Listeria in raw foods

Study finds Listeria in raw pet foods

​Posted Oct. 1, 2014

In a recent study, one-third of samples of raw dog or cat foods ordered online were positive for Listeria organisms.

An article published in the September edition of Foodborne Pathogens and Disease,  “Investigation of Listeria, Salmonella, and toxigenic Escherichia coli in various pet foods,” indicates 65 of 196 samples of raw dog or cat foods were positive for Listeria, including 32 that were positive for L monocytogenes. In addition, 15 of the 196 samples were positive for Salmonella and two were positive for shiga toxin–producing E coli.

Electron micrograph of a Listeria bacterium in tissue (Courtesy of CDC)

“This study showed that raw pet foods may harbor food safety pathogens, such as Listeria monocytogenes and Salmonella,” the article states. “Consumers should handle these products carefully, being mindful of the potential risks to human and animal health.”

Among 480 dry or semimoist pet foods bought from local stores, only two dry cat foods were found to have contamination. One each contained Salmonella and L greyii.

The authors also found that two of 190 jerky-type treats were positive for shiga toxin–producing E coli, and one was positive for Listeria. None of the 180 dry exotic pet food samples tested were found to contain the pathogens involved in the study.

The Food and Drug Administration’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network conducted the study in collaboration with the Food Emergency Response Network and its Microbiology Cooperative Agreement Program laboratories.

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