How To Handle Your Pet’s Food To Keep Your Family Safe
Pet Food Safety Tips From The CDC
Our pets are not the only ones who can get sick from tainted pet food. Humans who handle the food can get sick too. There have been so many recent recalls of raw pet foods due to contamination by Salmonella, E.coli, and Listeria, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has become concerned. Just today I received an alert from the CDC about a total recall of foods from the Radagast Corp that makes RadCat Raw Food due to Listeria bacteria contamination. The CDC and the FDA have some tips to help keep people safe when they are feeding their pets.
Symptoms of a Salmonella infection can cause diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and lethargy in pets and humans. The same applies to E.coli and Listeriosis. If your pet exhibits these symptoms, you can reduce your risk of becoming ill by washing your hands after petting him. Pick up dog waste promptly, seal it in a plastic bag and dispose of it in a closed container. For cats, scoop litter daily and discard waste into a tightly sealed plastic bag.
Humans who are immunocompromised or immunosuppressed by illness, chemotherapy, or HIV, among others, would be at the greatest risk for contracting bacterial food poisoning.
To reduce your pet’s risk of contracting food poisoning, and your’s, do not feed him raw food such as raw dog foods, uncooked meat or poultry or raw eggs. Do not buy cans of pet food that are severely damaged, or bags that are torn. Minor dings and dents on can rims from shipping would usually be safe.
To reduce your risk of becoming sick, store pet food away from people food. Do not use your pet’s food bowl as a scoop for his food, use a clean, dedicated spoon, cup or scoop instead.
After feeding your pet a meal or a snack, wash your hands for 20 seconds with warm, soapy water, long enough to sing “Happy Birthday”, twice. Because their immune systems are still developing, young children are especially at risk for bacterial infections and children under five should not be allowed to handle pet food or pet treats, and should practice good hand washing techniques. The elderly have similar risk due to waning immunity.
When it is time to wash your pet’s food bowls, it is best not to do so in the kitchen sink or bathtub. If there is not an alternative, clean and disinfect the sink or tub after you have washed the bowls.
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