November 01, 2007


 FDA's advice about handling pet food

Posted Oct. 15, 2007 

Stepping up its efforts to minimize the incidence of illness associated with pet foods and treats, the Food and Drug Administration in August issued handling tips to reduce the potential for foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella to infect people and pets.

Salmonella in pet foods and treats can potentially be transferred to people ingesting or handling the products, the agency stated in the Aug. 6 Consumer Update.

The FDA offers guidance on safely buying, preparing, and storing pet foods and treats, and cautions against raw food diets. Before and after handling pet foods and treats, for example, the agency advises consumers to wash their hands for 20 seconds with hot water and soap. Owners are also urged to keep pets from storage and preparation areas.

Given that the food is destined to be eaten by the family pets, the guidance might seem unsettling, but FDA spokeswoman Laura Alvey notes that the safe-handling procedures for pet food are similar to those for human food.

Alvey said the FDA recommends washing one's hands before and after handling the pet food and treats "because the product is not human edible and is not a guaranteed sterile product."

The reason for keeping pets from food storage and preparation areas is to keep the pets themselves from contaminating the food, she said.

The FDA's Safe Handling Tips
for Pet Foods and Treats
are posted at