FDA is Testing Raw Pet Food (and only raw pet food)

FDA just announced an ‘assignment to collect official samples of raw foods for dogs or cats”, testing raw pet food products for Salmonella, Listeria, and E coli. The FDA is ONLY testing raw pet food. So wrong in so many ways.

The FDA made if official today – they are on a Salmonella, Listeria, and E coli hunt. Trouble is, their ONLY hunting ground for this bacteria is raw pet food. The press release from FDA did not mention kibble pet food or canned pet food – these products will not be tested. Only raw pet food will be tested for this bacteria.

While FDA’s dislike of any pet food other than kibble or can is no surprise, a statement within their press release is a surprising admission. “In recent years, an increasing number of dog and cat owners have begun feeding their pets various foods that are labeled or advertised as raw with/without minimal processing. The FDA has not yet defined raw or minimally processed foods for dogs or cats.”

Raw and minimally processed pet food have been the fastest growing segment of commercial pet food for at least ten straight years. Now why hasn’t FDA “defined raw or minimally processed food for dogs or cats”? Especially considering the popularity of these products. Why has FDA never bothered – in this ten year time frame – to define this style of pet food? A theory: could it be that FDA has refused to ‘define’ raw or minimally processed pet foods because just maybe they might learn that less processing is healthier for our pets (just as minimally processed foods are healthier for humans).

I support FDA testing for dangerous bacteria in pet food. I do not support FDA only testing one style of pet food. Testing only one style of pet food is clear bias.

A true unbiased bacteria testing of pet food would include all styles of commercial pet food.

A true unbiased testing of raw pet food would include testing an equal number of raw human grade meats purchased directly from grocery stores.

Do you know what FDA would find if they did a side by side comparison of bacteria found in raw meat for human consumption and raw meat pet foods? We already know. Human grade meat purchased in grocery stores tested significantly higher for bacteria contamination than raw meat pet food – both testing performed by FDA. From CNN regarding FDA testing of raw meat for human consumption. “A recently released report from Food and Drug Administration found that of all the raw ground turkey tested, 81% was contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Also, according to the National Antimicrobial Resistance Monitoring System, or NARMS, Retail Meat Annual Report, ground turkey wasn’t the only problem. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria were found in some 69% of pork chops, 55% of ground beef and 39% of chicken.”

As comparison, the FDA performed ‘surveillance’ testing of raw pet food in 2012. The agency found only 7% of raw pet foods (15 of 196 pet foods) tested positive for Salmonella;  16% (32 of 196 pet foods) tested positive for Listeria.

Pet food 7%, 16% positive – human food 81%, 69%, 55% and 39% positive.

Now here is another kick to the gut to raw pet food consumers. The FDA press release about testing of raw pet food states: “Positive findings of Salmonella, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7 in a sample of raw foods for dogs or cats product collected from a retail store may result in a Class I recall, press release, and Reportable Food Registry (RFR) submission.”

Strange thing, the 2013 FDA testing of retail human grade meat finding 81%, 69%, 55% and 39% containing antibiotic resistant bacteria…did not result in one single recall. Not one brand name of meat testing positive for antibiotic resistant bacteria was made public by FDA, not one Class I recall occurred.

No pet food or human food should be contaminated with Salmonella, Listeria, and E coli. But for FDA to hold raw pet food to a zero tolerance with threat of Class I recall when the agency did NOT hold human food to the very same standard is absurd. It is as well absurd for FDA to only search for this bacteria in raw pet food (and not all other styles of pet food).

One more quote. The FDA press release states: “FDA does not believe raw meat foods for animals are consistent with the goal of protecting the public from significant health risks, particularly when such products are brought into the home…” Isn’t human grade raw meat purchased in grocery stores (such as that ground turkey – 81% of which tested positive for bacteria) brought into the same homes as raw meat pet food? Does FDA believe pet food consumers are just not smart enough to know that all raw meat – pet food or human food – should be handled safely?

C’mon FDA, really? Why can’t you regulate ‘food’ fairly and consistently? You allow any pet food to violate federal food safety laws, you allow any pet food to be made from putrid meat sourced from diseased animals with no disclosure to the consumer. You hold raw pet food to a recall threat when the same raw meat for humans is not held to the same standard. There are just too many inconsistencies. This smells.


Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,

Susan Thixton
Pet Food Safety Advocate
Author Buyer Beware, Co-Author Dinner PAWsible
Association for Truth in Pet Food

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Comments 101

  1. B Dawson says:

    How is it that our tax dollars get wasted on this biased, bought-by-the-highest-bidder enforcement? If it can’t be stopped by media smear tactics, use “backdoor legislation” to get the product off the shelf. Make it so hard and/or expensive for a company that they give up in frustration or the product becomes so expensive no one can afford it. You know what’s coming next, insurance companies will not offer coverage to companies producing raw food because of liability.

    I think I’m just gonna start my own country – Greece should be up for auction anytime now. Citizenship will only be open to those who can pass a test proving they have commonsense.

    • Kathryn says:

      let me know – I have my passport in hand!

    • V.J. Sudol says:

      This article is based on a false premise. The FDA didn’t ONLY test raw pet foods, as anyone who checked out the results can see. http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/ResourcesforYou/AnimalHealthLiteracy/ucm373757.htm

      They tested 1,000 samples, including food in these categories:
      Raw pet food
      Dry exotic pet food
      Jerky-type treats
      Semi-moist dog food
      Semi-moist cat food
      Dry dog food
      Dry cat food

      • Aneisha says:

        Also the reason why food meant for human consumption isn’t targeted for testing is because the assumption is the raw meat will be cooked. I think all areas deserve to be properly looked into to get a fair objective understanding so that we can make informed decisions as pet parents. Further down the comments there are lots of opinions and not always respectfully expressed, some of which are factual and some of which are not. For example vets are not nutritional experts and do receive training from brands. I wouldn’t completely dismiss the training as the likes of Mars (owners of Royal canin/James well beloved) have pioneered a lot of the science for pet nutrition. I personally wouldn’t support them as I don’t believe their interests are objective and I prefer small businesses. And there is plenty of profits to be made from having a Raw food business, (I know as I’ve worked for a number of pet food brands) so I would argue that’s not the reason why larger businesses haven’t yet moved into Raw – I stress yet as I believe they will if the popularity increases just as Burns switched to grain free after long saying they didn’t agree with it and that they would never do it. Food isn’t the sole driver of a long life and every cat and dog is different – I met the lady who had the oldest cat in the U.K. that died at 30 (google her she was covered in the news quite a bit) and she fed what most (myself included) would consider a terrible food. Genes are strong influencers. I hope the popularity of Raw food encourages more research on pet nutrition as a whole.

        FYI I recently launched my own natural pet food brand. I don’t sell nor feed raw simply because I haven’t found any scientific evidence nor consensus amongst pet nutritionists to support it over conventional foods. I’m excited for more studies to improve our understanding of pet nutrition as a whole as I come across daily inaccuracies being presented as facts to unknowing pet parents that always want the best for their pet.

  2. Allison says:

    I was at a veterinary pet food conference and they were trying to convince us how bad raw food is for our pets (go figure as it was sponsored by Royal Canin). I had already been feeding my dogs raw for a few years at this point so I was holding back my opinions the entire time. At the end the speaker asked if anyone had any questions. I asked him ‘if raw food is so bad for our pets why were there more recalls of dry/kibble based pet foods last year than of raw based pet foods?’ His reply was ‘no pet food is safe’. I wish I had a tape recorder!

    • Louise says:

      That is probably exactly what they are trying to do with the testing of raw food, trying to get some recalls happening so that it looks worse in the recall department than kibble.

  3. Jeanette Owen says:

    Well said B Dawson!

  4. Mona says:

    Raw foods are nutritionally imbalanced. They also pose risks for intestinal and esophageal perforations, obstructions, broken teeth, etc.

    Raw foods pose risks for humans due to bacteria which are vectors of disease.

    There is no vendetta or secret agenda against raw pet food companies; raw foods have been scientifically and medically proven to not be beneficial for pets. If they were, the pet food companies that make “kibble” like you call it, would jump on the bandwagon; think about it. Why don’t they? Because of contamination and liability again, for the surgeries and death that at some point down the line will affect the pets ( if you have been feeding raw for ten years abd your pets are fibe, lucky you).

    Doctors and Veterinarians go to school to learn; this is their area of expertise.

    Pets that eat balanced, processed diets without nutrient excessess or deficiencies easily live 18+ years; that should say somethibg. I myself have had three cats live to be 21 abd the always ate Hill’s

    There is a lot of misinformation on the internet; it is a medium in which anyone and everyone posts appearing to know what they say.

    Educate yourselves so your pets do not have to suffer; your pets deserve it and will appreciate it.

    • Susan Thixton says:

      Mona – I wholehearted disagree with everything you’ve just stated. It’s honestly too long of a list of errors to post.

      • Louise says:

        I also disagree with everything you just said, especially the “science to prove it” part.

      • Joanne says:

        Totally agree with you Susan Thixton…..a very ignorant and ill informed statement. It’s so ridiculous I had to laugh. Someone (Mona) needs to do some major research.

    • Valerie Noyes says:

      Mona, I seriously want to address each and every sentence you wrote, but I am so angry with the nonsense you have spouted I simply cannot do it.

    • Laurie Matson says:

      No Mona, You have it really wrong. YOU need to educate Yourself!!! Quite obviously you do not follow Pet food as closely as you should be. If you did you never would have written the backward Comment you did. sorry, you are in the minority and uneducated about Raw meat, and Pet Food in general.

    • John Sturgess says:

      Mona = Lobbyist for the Pet Food Industry that she proclaims makes safe Kibble. Dr’s and Vets go to school and this is there area of expertise…. WOW ( Shaking my head – I guess Ron White is right , you cant fix S _ _ _ _ D ) Why is the FDA doing this – cause the LOBBYIST for PET FOOD Companies have the money to fight a dirty fight with payola, trips and future employment once you leave the Govt Sector. BIG MONEY PET FOOD , just like Coca Cola is seeing a decline in SUGARY DRINK, Kibble Makers are seeing a decline to al the new fresh raw food companies. Why do you see all these ads on TV for BRAIN FOOD for your pet or Breed specific Diets or no more grains – yet for decades they shoveled this junk with out remorse… You cant start making RAW and say Kibble sucks because your profit margins would shrivel away,,, its all about the Benjamin’s. Follow the money and the lobbyist

    • Andrea says:

      If raw is so ‘dangerous’ to our pets, then why didn’t they go extinct millennia ago? Cats and dogs have been eating raw for thousands of years. Big Pet Food won’t as you say, “jump on the bandwagon.” There’s no money in it for them. Why would they when they can use junk, cheap ingredients like Roundup GMO corn, discarded scraps from slaughterhouses, 4D animals, cancerous tumors, maggots, road kill, euthanized pets, zoo animals, etc. and make more profit? They then turn around and lie to vets and convince them that their product is superior and safer than raw meat. This creates even more profit for Big Pet Food and the vet. More sales for Big Pet Food, and more visits to the vet with sick pets.

    • Andrea says:

      Also, most processed pet food is loaded with carcinogenic ingredients. Cancer rates are up in pets more now, then before pet food was invented. I LOST a cat to cancer a couple years ago at the young age of 14. His type of cancer is commonly linked with the kinds of molds found in the grains used. Most of his life he was on cheap kibble. He was always throwing up. When he was 12, I took him off the cheap crap and put him on high protein, low carb, grain free kibble for 2 years. Energy increased when he was off the cheap junk. As soon as I put him on raw, he blossomed! Eyes cleared up, more energy, etc. (I only had 6 months to enjoy this transformation on raw before I lost him.) The truth is in the pudding! If a pet reaches their 20s on the cheap stuff, then they were just lucky. I would never knowingly risk my pets’ lives over a few bucks…

    • TS says:

      Mona, which BIG PET FOOD company do YOU work for??? If you don’t, maybe you should!
      Every single thing you stated is FALSE. And as for commercial Kibble manufacturers not jumping on the band wagon – there is 1 simple reason – PROFITS. They would need to charge so much per lb for high quality safe raw ingredients – to equal the ill-gained profits they currently enjoy from over processed garbage ingredients – no one would buy their food. Do you really think that Pedigree kibble dog food in 40 + lb bags at LESS THAN FIFTY CENTS a pound is safe OR that it contains high quality ingredients? Think again.

    • Anne says:

      Mona, do you work for Hill’s or Purina? I have educated myself about foods and nutrition. I am a degreed animal scientist with formal training in feeds and feeding animals. Feeding your pets foods that manufacturers have made with diseased, dead, dying, or euthanized animals is not in their best interests. Wise up, Mona. Or as the song says, “I’ve got some oceanfront property in Arizona”.

    • Grateful says:

      You want to know why Big Pet Food don’t make raw diets? Because it’s not as profitable as making kibble and cheap canned food. Raw food is real food, expensive to make. Kibble and cheap canned contains pure junk, very cheap to make, and keeps the pets at the vet too. Your ignorance about what an animal should eat is frightening.

    • Kristi Johnson says:

      I took the same “animal nutrition” course the vet students did back in ag college. It was how to maximize growth for livestock – chickens, sheep, cattle, hogs. You looked at fat, protein, lignin and fiber and basic “vitamins” like iron and zinc for maximum production. Period. Vet students know nothing about nutrition. Science diet gives them free food for their pets as well.

    • Peg says:

      Mona, after I read your post with utter disgust, I was off to the vet’s office with my 15 year old cat who has been eating raw for 4 years. Vet looked 4 times and was so amused that Edgar Winter is 15. She thought he was my 8 year old!!

      I also asked my vet how much education in nutrition she got from vet school.
      She replied that her nutrition education was not from school, but rather from the pet food reps who attack the newly licensed vets, wine them and dine them and take them on the corporate jets to their”state of the art food manufacturing facility”

      The youngest, newly licensed vet to the practice was attacked by the PFI reps and when she told them she has been home cooking and feeding raw for her dogs and cats, they told her she would never be hired in a vet office. She has been in our office for 2 years now, we are so lucky, she directs clients to Susan’s site, she encourages and gives talks on raw and home cooked feeding. She has a 23 year old raw fed kitty with ZERO kidney issues and a 12 year old raw fed Great Dane!!!! How cool is that when the “average” life expectancy of a Great Dane is 7-8 years!!

      • Dear Peg–what a fabulous post about your vet and her pets and yours! Thanks for rebutting with what is real and important! Thank you so much.

        • Peg says:

          Dear Hope Williams,
          You are most welcome! The vets are getting it and mine has friends nationwide who refer to Susan’s site and me!? (Blushing) for additional info
          Happy dancing!

    • Colleen yates says:

      My friend’s 10 year old cat that ate Vet kibble, (controlled portions) just had to be put down from complications of diabetes. Another friend’s cat was eating raw since 2000 lived past 20. From talking to other pet owners and experiences this seems to be more of the norm. From what I can tell most of the cats I have come across that successful live on kibble, are usually outdoor cats, I’m assuming because they are getting other sources of food outside of kibble. I didn’t know any better and fed my cat vet kibble, and my vet bills from health complications went through the roof, switched to raw 8 years ago, and so far so good and no more vet bills. Recently I found out on his last check up, my vet has been doing research and agreed that his raw diet is a good, and keep on feeding it to him. Shocked but happy because it was the same vet that chewed me out years ago when I took him off the prescription food.

    • Melinda says:

      Who teaches nutrition at vet school? Science Diet? Royal Canin? Let me see…yes, they are kibble makers. Complete and balanced raw food formulas are not deficient in nutrition. I think you need to get your facts straight before making such and absurd statement. Throwing your dog a chicken or a steak..no, that is not the correct way to feed raw food. I agree with one thing, there certainly is alot of misinformation about raw food feeding on the internet. People need to research ancestral diets for their canine companions and then ask questions. Obviously not from misinformed people such as yourself.
      Think about it…what in the heck did dogs eat before the invention of “Fake Food?” (KIBBLE)

    • Cheryl Mallon-Bond says:

      Mona–YOU are the one that is sadly misinformed. Who is it that you work for?…Hill’s?.
      Have you read all the scientific proof of the mycotoxin’s that have been found in many many dry kibble? Have you read about the tainted, putrid, rendered, phenobarbital contaminated meat sources used in way too many pet FEED products sold to consumer’s? Tell me WHY the FDA is not testing all these food’s ?, when there has been MANY reported sick or dead pet’s? Why is it that the FDA has allowed all this time go by STILL allowing dog treats made in China on the shelves that are poisoning our pet’s?, yet they think that putting all this effort into now testing raw pet food’s ONLY!, is of the up most importance? Do you want to answer any of those question’s? & tell me how that makes ANY sense whatsoever?. There have been extremely minimal complaints of ANY illnesses due to raw pet food’s, yet massive complaints of illnesses & DEATH’S from many other forms of pet feed, & treats. So, how can ANY reasonably intelligent person believe that this is where the FDA should be putting their efforts? This is nothing more than a WITCH HUNT!, against manufacturer’s of raw pet food companies, & we all KNOW IT!!!!

      • Andrea says:

        I think you mean pentobarbital, not phenobarbital. Phenobarbital is for seizures.

    • Nicole says:

      I am the owner of Steve’s Real Food a raw pet food company. Let me help you understand a few things.
      The reason kibble companies do not jump on the raw bandwagon is because selling raw pet food is a whole different game.

      It starts with sourcing. We buy whole animal parts and produce, not meals. We buy most of our ingredients from local farmers, where kibble companies buy their ingredients from suppliers such as Wilbur-Ellis.

      Then it goes into processing. We use a simple process that involves a grinder, mixer and freezer. There are no extrudes or ovens in our plant. In fact we process at 40 degrees to ensure product safety. That would not work well if we also used ovens. We also use a lot of water in both production and clean up. If you introduce an ounce of water into a kibble factory you will have a mold problem instantly.

      Next is the distribution process. Our warehouse is a giant freezer. It is extremely costly to keep everything frozen and it would be ridiculous to waste space by putting kibble in there. Everything we ship goes on a freezer truck and has to go to distributors with freezer in their warehouse. Kibble companies use completely different shippers than us and they pay quite a bit less for it. We also choose to work with distributors that are good at selling raw food because it is an education based sell. If a distributor rep does not feed raw food, and does not have a personal experience with how beneficial it is then they will fail at getting our foods into retail stores.

      Which brings me to the next step, selling the food at the retail level. We do not follow the same marketing programs as kibble companies. They typically will offer huge discounts and promotions to sell pallets of food at a time. If I were to do a promotional program where a retailer could get 50% off if they ordered a pallet of food, I may have 3-4 retailers in the entire country that could do that. Why you ask? Because the food has to be stored in a freezer and retailers do not have that kind of freezer space.

      So why doesn’t a big kibble company buy us, use our processes and put their name on it? That answer is simple also, we don’t have the profits and margins they want. When I started in this industry my father kept saying “you will never make a million buck selling raw dog food”, and he was right. We do this out of passion not for profits and kibble companies do not share those motives.

      Also, just to clarify veterinarians and most doctors do not have nutritional education. A traditional veterinarian’s educations consists of one semester of education. Here is where a vet talks about the subject – http://skeptvet.com/Blog/2012/07/what-do-veterinarians-know-about-nutrition/

    • Susan says:

      Veterinarians do not go to school to learn about nutrition requirements for your pets and any vet who tells you differently is not being truthful. Nutrition information is provided through free seminars given by Science Diet and Royal Canin (the two most common vet school resources) and both of these companies sell their foods via Veterinarians. Kibble companies are not going to get on the RAW Food bandwagon – not because Raw is unsafe and in healthy for out animals, but because the insane profit margins are not there for them in RAW and RAW doesn’t have a 6 month or longer shelf life.

    • Lori says:

      I have never seen a more uneducated post in my life! You have no clue what you are talking about. I think you have been eating to much Purina! Do yourself and your cats a favor and “Go Raw”

  5. Andrea says:

    Allison, I would have loved to say to the Royal Canin rep: “If no pet food is safe, then I guess we should make it ourselves with fresh, wholesome, people food!”

  6. This is a finely written testimony to the basics of what is wrong with the FDA, Susan! Fundamentally, as B Dawson said above, the FDA has been “bought-by-the-highest-bidder-enforcement”, or, as we say, Big Pet Products giants protecting their turf from profit damage. It is so very difficult being a part of the pet industry today because the reality of this billion dollar industry has almost nothing to do with dogs and cats. Only bucks!

    Again, the above is a very finely written testimony and I implore you to do a mass press release to every entity you can imagine. No one could say it any better. And so many people need to hear you, now! I am circulating for sure! And thank you!

  7. Michelle says:

    They are purposely wasting time and money to pull peoples attention away from the real poisonous food!!!! Pet food is the tip of the iceberg. The country has been bought and paid for by big corporations and no one is accountable!!!! I am SO disgusted!!!

  8. Tina Fitzpatrick says:

    I have yet to understand why I can be trusted to prepare my families food in a way that prevents illness and I cannot be trusted to feed my pets the same foods safely. I’m so tired of having to explain and defend.

    They absolutely should test kibble and canned but they won’t. Not enough financial pressure from raw food producers.

  9. Mona says:


    I have been a veterinary technician for 25 years. I speak based on facts. We see all those pets with issues from those foods. And that is not an error; it is reality

    • Susan Thixton says:

      What about the veterinarians that highly endorse minimally processed foods? And what about their veterinary technicians that have seen first hand the benefits of minimally processed pet food? Are they wrong? And what about the science behind the health benefits to humans of minimally processed food? It is wrong as well? We’ll have to agree to disagree.

      • I think I’ll believe my experience of selling raw–both HPP and non-HPP–pet foods for years and receiving all the accolades of all the pet parents who have the healthiest dogs on earth. Not to mention Dr. Karen Becker who is one of the biggest advocates of feeding balanced raw.

    • Louise says:

      I’m sure you also see the MANY other issues that pets on processed kibble come in with, which, I’m sure greatly outnumber the things you see with raw diets. Sorry, don’t buy it, and I have done a lot of research and looked at a lot of studies over the past 30 years. My experience and research say the opposite.

      Of course, you are welcome to have your opinion based on your experience, but the “science to prove it” part just is not true as there is “science” on both sides and they all have to be read to get the full picture plus they have to be “unbiased” research, not something done by a pet food company.

      • JH says:

        But that’s the only “science” supporting krapple. ……that bought and paid for by the companies who make it. And don’t even get me started on the so called feeding trails.

    • Louise says:

      Probably what is happening is you are NOT seeing the majority of pets that are being fed real, wholesome food, as they are in good health and not having to go to the veterinarian. You are only seeing sick animals so not the entire picture.

    • Shawna says:

      Mona — Dr. Meg Smart is a Veterinarian a Veterinary Nutritionist AND taught veterinary nutrition for over 30 years. She endorses homemade cooked and raw foods. Of course she wants them balanced but some of us are quite capable of handling that.

      What is being discussed above however is commercially made complete and balanced diets. Those that are held to the same standard and laws as complete and balanced kibbled diets.

  10. Andrea says:

    Cats and dogs have been eating raw for thousands of years. Well before the FDA came into existence. I’m pretty sure cats and dogs know much more about their nutritional needs than the FDA does…

  11. JH says:

    Mona, I’m sorry but there is so much error in your statement one hardly knows where to begin. Firstly any honest conventional vet will tell you he/she knows next to nothing about nutrition. It is not a significant part of their vet school training. What they do get is sponsored by the kibble companies…down to the textbook used. If you think that it’s an objective view, think again

    Secondly, dogs and cats lived longer before they were eating over processed garbage. Anyone who has been paying attention can read a can or bag of Hill’s and see that it’s substandard quality. Couple that with the lovely compliance policy of the FDA which allows pet food companies to put 4D sourced garbage into the food and it’s a recipe for ill health for our animals without doubt.

    There have been far more recalls for kibble than raw, which is one big reason this move is so transparently biased. Any honest agency would play with an even hand or at least look closely at the types of feed making pets sick. It’s public record so this is not even up for debate.

    Perhaps your doctor would recommend heavily processed garbage for you over fresh food, but only a fool would listen to that advice. Why would anyone think our pets don’t also need fresh clean healthy food? The idea that only kibble or processed feed is balanced is patent nonsense. Putting aside the very checkered history of cats going blind from kibble with low levels of taurine and dogs becoming ill from too much Vitamin D in kibble, its just not that hard to do it well. There are many sources from those who have done more research than the average vet in this area and many companies who are doing it right. Please put down the Kool Aid and so some serious research in this area. Your pets will thank you.

  12. Dianne says:

    And this is happening at some Petmarts this weekend. Nature’s Variety Instinct – Join a nutritional expert from Nature’s Variety Instinct to discover the benefits of a RAW diet and how you can easily incorporate raw into your pet’s diet.

    I agree with all your points, Susan. What the FDA is planning is the height of hypocrisy.

  13. Pam Nadelman says:

    OMG Mona, I would say if you’ve been feeding your cats (or any living thing) Hill’s & they’ve lived to be 21, lucky you. Some animals, like some people, are born with good genes. That is the only explanation for anything living beyond 10 years, cancer-free, on anything by Hill’s. You almost sound like a Hill’s (Colgate-Palmolive’s) employee! Canines & felines have been eating raw food since creation, certainly pre the corrupt FDA. Science to prove it? Highly doubtful. Science fiction, maybe?

  14. Heather says:

    I hope this isn’t a stupid question, but I am still learning about RAW. I know that the FDA allows diseased animals to be used in kibble, but do they allow diseased animals to be used in commercial RAW food?
    I am currently feeding my puppy Orijen, but I am curious about the RAW diet, as I want the best for my baby.
    Thank you to anyone who can answer my question 🙂

    • Susan Thixton says:

      Yes – the FDA allows USDA condemned meats in any pet food, raw, kibble, can, cooked. There is always a concern of quality of ingredients regardless to the style of pet food. Always ask the company if meat and vegetable ingredients are USDA inspected and approved edible. Some companies try not to respond directly – giving a response such as ‘Yes, we source all our ingredients from USDA facilities’. This doesn’t answer your question – you want to know if ingredients themselves are approved human edible. If they are not USDA inspected and approved human edible, they can be (allowed to be) condemned meats, diseased tissue, putrid meat – and they are treated with a denaturing agent that will also be toxic to a pet.

  15. This just supports what we have been telling people for years. At Feline Nutrition (feline-nutrition.org, a non-profit advocacy organization) we try to educate pet parents on the benefits of feeding raw meat diets. We strongly discourage people from buying grocery store grounds meats, as the stores are counting on the fact that the meat will be cooked before it is eaten. Commercially made ground raw meat products intended for pets, on the other hand, are processed much differently. The meat is immediately frozen after grinding (and sometimes even ground while it is still frozen) to prevent bacterial proliferation. The makers are acutely aware that their product will be eaten raw, and take every step possible to minimize risk. The difference in bacterial levels really shows how simple measures make a big difference. You have to wonder why we humans don’t deserve the extra care that these pets are getting!

    The meat industry has shifted a great deal of the responsibility for meat safety onto the consumer, by emphasizing the thorough cooking of meat. The bacteria shouldn’t be there in the first place. People in general are terrified of raw meat. Most people have the idea that raw meat itself is inherently dangerous; it isn’t. I believe that people that feed raw meat diets to their pets are in a unique position to influence the meat industry itself. Maybe, once the industry realizes how much human-grade meat is being purchased for pets, and being fed raw, the demand for safer meat will become more of a priority. In my household, we purchase about 10 lbs a month for the humans, and about 90 lbs a month for the pets.

    Bacterial contamination of kibble-type foods is much more dangerous to humans. People who feed raw meat diets to their pets are extremely cautious about safe food handling (because of the well-learned fear of meat that has been drilled into our heads). Instances of humans becoming ill from raw pet food are virtually non-existent. But, people don’t think twice about handling kibble. They don’t feel like they need to go decontaminate themselves after touching it, when maybe they should.

    The benefits of a raw meat diet for pets, cats especially, far outweigh the risks. The FDA is looking to protect humans, not pets, but I wonder if they will look at whether any pets get sick from eating raw foods that test positive? Cats are highly pathogen resistant, they can eat food with normal (note, I said normal, not excessive) bacterial levels and have no ill effects. Cats evolved eating raw meat exclusively and if they hadn’t also evolved the ability to deal with normally occurring pathogens, there wouldn’t be any cats left. Having a zero-tolerance attitude isn’t realistic, or necessary.

  16. Kathryn says:

    I’m getting off the ‘Mona’ train — you just can’t fix stupid.

  17. Mona says:

    It is really interesting how intolerant of other people’s opinions many of you are. What courses in animal nutrition have you all taken? I have two college degrees -spent six years in college concentrating in animal nutrition.

    I am not going to take time to address every single point but I will say that you guys are doing research on the Internet where anybody and everybody writes their opinions and you take them as if they were a Bible.

    Those animals that you claim have been eating raw for thousands of years have had their digestive systems evolve with domestication and their nutrition needs have changed. Nobody stops to think about the wild animals that live in 4 to 5 years and suffer perforations and obstructions mainly because wild animals tend to go in solitude to die.

    There are very few veterinarians that support raw or minimally processed diets; very few. Hmmm I wonder why…

    If raw foods are so great, why is there no money in such industry? If you do not think science has proven raw foods are not beneficial for pets, you might want to start doing your research in veterinary University journals where people actually have studied and have education and are doing Grade 1 research, not just reading what people feel like writing on the Internet.

    I would actually love to work for Hill’s. I think they are a great company, very ethical, and their diets are research-based, not myth-based. I would not, work for Purina though.

    There are no euthanized pets used to make pet food IN REPUTABLE pet food companies, that is nonsense.

    Yes, we do see plenty of pets that come in with issues caused by commercial pet foods but only by those foods that are not balanced and have excess nutrients that exacerbate disease hence why you should not feed your pets any Joe Smith brand, but go with companies that have done research and know what they are doing.

    You are all in an uproar with the FDA and seem to just want to battle what they are doing for X or Y reason and do not realize that foodborne pathogens whose vectors are raw foods are very dangerous to human health. The reason why raw food diets are the ones that are being inspected is because they are the ones that transmit these pathogens; these die with cooking, pasteurization, and during processing.

    Your battle is equivalent to having five barns of which only one has an infestation of roaches and getting all mad because the health department is only inspecting the one that has roaches versus the others.

    You can all continue to do your “research” reading blogs and online websites from any Joe Blow that does not have any formal training or education in animal nutrition but merely states their opinion and eventually all your pets will end up needing prescription diets at one point or another; that is, if they get to live enough years.

    • JH says:

      If raw food is the only food which contains pathogens, I wonder why it’s kibble that gets so many recalls for it? The FDA could only be deemed to have the best interests of humans in mind if they addressed that which has a history of making people sick after being handled…and that is kibble. The poster who stated that people are not aware of the dangers of handling kibble was spot on…and yet the conventional vet community is on a witch hunt for raw despite kibble’s horrible track record. Oh the irony. Sorry, but when the record points in one direction and the conventional vet community doggedly ignores it, it’s not hard to see why considering the money invested in their community by these big interests…. If you think only a FEW vets rec. raw, you are greatly mistaken. Your dismissive attitude towards those who have done their homework is appalling. All I can tell you is that times are changing and more people are waking up to the fact that the big pet food industry does not have the best interests of our animals in mind. Thankfully more vets are starting to pull off those horse blinders they put on in vet school. Clearly the brainwashing runs deeply. A little more open-minded objective observation and less arrogance will get you much further than sticking your head in the sand and refusing to see what’s in front of you. I can tell an aging kibble few dog from a raw one pretty much by sight. The former are the decrepit ones with little energy, decaying teeth, horrible coats and more evident health issues than imaginable. They smell and definitely do not exude vitality. Heartbreaking. I want more for my animals, and I am not alone.

    • Mandy B says:

      I wish vets didn’t believe that their education is the way it is, period, and every new study and advancement should be disregarded. There are plenty of vets and feline/canine nutritionists out there who support raw diets, home-cooked diets, etc. In fact, in cats, eating a diet of only kibble is a leading factor in feline kidney disease. So many people feed only dry kibble to their cats. Why aren’t their vets telling them not to do this? It’s a pet owner’s job to do their own research and find a vet who will support them. I have completely gone against my vet’s advice with my CRF cat after feeding prescription food for years (that she threw up daily – probably allergic to one of the many grains or fillers in the food). Guess what? Her labs are great, and she’s actually gained weight for the first time in years. And I’m taking my business to a new vet who supports raw and homemade diets and HATES “Big pet food” (sorry, I mean FEED). Those vets are out there too.

    • Kristi Johnson says:

      Mona – six years in college concentrating on animal nutrition? I’d like to know what college you went to. I went to the University of Minnesota and got a BS in agriculture. I concentrated on animal nutrition. Hogs, chickens, dairy cattle, beef cattle, sheep and turkey. There was a single “animal nutrition” class, the rest focused on specific animals, or forage and forage systems. Did you take two classes over and over?
      We learned what animals destined for slaughter needed to eat at a MINIMUM to produce at a MAXIMUM. The protein, fat and fiber content could come from anything if it met their nutritional needs and didn’t kill them. You, my dear, are full of it.

    • Sarah says:

      I have to stand with Mona on this one. My biggest problem with raw is simply as you suggest – that there is absolutely no credible science to back it up. It may turn out to be the best thing ever for our pets, BUT NO ONE KNOWS because no credible research has been done yet by any reputable universities or other scientific bodies. It’s all marketing hype saying your dog should eat like a dog in the wild. Sorry, I don’t want that for my dog or cat. It’s one of the reasons I rescue dogs and cats who are outside. Animals (even non-domesticated wolves, wild cats, etc) don’t live very long. Nutritionally, they rarely get what they need to thrive. They are forced to eat what they can find, not what’s best for them. I’d much rather feed my pet a diet developed by a nutritionist who has spent decades studying the true physiological needs of dogs and cats and honing a balanced diet that is going to extend the life of my pets.

      What continues to amaze me is how marketing and investment companies work to create to segments in the pet market so they can make lots and lots of money. And how they do it every single time is by saying, such and such is bad, and this new thing we’ve brainstormed in an advertising agency is now the BEST thing nutritionally for your dog. And because they are very good at communication and very good at scaring pet parents who really do just want what’s best, whole new segments of the industry are created. Is raw good? The marketing companies who have launched them want you to believe this is true. But they are unwilling to do any true science to prove it. Pet parents, why do you trust them? What have they really shown you that proves you are helping your dog long-term? Pointing to what wolves eat in the wild isn’t enough to convince me that my Malti-poo should only eat raw meat. (PS – wolves eat pumpkins, berries, melons and a host of other things besides just meat – try a google image search and you’ll see real pictures of wolves eating all kinds of different things besides raw meat).

      Ask questions!! Read real scientific journals. Find a true pet nutritionist who spent a decade of his life becoming a doctor who specializes in what your dog and cat really needs. Blogs are great, but there is a reason that your kids can’t site a blog as a source in a school paper. There are too many people who proclaim themselves “pet experts” who have no training and no education. First, prove to me that you really are an expert. Second, show me the scientific facts, not your opinions. Then, I’ll listen. I wish more pet parents were willing to hold marketing companies and “blog experts” accountable for the things they proclaim as truth.

      • Susan Thixton says:

        Being one of those “blog experts” you speak of, I hold advisory position to two AAFCO committees (Pet Food Committee and Ingredient Definitions Committee). I’ve been to every AAFCO meeting for the past four or five years (two meetings a year). I have had numerous private meetings and phone conference meetings with FDA. Having been around the pet food block a bit, I do have some experience to base opinion on.

        I can share with you – based on my personal experience in this industry – that most veterinary nutritionists do not question quality of ingredients. They have no qualms with rendered meat sourced from diseased animals (condemned meat). They only wish to ‘meet the numbers’ of nutritional adequacy. Feed grade, pet grade, inedible ingredients are perfectly acceptable sources of nutrition – per most of those veterinary nutritionists – as long as the pet food meets the numbers. Actually, most veterinary nutritionists work directly for the manufacturers that utilize these waste ingredients. These people say they are evidence based – science based. But there is not one bit of scientific evidence that shows waste inedible meats and vegetables are a superior source of nutrition.

        And as far as science based evidence proving the benefits of raw pet food, Answers Pet Food performed a one year feeding trial with the assistance of a veterinarian. The vets own pets were the study. You might want to look at that. As well, for minimally processed foods – Just Food for Dogs performed a one year AAFCO feeding trial on their foods. The results at the end of the one year were amazing – health benefits to the pets.

        People that adamantly defend raw or minimally processed pet foods do so because most faced a life or death situation with their own pets. They learned the hard way of the benefits to quality food. They saw first hand a pet that came back to health almost from the dead simply from changing their diet to real food. For people that adamantly defend waste ingredient, highly processed food – it is your opinion. But know that this website is people that have learned hard lessons – hard ‘truths about pet food’ – don’t bother trying to change our minds. We won’t go back to feeding our pets recycled garbage.

      • Mona and Sara– We are not intolerant, we are impatient with statements like you included in your treatise that have no basis in science either. May I suggest that you take only 5 minutes of your time and look up holistic veterinarian Dr. Ian Billinghurst who has been invited, and spoken around the world and most recently in the USA, to many conventional veterinarian communities about his research and opinion and approach to raw feeding? On a smaller scale look up Dr. Karen Becker who has made quite an impressive reputation for advocating balanced raw feeding using science as her reasoning. Because you don’t know about all the aspects of raw feeding doesn’t make us intolerant. And certainly not ignorant. There are also many references in Susan and Lola’s comments above that might make this an opportunity for you to learn more about how you can make those animal rescues you are doing even healthier. I do wish you and them the best!

    • Lola says:

      Mona, you have two degrees and spent six years studying animal nutrition and came to the conclusion that processed commercial pet food is best for pets? That’s disheartening, common sense (not the internet) tells me that a balanced diet of whole fresh unprocessed foods would nutritionally exceed a diet of