The purpose of the study was to characterize the commercially available raw meat pet food diets in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area by (i) determining the number and types of available diets; (ii) assessing pet food stores and brand labels for the provision of precautionary statements regarding the risk of foodborne illness from raw meat; (ii) assessing the labels for Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) required content and nutrient-related information; and (iv) culturing purchased diets for the presence of Salmonella. Sixty raw meat diets were purchased, representing 11 different brands from eight different stores. Diets were readily available in the form of raw-frozen, dehydrated or freeze-dried varieties from different protein sources, such as lamb, beef, chicken or duck. All stores promoted raw meat diets; however, none provided foodborne illness warnings. Brands varied greatly in their precautionary statements; none of the diets underwent feeding trials; and nutritional adequacy substantiation was through formulation only. The first five ingredients tended to consist of meat, organ meat (by-products), vegetables, grains and ground bones. Currently, it is required that pet foods have an AAFCO nutritional adequacy statement and provide a guaranteed analysis table. Three brands did not meet these FDA requirements. Thirty-one (51.7%) of the 60 raw meat diets underwent some degree of processing including dehydration, freeze-drying or high-pressure pasteurization. Four of the 60 raw diets (7%) tested positive for Salmonella. Analysis of raw meat pet food labels indicated a lack of foodborne illness warnings. Based on these findings, we recommend that warning statements similar to those required by the United States Department of Agriculture and placed on labels of raw meat intended for human consumption be provided on the labels of raw meat pet food diets.
© 2012 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.