You might have seen a news story or two published on a pet food study just released by the FDA finding raw pet foods to have a high incident level of dangerous bacteria. But wait one minute, there are some big holes in the peer reviewed paper (at tax payer expense). Was this study outcome based?
Outcome based research is a term used for science performed with the intent for results to prove a particular outcome. The research is ‘set up’ to reach the wanted outcome. It is biased science.
Just about everywhere in the news of late has been mention of recent FDA science confirming risks to dangerous bacteria linked to raw pet foods. The ‘science’ appears to tell consumers raw pet food carries a much higher risk to bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella, and E coli than kibble foods. But wait one minute there FDA…the paper “Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and Toxigenic Escherichia coli in Various Pet Foods” has some pretty big holes in their science.
The outcome of this two year tax dollar paid for study found that in 480 kibble and semi-moist cat and dog food samples tested, only one was found to contain Salmonella.
But with raw food, the study tested 196 products and found 15 to contain Salmonella bacteria, 32 tested positive for Listeria monocytogenes, 33 raw pet foods tested positive for other Listeria species, and 8 more samples tested positive for Shinga toxin-producing strains of E coli.
Sounds ominous doesn’t it? But…
The FDA funded science states the research was a “blinded study”. A blind study means the scientists testing the foods were not made aware of what brands of foods they were testing.
The kibble and semi-moist pet foods tested were “purchased from local stores”…“packaged in bags for retail sale”.
With the raw foods, “Laboratories received” samples “usually frozen” and were “comprised ground meat- or sausage-type tubes”.
Several serious concerns…
- It does not appear, per the wording of the published paper of this study that the kibble foods were actually blinded to the scientists. If one segment of the study was performed blind, and another was performed open – the two Phases of the study cannot be compared.
- It does appear that the raw foods were shipped to each lab blind. However, the study does not clarify how the raw pet foods were segmented and sent as blind samples to each lab.a. If raw foods were frozen tubes of ground meat – was the food thawed to be segmented into samples and then refrozen?
b. If the raw foods were segmented into samples and remained frozen (cut with a saw into samples), was each of the 196 samples thawed per each manufacturer instructions (refrigerated to thaw)?
c. Were the raw foods thawed at room temperature? If so, how long were foods left at room temperature before testing?
Certainly a scientific study emphasizing the consumer risk to raw meat pet foods, would have clarified their (scientists) proper handling methods of the raw foods…but in this research there is no mention of how the raw foods were handled. There is no mention if the raw foods were thawed in shipping, there is no mention if the foods were allowed to sit at room temperature for a day or more (allowing bacteria to grow) before testing.
Every quote made in this tax payer funded research regarding the risk to consumers of Salmonella or other bacteria were all linked to outbreaks from kibble pet foods. They have not one quoted instance of a link from a raw pet food to human illness. Not one. But the paper does mention a study of raw meat fed to zoo animals with incidents of Salmonella. Why would a zoo animal raw meat study be cited in a paper to address the concerns of pet food? Consumers don’t purchase zoo animal raw meats to feed their cats and dogs.
I have numerous questions into the FDA and to the contact person for this study. When I receive responses, they will be shared. In the meantime, don’t believe everything you read about this study. So far, when you look at it closely it certain appears to be outcome based science.
The paper tells us what – perhaps – was their intended outcome…“Our study supports the conclusion that Salmonella prevalence in dry feeds has decreased, since we found only one Salmonella positive out of 480 dry and semimoist cat and dog food samples tested.”
Again, when responses to questions are received, they will be posted.
Wishing you and your pet(s) the best,
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