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Raw meat-based diet (BARF) in dogs and cats nutrition

  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Zagreb, Croatia
  • Faculty of Veterinary Medicine University of Zagreb Croatia


Diet based on raw meat or more popularly called BARF (Biologically Appropriate Raw Food) is defined as pet food diet that is composed of thermally untreated animal products that are either derived from wild or domestic animals and is used as a pet food diet for pets in households. Raw meat-based diet can be divided into two basic categories: commercially available finished products and diet prepared by pet owner (called homemade BARF). Homemade diets are based on recipes that are enabling the owner to self prepare the diet. Nevertheless, the recepies used do not have to be in coordinance with official recommendations that could potentially result in the development of pathologies as a result of nutrient imbalances. The lack of good quality studies has resulted in a general discussion on the subject of the potential risks and benefits that arise from this feeding practice. Studies have determined higher digestibility and excellent palatability of BARF diets. Nevertheless, studies that would prove beneficial effects of BARF diet on health or as a diet of choice for certain pathologies are lacking. The proponents of BARF diets base their recommendation on studies conducted on a small sample over a short period of time, or on popular publications that have not undergone peer review. On the other hand, research based on evaluation of infectious disease risks when feeding a BARF diet, is of the better quantity and quality. Namely, microbiological safety of BARF diets is a crucial segment that manufacturers are obligated to control with the additional control of all other production procedures (cold chain in all phases of production and storage) to minimize the contamination with zoonotic pathogens.
Original scientific paper
1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics in Animals, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia
2Clinics of Obstetrics and Reproduction, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia
3Veterinary Station Croatia
*Corresponding author-mail: 
Diet based on raw meat or more popularly called BARF (Biologically Appropriate
Raw Food) is defined as pet food diet that is composed of thermally untreated animal products that
is used as a pet food diet for pets in households.
Raw meat-based diet finished pro-
ducts and diet prepared by pet owner (called homemade BARF). Homemade diets are based on
recipes that are enabling the owner to self prepare the diet. 
       s that could potentially result in the
 The lack of good quality studies has
resulted in a general discussion on the subject of the potential risks and benefits that arise from this
feeding prac   
of choice for certain pathologies are lacking. The proponents of BARF diets base their
 
of infectious disease risks when feeding a BARF diet, is of the better quantity and quality. Namely,
microbiological safety of BARF diets is a crucial segment that manufacturers are obligated to control
with the additional control of all other production procedures (cold chain in all phases of production
and storage) to minimize the contamination with zoonotic pathogens.
: BARF, pets, nutrition, guidelines
In recent years, the trend of feeding dogs and
cats with BARF (Biologicaly appropriate raw
food) diet has become increasingly popular, be-
diet. It is estimated that the number of pet own-
ers who feed their dogs wholly or partly on raw
meet diet in some European countries reaches up
to 51 % (Corbee et al., 2013). Products contain-
ing animal by-products and not subjected to heat
       
called chews (), raw
meat based homemade diets (so called
homemade BARF) and commercial BARF
preparations that include muscle tissue, internal
organs and bones and sometimes unpasteurized
dairy products and eggs (Freeman et al., 2013).
Additionally, 
       
cluded in BARF diet. Pet owners who choose the
BARF feeding regimen often do so because they
consider it to be a natural product without added
  ilizers and without added
   
the pet (Morgan et al., 2017).  
   
choice to feed a BARF diet is often based in the
 
facturer (Freeman et al., 2013, Morgan et al.,
2017).    
sion is the result of the lack of research that
would answer the 
of potential risk or, on the other hand, confirm
indication of its use in diseased animals. Re-
search that indicates on public health risks when
feeding pets with a raw diet is more numerous,
emphasizing the need for responsible 
as a result of using a raw diet in householders.
The consequence of the inconsistency in atti-
tudes related to benefits and risks of pet feeding
with raw diets is a larger amount of unclear and
The most widespread concept of raw meat-
based diet is BARF (Bones and Raw Food) diet
concept, whose acronym is now more commonly
translated as Biologically Appropriate Raw
Food. BARF diet for dogs is based on a preda-
tor-prey feeding pattern, whereby only non-heat-
treated foods that are naturally in the predator i.e.
wolf feeding regime are included in the diet
(Stahler et al., 2006). The diet is formulated to
reflect the composition of the prey caught and is
usually composed of muscle, internal organs,
cartilage, bones and a source of fiber in the forms
 or fruits. Usually the ratio of indi-
of 80% of muscles, 10% bones, 5%  and 5%
other secretory organs. Through the BARF con-
cept of diet, dogs are, like cats, included as ob-
     roponents of
BARF diet, the carbohydrate component in the
diet is considered undesirable and harmful
(Billinghurst, 2003).
Raw meat-based diets are defined as pet food
containing thermally untreated products of either
domestic or wild animals’ origin (Freeman et al.,
2013).     
into two basic categories: commercially prep-
ared and prepared by pet owner (so called
homemade). Diets made at home are based on
recipes and allow the owner to prepare them by
himself  
be in coordinance with official recomm-
endations related to prescribed nutrient intake
recommendations (Streiff et al., 2002, Dillitzer
et al., 2011). Nutritionally unbalanced diets can
cal states caused by feeding disturbances (Taylor
et al. 2009, Heinze et al., 2012, Larsen et al.,
2012, Stockman et al., 2013).
Commercial frozen BARF diets, which are
usually declared as balanced and complete pet
diets, are most commonly chosen by pet owners
(NRC, 2006). Balanced formulations that are de-
clared as complete diets for all ages and breeds,
must be balanced and in accordance with the nu-
trient requirements of large and giant dog breeds
(Hazewinkel et
al., 1991, FEDIAF, 2018). This will lead to the
addition of calcium and phosphorous, usually in-
cluded in the form of ground bones in the ratio
of 1.1-1.6
macro-minerals and trace elements at higher
concentrations than prescribed for adult dog di-
ets (FEDIAF, 2018). The composition of com-
   
to manufacturer`s basic recipe, used raw mate-
rial and production process (Freeman et al.,
2013). Commercially prepared BARF diets for
        
other hand, formulations of the same concept for
products, so cat owners who want to feed cats
with BARF diet    
of crude protein in raw diet compared to heat
a BARF diet compared to foods undergoing a
     
(Crissey et al., 1997, Vester et al., 2010, Kerr et
al., 2012). Digestibility is influenced by many
factors that are present in the pet food production
process: composition, processing temperature
trusion. Namely, by thermal treatment, as well as
     
pressure), proteins and amino acids undergo
structural changes that affect the digestibility of
or may result in Maillard reaction, which will re-
sult in a reaction of free amino groups and the
carbonyl compound (Friedman, 1996, Hendriks
et al., 1999, Rutherfurd et al., 2007). Better di-
gestibility of BARF formulations will result in
less feces production (Vester et al., 2010).
immune response, the coat and skin health, re-
duction of dental plaque and tartar, 
ity and general condition of animal (Morgan et
al., 2017). BARF diet feeding has not been mon-
itored through long-term scientific research, so
should be considered with caution (Schlesinger
and Joffe, 2011).  
digestibility and simple composition of BARF
diet, often with only one source of protein, as a
potential allergen, can result in a good therapeu-
tic response due to the skin or gastrointestinal
manifestation of the 
is not allergic to the protein from the composi-
tion ( et al., 2017). The BARF feeding
concept is based in the incorporation of raw
bones into the diet and these are often added in
the form of ground bones to commercial prepa-
rations. Feeding dogs and cats with thermally
untreated whole bones cannot be considered
completely risk free, since they can be a poten-
tially dangerous due to constipation and perfora-
as well as teeth and
injuries (Thompson et al., 2012).
When making a BARF diet, it is crucial that no
hazardous raw materials, such as thyroid tissue,
are included in the composition, if the manufac-
turer uses muscle of head and neck. Eating a
BARF diet with thyroid tissue can result in the
    
(Kohler et al., 2012).
The research conducted so far has identified
a significant risk of microbial malfunction in
commercial and home prepared BARF diets
(Lejeune and Hancock 2001, Joffe and
Schlesinger, 2002, Weese et al., 2005). How-
        
source of pathogen with zoonotic potential and
thus be a risk for human infection ( et
al., 2010, Nemser et al., 2014). Particularly dan-
gerous is the claim, often promoted by BARF
diet proponents, that pathogenic in raw meat are
not a risk to pets, dogs and cats, since their di-
    
Namely, numerous studies confirming the clini-
ported in dogs that were fed with raw meat
(Chengappa et al., 1993,  et al., 2003,
Morley et al., 2006, Leonard et al., 2011). As
with humans, the transmission and manifestation
of the clinical signs will be influenced by many
factors including breeding of animals in group,
age and immune status of animal (Hellgren et al.,
2019). Additionally, the incidence of Salmonella
spp. is associated with meat type which is signif-
icantly higher in chicken meat than beef and
pork meat (Zhao et al., 2002, Bohaychuk et al.,
2006, Mollenkopf et al., 2011, Cook et al.,
2012). BSalmonella spp.,
pathogens that are important in controlling the
microbiological safety of BARS rations are:
Escherichia coli O157:H7, Clostridium spp.,
Campylobacter jejuni and Listeria spp.
(Freeman and Michel, 2001, Weese et al., 2005,
Strohmeyer et al, 2006, Bohaychuk et al., 2006,
Lenz et al., 2009). Parasite contamination in
meat and fish can be controlled by the freezing
process. The time and temperature at which the
procedure can be performed depends on the type
of parasite and of the meat used in the formula-
tions (Kotula et al, 1991, Huss et al., 2000). Due
to the risk of microbial contamination of animal
by-products, producers of BARF diet may use
high hydrostatic pressure treatment in the pro-
duction process, which may reduce, although not
completely, the number of pathogens in meat
(Aymerich et al., 2008, Baert et al., 2009).
Public health risk, as a result of a BARF diet
use, is present for owners and other household
   
mission of raw meat pathogenic microorganisms
on daily basis (Lejeune and Hancock, 2001). En-
host organism whereby the pet may be an
asymptomatic carriers (Finley et al., 2006). It is
of particular importance for immunocompro-
mised persons, children and the elderly, as well
as pregnant women  pets
(Finley et al., 2006, Kukanich, 2011). It is there-
fore of crucial importance to alert owners to the
risk related to feeding dogs and cats with BARF
        
them safely. It is crucial to emphasize the im-
for household members who are in contact with
BARF diet and pet, the conduct of personal hy-
giene (hand washing), and the washing and dis-
infection of water and food bowls as well as
household. Particular emphases are on disabling
fecal-oral contact, or contact immediately after
feeding, when there is the greatest risk of contact
transmission of the pathogen. The owner should
be warned to regularly control parasitic diseases
of the dog and/or cat by a 
tion. It is important to warn the owner to pur-
c 
tered manufacturer, whose products comply
with the prescribed nutrient content of the pet
food (NRC, 2006, FEDIAF, 2018). Furthermore,
if pet owner chooses to feed pet according to the
recipe (so called homemade BARF) with self-
prepared diet, it is important to take care that bal-
anced diet based on recipe is made by qualified
  
 s in nutrition such as surplus
and/or nutrient deficiency, in particular macro-
It is also
important to warn them of the potential health
risks       
which animals are not candidates for BARF for-
mulations: animals with renal and hepatic pa-
thology, history of pancreatitis, giant dog breeds
in early stage of growth, patients with impaired
immune status, animals with 
system function caused by addition of ground
bones to the formulation ( et al., 2017).
During the stay of people with impaired immune
status, children, the elderly, pregnant women
and women who are breastfeeding in the house-
hold, it is necessary to warn them about the high
risk of spread and transmission of microorgan-
isms and parasites with zoonotic potential. In ad-
dition to that, manufacturers should indicate in
the instructions for use of their products the
proper procedure for handling and preparing the
meal which would include: a defrosting proce-
dure on temperature of 10°C, and a preparation
procedure for defrosting a portion of the diet to
be used immediately after defrosting. It is im-
portant to warn them that once a defrosted pack-
age of BARF diet is not frozen again. When
feeding, the diet in the feeding bowl should be
as short as possible and, if the animal refuses to
(Hellgren et al.,
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Article receied: 08.10.2019.
Article accepted: 01.12.2019.
... Further to this, the onset of oxidation processes and the partial degradation of MM raw materials can lead to the loss of protein content bioavailability (Montegiove et al., 2021;Ribeiro et al., 2019;van Rooijen et al., 2013). The handling processes also play a key role in maintaining the organoleptic properties of proteins, as during the transport and storage of raw materials the protein component could be altered by microorganisms, whose proliferation can lead to the decarboxylation of some AAs with the formation of biogenic amines, responsible for numerous toxic effects on the body (Brozić et al., 2019;Carter et al., 2014;Learey et al., 2018;Montegiove et al., 2021;Montegiove et al., 2020b;Piergiovanni & Limbo, 2010). Therefore, the quality of the final product is strictly dependent on the initial choice of the raw materials used, which thus becomes a crucial point for the manufacturing companies in the dry food production process for dogs and cats. ...
... This finding implies that the dimensions of the formed peptides are so small that they cannot be retained by the gel during the electrophoretic run. These results well correlate with the intensive rendering processes undergone by MMs, which may cause severe degradation and deterioration of the raw materials (Brozić et al., 2019;Carter et al., 2014;Learey et al., 2018;Montegiove et al., 2021;Montegiove et al., 2020b;Ribeiro et al., 2019;van Rooijen et al., 2013). In vitro and in vivo studies have indeed demonstrated how rendered raw materials, i.e. ...
... MMs, are more difficult to digest than meats (Montegiove et al., 2021;Murray et al., 1997). In addition, a degradation of the protein content, combined with inappropriate transport conditions could lead to the proliferation of some microorganisms as a result of decarboxylation processes would form biogenic amines, toxic compounds for the organism, which being heatstable could be also found in the final product (Brozić et al., 2019;Carter et al., 2014;Einarsson et al., 2019;Learey et al., 2018;Montegiove et al., 2020b). This study has thus shown how the various raw materials usually employed for dry pet food production effectively differ in their soluble protein content. ...
Full-text available
Long shelf life and ease of use make dry pet food a popular choice among pet owners, inasmuch as it represents the majority of pet food on the market today. Two kinds of raw materials are commonly employed for the production of dry pet food, namely fresh meats (FMs) and particularly meat meals (MMs). These raw materials, before coming onto the market as dry pet food, undergo production processes, transportation, and, when it comes to MMs, industrial transformations, which may result in unwanted modifications of such ingredients, especially as far as their protein content is concerned. The goal of this study is to analyze the protein content of the raw materials regularly used in the production of dry pet food. Different formulations of white, red, and fish FMs and MMs have been prepared and analyzed. The protein concentration of both FM and MM mixes was assessed by the Bradford assay, with the aim being to evaluate the soluble protein content, which represent also a convenient digestibility index. Subsequently, the quality of proteins was evaluated through the characterization of the electrophoretic profile assessed by SDS-PAGE followed by staining with Coomassie Blue dye. The results proved that the formulations made of FMs, compared to the ones based on MMs, have a higher soluble protein content and a better-defined protein profile, thus making the former the best choice as raw materials for dry pet food production.
... Broadly speaking, the transport and storage conditions of the different raw materials, including their packaging and preservation, may result in undesirable alterations of the nutritional and organoleptic characteristics of food; in fact, if the cold chain is not respected, the ingredients may be exposed to physical and microbiological stress (e.g., inappropriate storage temperatures and bacterial proliferation) [8,9]. ...
... As shown in Figure 4, the MHC and FM profiles were mostly overlapping, while MMs displayed a substantially different pattern, suggesting a potential partial degradation of proteins, as evidenced by the presence of smear on the gel instead of net bands [59]. This is in agreement with the fact that MMs are produced through an intensive process that may determine a partial degradation of the raw material [4][5][6][7][8][9]. The absence of smear, which would account for smaller peptides, in the lower part of the gel of MM samples, suggested that their dimensions were so small (smaller than 10 kDa) that they had not been retained during the electrophoretic run. ...
Full-text available
The majority of dry pet food currently on the market is produced using fresh meats (FMs) and especially meat meals (MMs) as the main protein source. The transport and storage conditions of the raw materials, together with thermal and mechanical treatments in the case of MMs, may result in undesirable alterations of food products and their protein content. This study was conducted to analyze the protein component of three different kinds of raw materials used for dry pet food production, i.e., chicken, pork, and salmon. The quantitative analysis of the protein component was determined using the traditional Kjeldahl method and near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, and an alternative method, i.e., the Bradford assay, while the qualitative analysis was performed through SDS-PAGE, followed by Coomassie Blue staining. The amino acid (AA) profile was also evaluated by quadrupole time-of-flight liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry (Q-TOF LC/MS). In addition, the digestibility was tested through in vitro gastric and small intestine digestion simulation. Statistical analysis was performed by the Student’s t-test, and data are reported as mean ± SEM, n = 10 (p < 0.05). The results showed that the MMs are lower in quality compared to FMs, both in terms of protein bioavailability and digestibility, having a lower soluble protein (SP) content (chicken MM = 8.6 g SP/100 g dry sample; pork MM = 6.2 g SP/100 g dry sample; salmon MM = 7.9 g SP/100 g dry sample) compared to FMs (chicken FM = 14.6 g SP/100 g dry sample; pork FM = 15.1 g SP/100 g dry sample; salmon FM = 13.7 g SP/100 g dry sample). FMs appear, therefore, to be higher-quality ingredients for pet food production. Moreover, the Bradford assay proved to be a quick and simple method to better estimate protein bioavailability in the raw materials used for dry pet food production, thanks to its correlation with the in vitro digestibility.
... An advantage of these diets is high digestibility, which results in better utilization of nutrients, compact and less bulky feces and high palatability, which results in high acceptance by pets. Pet owners choose these diets because they are natural, have no processed ingredients and resemble ancestral diets, which could result in positive effects on the overall health and condition of the pet [29]. Disadvantages include susceptibility to contamination with bacteria and parasites that in many cases are zoonotic [30,31], and nutrient deficiencies, such as calcium and vitamins A, D and E [32]. ...
Full-text available
The objective of this review was to carry out a comprehensive investigation of the benefits of incorporating insects as a pet food ingredient and the implications this can have in determining a market demand for insect-based pet foods. Black soldier fly larvae (Hermetia illucens), mealworm larvae (Tenebrio molitor) and adult house crickets (Acheta domesticus) are currently used in pet food. These insects are widely fed to exotic pets, mainly in whole, live or dehydrated formats. They are also incorporated as meal or fat and are offered to cats and dogs as dry or wet food and treats. Scientific studies about the use of insects for dog and cat feed are scarce. Most studies are in dogs. Research shows that insect nutrients, mainly amino acids, have high digestibility, are beneficial to health, do not have any detrimental effect on the gut microbiota and are accepted by dogs. In several countries, insects are approved for use in pet food and commercialization has spread throughout the world. Pet owners are willing to try foods made with insect meal for their pets. In conclusion, the use of insects in pet food is a reality that is taking on more and more prominence.
... An advantage of these diets is high digestibility, which results in better utilization of nutrients, compact and less bulky feces and high palatability, which results in high acceptance by pets. Pet owners choose these diets because they are natural, have no processed ingredients and resemble ancestral diets, which could result in positive effects on the overall health and condition of the pet [29]. Disadvantages include susceptibility to contamination with bacteria and parasites that in many cases are zoonotic [30,31], and nutrient deficiencies, such as calcium and vitamins A, D and E [32]. ...
Full-text available
The objective of this study was to develop and encapsulate house fly larvae meal (FLM) by ionic gelation to obtain a novel nutritive food ingredient with improved aroma and appearance. Calcium-alginate beads were prepared by ionic gelation with different concentrations of FLM (0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4 and 8% w/v). FLM-beads presented spheroidal shape with sizes ranged 1700–2250 μm. Ionic gelation technique demonstrated be a good strategy to entrap FLM as observed by electronic microscopy-energy dispersive X-ray spectrometry studies. The inclusion of FLM in calcium-alginate beads allows to conserve a high content of protein (24% with high content of essential amino acids), lipids (13% with a 68% of unsaturated fatty acids) and high antioxidant capacity (1235–6903 μmoles TE/100 g). In addition, the use of alginate as encapsulating material improves aroma of FLM-beads, reducing unpleasant volatiles (only 4 of the 14 volatiles present in FLM were found in the FLM-beads). Finally, microbiological assays indicate that FLM-beads could be considered as ready-to-eat food ingredients. Based on these results, FLM-beads could become a potential food ingredient with high nutritional quality. In addition, the encapsulation of FLM allowed to improve aroma and appearance of FLM, which would be better accepted by the population.
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The aim of current study was to determine in vitro digestibility, some microbiological properties and shelf life of fermented sucuk foods consisting mixture of animal and vegetable natural goods produced for dogs. Grain-inclusive and grain-free formulations were prepared. Grain-inclusive group was subgrouped as cooked and uncooked grain. In vitro digestibility and chemical composition of 3 groups of sucuk foods were determined at 0, 1, 3, and 6 months after production. Microbiological characteristics (Aerobic colony number, E.coli, coagulase positive Staphylococcus, coliform bacteria, yeast mold, Salmonella spp.), pH, thiobarbituric acid reactive substances(TBARS) and lactic acid levels of sucuks stored in refrigerator(+4°C) were determined at the end of 1, 3, and 6-months of storage. In terms of nutrients, there were differences in storage times between groups and within groups(P
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The practice of feeding raw meat-based diets (RMBD) to dogs has increased in popularity in recent years. However, RMBD are based on offal that has not undergone any type of treatment to reduce the microbial content, so there is a risk of potential pathogenic microorganisms being present. Frozen samples from 60 RMBD packs produced by 10 different manufacturers were analysed for their content of bacteria belonging to the family Enterobacteriaceae , for Clostridium perfringens and for the presence of Salmonella and Campylobacter. Enterobacteriaceae were detected in all 60 samples and in 31 samples exceeded a level of 5000 bacteria/g, which is the threshold for satisfactory microbial hygiene according to EU regulations. In two samples, the amount of C. perfringens exceeded 5000 bacteria/g, which is the maximum level of anaerobic bacteria permitted by Swedish national guidelines. Salmonella species were found in four (7 per cent) and Campylobacter species in three (5 per cent) samples. These results show that it is critical to maintain good hygiene when storing, handling and feeding RMBD, in order to limit the potential health risks to animals and humans, especially young and immunocompromised individuals.
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Background The practice of feeding of diets containing raw animal products (RAP) to pets (dogs and cats) is discouraged by veterinary organizations and governmental public health organizations. Nevertheless, the practice of feeding RAP to pets is increasing in popularity. Pet owner motivations for feeding RAP diets to pets have not been explored and the benefits of RAP diets remain largely anecdotal. We hypothesized that pet owners feeding RAP diets would not rely on veterinary advice in choosing their pet’s diet. We also hypothesized that these owners would have lower levels of trust in veterinary advice with respect to nutrition relative to pet owners not feeding RAP. Methods An anonymous web-based survey was developed to identify pet owner motivations for feeding RAP diets, and to characterize the veterinarian-client relationships of individuals feeding RAP diets. Results There were 2,337 respondents and 2,171 completed surveys. Of survey respondents, 804 reported feeding RAP at the time of the survey. While 20% of pet owners feeding RAP relied on online resources to determine what or how much RAP to feed, only 9% reported consulting with a veterinarian in making decisions about feeding RAP. Pet owners feeding RAP reported lower levels of trust in veterinary advice both ‘in general’ and ‘with respect to nutrition’ than pet owners not feeding RAP. Most pet owners reported that a discussion regarding their pet’s nutrition does not occur at every veterinary appointment. Discussion Pet owners feeding a RAP diet have lower trust in veterinary advice than pet owners not feeding a RAP diet. Owners feeding RAP are more reliant on online resources than their own veterinarian in deciding what and how much RAP to feed. Pet owners perceive that nutrition is not discussed at most veterinary appointments. Therefore, there is room for improvement in the veterinarian-client communication with regards to nutrition.
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To study the effect of low temperatures on infectivity of Toxoplasma gondii tissue cysts, pork from infected pigs was mixed with infected mouse brains and homogenized thoroughly. Twenty-gram samples of infected homogenized meat which were sealed in plastic pouches, pressed to a uniform thickness resulting in samples having the dimensions of ~.2 × 16 × 18 cm, were subjected to temperatures of −1 to −171.1 °C for 1 s to 67.2 d. Treated samples were digested in HCl-pepsin solution and infectivity assayed in mice. A regression model from these data is described by the least squares linear regression: Square root of time for the inactivation of T. gondii (h) = 26.72 + 2.16 temperature (°C) with r = 0.77. T. gondii tissue cysts remained viable usually up to 22.4 d at −1 and −3.9°C and 11.2 d at −6.7°C but were usually rendered nonviable by freezing at −12.37°C. These data demonstrate that T. gondii tissue cysts are inactivated by freezing more readily than encysted Trichinella spiralis larvae.
Abstract The Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN), in collaboration with the Food Emergency Response Network (FERN) and its Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program (MCAP) laboratories, conducted a study to evaluate the prevalence of selected microbial organisms in various types of pet foods. The goal of this blinded study was to help the Center for Veterinary Medicine prioritize potential future pet food-testing efforts. The study also increased the FERN laboratories' screening capabilities for foodborne pathogens in animal feed matrices, since such pathogens may also be a significant health risk to consumers who come into contact with pet foods. Six U.S. Food and Drug Administration FERN MCAP laboratories analyzed approximately 1056 samples over 2 years. Laboratories tested for Salmonella, Listeria, Escherichia coli O157:H7 enterohemorrhagic E. coli, and Shiga toxin-producing strains of E. coli (STEC). Dry and semimoist dog and cat foods purchased from local stores were tested during Phase 1. Raw dog and cat foods, exotic animal feed, and jerky-type treats purchased through the Internet were tested in Phase 2. Of the 480 dry and semimoist samples, only 2 tested positive: 1 for Salmonella and 1 for Listeria greyii. However, of the 576 samples analyzed during Phase 2, 66 samples were positive for Listeria (32 of those were Listeria monocytogenes) and 15 samples positive for Salmonella. These pathogens were isolated from raw foods and jerky-type treats, not the exotic animal dry feeds. This study showed that raw pet foods may harbor food safety pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella. Consumers should handle these products carefully, being mindful of the potential risks to human and animal health.
Evaluation of dogs with elevated plasma thyroxine concentration fed raw food before and after changing the diet. Between 2006 and 2011 all dogs presented with an elevated plasma thyroxine concentration and a dietary history of feeding raw food were included. Thyroxine (reference interval: 19·3 to 51·5 nmol/L) and in many cases also thyroid-stimulating hormone concentrations (reference interval: <0·30 ng/mL) were measured initially and after changing the diet. Twelve dogs were presented with a median age of five years. The median plasma thyroxine concentration was 156·1 (range of 79·7 to 391·9) nmol/L; in six dogs, thyroid-stimulating hormone concentration was measured and was <0·03 ng/mL in five dogs and 0·05 ng/mL in one dog. Six dogs showed clinical signs such as weight loss, aggressiveness, tachycardia, panting and restlessness while six dogs had no clinical signs. After changing the diet eight dogs were examined: thyroxine concentration normalised in all dogs and clinical signs resolved. Dietary hyperthyroidism can be seen in dogs on a raw meat diet or fed fresh or dried gullets. Increased plasma thyroxine concentration in a dog, either with or without signs of hyperthyroidism, should prompt the veterinarian to obtain a thorough dietary history.
Seafood is high on the list of foods transmitting disease. However, the food safety issues are highly focussed and more than 80% of all seafood-borne outbreaks are related to biotoxins (ciguatoxin), scombrotoxin or the consumption of raw molluscan shellfish. The safety hazards in seafood production are listed and discussed. It is pointed out that there are serious safety concerns related to the consumption of raw fish and shellfish due to the presence of biological (bacteria, virus, parasites) and chemical (biotoxins) hazards. These hazards are present in the fish and shellfish pre-harvest and are difficult or impossible to control by applying presently available preventive measures. In contrast, the hazards related to contamination, recontamination or survival of biological hazards during processing are well-defined and can be controlled by applying Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), Good Hygiene Practice (GHP) and a well designed HACCP-programme. Similarly, the means to prevent the growth of pathogenic microorganisms during distribution and storage of the final products are – with a few exceptions – available. Proper application of well-known preservative parameters including temperature is able to control growth of most pathogens. When this is not the always case, for example inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes in lightly preserved fish products, it is recommended to limit the stated shelf-life of these products to a period of no-growth for the pathogen of concern. There is a good agreement between the trends shown in disease statistics, the hazard analysis and the qualitative risk assessment of the various fish products. It is recommended that consumers should be informed of the risk of eating raw seafood – particularly molluscan shellfish and certain freshwater fish.