Is your pet’s meals making you sick? Study finds many do not know the danger.

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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Each yr, greater than 50 million Americans develop gastrointestinal points that make them query the protection of their most up-to-date meals. It’s totally doable that their misery could possibly be brought on not by the meals they’ve eaten, however the meals served to their furry pals.

A research led by Purdue University’s Yaohua “Betty” Feng, an assistant professor of meals science, confirmed that many Americans don’t wash their fingers after feeding or fiddling with their cats and canine and aren’t conscious of the danger of contracting a foodborne sickness from these actions.

“Almost all canine and cat house owners work together with their pets carefully like cuddling, sleeping with them, kissing them, however after these interactions fewer than one-third of them wash their fingers with cleaning soap,” stated Feng, whose findings have been revealed within the Journal of Food Protection. “They don’t actually think about that they might get sick or {that a} foodborne pathogen could possibly be transferred from their pet to themselves.”

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that pathogens comparable to E. coli and salmonella sicken almost 48 million folks, hospitalize 128,000 and kill round 3,000 yearly. There isn’t any information on how lots of these come from pet meals, however there have been greater than a dozen pet meals recollects in 2020 because of the presence of a foodborne pathogen. Last yr greater than 150 folks have been sickened by salmonella in pig ear canine treats.

“Some canine and cats should not have signs, even in the event that they have been contaminated with foodborne pathogens like salmonella. There’s potential for them to share these pathogens with their house owners when interacting with them,” Feng stated.

According to the survey of greater than 1,000 cat and canine house owners within the United States:

  • 93 p.c of pet house owners cuddle their pets, 70 p.c enable the pet to lick them, 63 p.c sleep with their pets, and 61 p.c kiss their pets.
  • Only 31 p.c wash their fingers after fiddling with their pets, and 42 p.c don’t wash their fingers after feeding their pets.
  • 8 p.c reported consuming pet meals and treats themselves. 

The research confirmed that 78 p.c of individuals weren’t conscious of current pet meals recollects or outbreaks related to foodborne pathogens in these meals. One-quarter of individuals don’t think about dry pet meals and treats as potential sources of those pathogens.

Raw meat or uncooked animal product diets are rising in prevalence for supposed well being advantages. The research confirmed that about 25% of respondents feed their pets uncooked meals, however about half of these folks didn’t report washing their fingers after these feedings and allowed their pets to lick them.

Feng stated the outcomes counsel that pet house owners want extra training concerning the security of pet meals and correct dealing with of meals and pets to stop contracting an sickness. She plans to develop supplies that may tackle these points.

Some suggestions to maintain pet house owners from getting foodborne sickness embody:

  • Wash fingers with cleaning soap and water after getting ready meals for pets, petting or fiddling with pets, and earlier than getting ready meals for folks.
  • Avoid feeding pets uncooked meat.
  • Handle and retailer pet meals fastidiously to keep away from cross-contamination. 
  • Keep up with pet meals recollects and maintain information of pet meals lot numbers and different data for potential monitoring.

“We’re not saying you shouldn’t hug your canine, however you need to know the dangers and the way to shield your self towards the potential for contracting an sickness,” Feng stated. “Learning the danger to your pet will make you an knowledgeable pet proprietor and keep away from among the pitfalls that might make you or your pet sick.” 

Writer: Brian Wallheimer; 765-532-0233; bwallhei@purdue.edu

Source: Yaohua “Betty” Feng; 765-494-0331; yhfeng@purdue.edu

ABSTRACT

Risk of Foodborne Illness from Pet Food: Assessing Pet Owners’ Knowledge, Behavior, and Risk Perception

Merlyn Thomas; Yaohua Feng

doi.org/10.4315/JFP-20-108

Pet meals has been recognized as a supply of pathogenic micro organism, together with Salmonella and Escherichia coli. A current outbreak linked to Salmonella -contaminated pet treats contaminated over 150 folks within the United States. The mechanism by which contaminated pet meals results in human sickness has not been explicated. Pet house owners’ meals security data and their pet meals dealing with practices haven’t been reported. This research evaluated pet house owners’ meals security data and pet-food dealing with practices by a web based shopper survey. The survey consists of 62 questions and assesses (1) house owners’ meals security data and pet-food dealing with practices; (2) house owners’ interplay with pets; (3) house owners’ danger notion associated to their very own well being, their youngsters’s well being, and their pets’ well being. The survey was pilot-tested amongst 59 pet house owners earlier than distribution to a nationwide shopper panel, managed by Qualtrics XM. All members (n=1,040) have been canine and/or cat house owners within the United States. Almost all pet house owners interacted with their pets (93%) and most cuddled, allowed their pets to lick them, and slept with their pets. Less than one-third of pet house owners washed their fingers with cleaning soap after interacting with their pets. Over half (58%) the house owners reported washing their fingers after feeding their pets. Most pet house owners fed their pets dry pet meals and dry pet treats. Some fed their pets uncooked meat or uncooked animal product (RAP) diets as a result of they believed these diets to be helpful to their pet’s general well being. Many house owners (78%) have been unaware of pet meals recollects or outbreaks related to foodborne pathogens. Less than 25% thought-about dry pet meals and treats as a possible supply of foodborne pathogens. The findings of this research indicated the necessity for shopper training about pet meals dealing with. The information collected can help in growing extra correct danger evaluation fashions and shopper training associated to pet meals dealing with.

Agricultural Communications: 765-494-8415;

Maureen Manier, Department Head, mmanier@purdue.edu  

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