UK-based pet food manufacturers have hit back at new research claiming that bacteria and parasites often found in raw dog and cat food products can pose health dangers to pets and their owners.
Researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands have claimed that raw meat diets can cause dental and gut injuries as well as growth problems in pets – the latter a result of a deficiency in certain nutrients, a particular issue with home-prepared raw meat diets.
In response Craig Taylor, managing director of Natures Menu, said: “As the UK’s and Europe’s leading expert in raw pet food we are concerned that this report could confuse consumers. In the 35 years since we have been trading, there is no evidence available from the British Veterinary Association or our own scientific studies to suggest that pets fed on a frozen raw diet are more likely to spread bacteria to humans.
“Natures Menu works closely with the PFMA on raw guidelines in the UK to ensure effective management of such products. The raw pet food industry is also carefully controlled by the relevant authorities and submits to all testing required, as well as abiding by all relevant EU legislation. Our microbiologically tested raw foods, which are also DEFRA and veterinary approved, are completely safe and millions of pets thrive on a natural diet of quality ingredients.
“As with handling any raw meat products, we always make clear that it should be stored separately and food preparation areas, hands and utensils kept clean. We work closely with vets and nurses to educate them on raw feeding and our experienced in-house veterinary team holds regular Lunch and Learns to share the latest research, advice and give support to ensure they are fully informed to advise their patients accordingly.
“We would encourage anyone concerned by this report to speak with their vet and look at wider research for reassurance. Additionally they can visit our own website www.naturesmenu.co.uk for further guidance.
Cotswold RAW also said it was aware of the recent study claiming that raw dog and cat food may be contaminated with bacteria and parasites, and as such may pose a risk to both animal and human health.
Managing director Mark Lewis said: “The safety of our food is always our top priority and adheres to stringent food safety protocols.
“As an active member of the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA), the leading trade body for the UK pet food industry, we are involved in creating and maintaining a good practice guide within raw food suppliers.
“Our DEFRA-approved manufacturer status also requires adherence to strict regulations in the production of premium quality food, where we only use premium quality ingredients from farms and abattoirs that we have longstanding relationships with.
“In the handling of any raw meat, we would always recommend sensible hygiene to all our customers. All our fresh foods are presented in such a way that handling is minimised and, wherever possible, waste is eliminated.”
Cotswold RAW offers pet owners advice on its website www.cotswoldraw.com/preparation-and-hygiene