Researchers are warning pet owners not to feed their pets raw meat products, as they pose a risk not only to animals but to humans as well. They found that these products are often contaminated with harmful bacteria and parasites.
Raw Meat Contains Parasites
In a new study, published on Jan. 11 in the journal Veterinary Record, researchers have discovered that pet foods, including meat, organs and bones, contained parasites such as Escherichia coli, Toxoplasma, Salmonella, Brucella suis, and, Listeria monocytogenes.
The study, conducted in the Netherlands, says that these parasites when introduced into homes in the form of contaminated pet foods could make people sick.
A Growing Trend
There's a growing trend that has motivated pet owners to feed cats and dogs certain products that can be purchased in frozen form before being eaten. These kinds of foods, which are also known as raw meat-based diet or RMDB, are being marketed as safe and beneficial for animals.
Researchers, however, have criticized the trend. They say that there is no existing evidence whatsoever that points to the health benefits of eating raw meat diets for animals. Previous research, they said, suggests that raw meat diets are actually harmful.
They added that raw meat diets could cause growth problems and injuries in animals. It can cause growth problems because of a lack of certain nutrients, which can also lead to serious health problems especially among young animals.
Analyzing Raw Meat Products In The Netherlands
In the new study, researchers provided a description of how they examined samples of raw meat products from eight different brands that are being sold in the Netherlands.
After unfreezing the products, researchers tried to test whether the meat was contaminated with parasites. They found that around 23 percent of the products were infected by a type of E. coli, 80 percent were infected by an antibiotic-resistant E. coli, and, 6 percent by Toxoplasma gondii.
The scientists also discovered L. monocytogenes in over 50 percent of the products, and Salmonella in 20 percent of the samples. Additionally, they also found DNA of parasite in about 29 percent. What's more, the Salmonella species they found was also antibiotic-resistant.
According to the authors of the study, it is very important to raise awareness of the dangers linked with feeding raw meat-based diets to pets. Pet owners, they continued, "should be educated about personal hygiene and proper handling of RMBDs,"