PFMA responds to a recent study in Vet Record on feeding commercial raw pet foods.
The Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association (PFMA) is aware of the recent paper published in Vet Record on a Swedish study that tested 60 products from various European countries for bacterial contamination, including a single UK manufacturer. As this has been covered in the national media, PFMA would like to provide some reassurance and guidance to owners who choose to feed a raw meat diet.
Good hygiene practices when handling raw meat at home are essential
While it carries no greater risk than handling fresh raw meat intended for humans, pet owners must be dedicated to good hygiene practices in the home and maintain high standards of hygiene to prevent contamination.
The researchers highlight the importance of careful storage, handling and good hygiene practices when feeding a raw meat diet. This is vital; the risk of food-borne illness must be a serious consideration for any person choosing to handle and feed any raw product in the home.
Education for owners on handling & hygiene best practice
PFMA and its members take education seriously and we provide some guidance for owners on best practice hygiene, handling and storage of raw meat products. Indeed this is best practice for handling all pet food products. This is available at: https://www.pfma.org.uk/raw-feeding-factsheet
A word of caution on homemade raw diets
Whilst homemade diets provide more flexibility for pets with very specific nutritional needs, they are challenging and require significant research and expert guidance to undertake with any success. A fundamental concern, as with any homemade diet, is whether all the right nutrients are provided in the right proportions for healthy bodily function. An additional concern is ensuring ingredients from a safe and reliable source.
Choose a product from a reputable commercial raw food manufacturer
PFMA’s advice to owners feeding a raw pet food is to use a registered raw food manufacturer who is professionally making raw pet food meals with appropriate microbiological controls. As with all commercially prepared pet foods, commercially prepared raw foods are subject to stringent legislation. Commercial raw producers within PFMA membership will also manufacture their diets in line with best practice guidelines.
· PFMA has within membership 11 commercial raw pet food companies with a dedicated sector group.
· Last year PFMA launched the best practice guideline on the Manufacture of Raw Pet Food, which has been developed in conjunction with Defra, the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), Public Health England (PHE) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA).
· A recommendation in the guideline is for raw pet food producers to provide clear and easy to understand hygiene, handling and storage information on the pet food packet as well as on off pack communications.
· For more information on PFMA commercial raw manufacturers, please visit: https://www.pfma.org.uk/raw-feeding-factsheet