans.

The researchers also found that eight products had Sarcocystes parasites and two products had Toxoplasma gondii parasites. The Sarcocystes parasites found don’t affect people, but most certainly can pose a risk to farm animals. Toxoplasma gondii however can cause an issue in humans.

Related: What Are the 6 Most Common Illnesses in Dogs?

The researchers suggst those pet owners who feed their pets raw diets, or are considering raw diets be sure to handle the products properly, and to make sure that proper hygiene is used when feeding their pets. They also believe that all raw food products have handling instructions and warnings on the labels to best protect humans and their pets.


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