Safe Handling of Commercially Prepared Pet Food and Pet Treats

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In several instances, commercially prepared pet food and treats have been recalled by manufacturers because of contamination with organisms such as Salmonella. Salmonella and other microorganisms may cause serious illness to the pets that eat them as well as to the people that handle the food and treats.  Animals that become infected after ingesting contaminated food may also pose a risk to the people they come in contact with. The people that are most at risk from these infections are the young, elderly, pregnant, and immune-compromised. Pet owners can take several precautions to minimize the risk of illness from contaminated pet food and treats in their pets and themselves.


  • Purchase only products that are in good condition at the time of sale. Avoid packages that are damaged, such as dented cans or ripped and torn bags.


  • Wash hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap after handling pet food and treats.
  • Wash pet food bowls, dishes, and scooping utensils with hot, soapy water after each use.
  • Use a dedicated spoon or scoop to place pet food in the bowl—do not use the bowl itself.
  • Dispose of spoiled or old pet food properly by placing it in a securely tied plastic bag and place it in a covered trash receptacle. 


  • Promptly refrigerate or discard of any unused or leftover wet or moist pet food in a refrigerator set at 40°F or below.
  • Dry pet food and treats should be stored in a cool, dry place at less than 80°F.
  • If possible, store dry pet food in its original bag inside a clean, dedicated container with a lid—if the original bag is not used, save the part of the bag with the date of manufacture, lot number, and expiration date or best-by date.