Ensuring Food Safety in Natural Diets for Dogs and Cats through Freezing
As pet ownership evolves, there’s a growing trend of humanization, extending to their nutritional needs, mirroring developments in human dietary preferences (Viana et al., 2020).
As a consequence, the demand for more natural products and human-grade food ingredients for dogs and cats has significantly grown, resulting in an increased interest in diets commonly referred to as ‘natural diets’.
This quest for innovative products has also spurred the need for methods to manufacture and preserve these foods until they reach the shelves, aiming not only to enhance palatability for dogs and cats but also to ensure food safety. Consequently, investment in manufacturing and storage technologies for these foods, alongside adherence to good manufacturing practices (GMP) in facilities, has become crucial to meet the rising market demands.
|Similar to human food, animal feed is vulnerable to microbiological contamination, particularly when raw diets are involved, which can lead to infections like those caused by Salmonella spp. and Campylobacter spp. (Joffe and Schlesinger, 2002; Bojanić et al., 2017), as well as other bacterial strains (Weese et al., 2005) and parasites (Ahmed et al., 2021).
Studies on raw diets have revealed that although most animals do not exhibit clinical symptoms, the dissemination of Salmonella spp. can persist in the environment for up to a week (Finley et al., 2007).
As a zoonotic disease, this environmental contamination can lead to disease onset in both animals and immunocompromised humans.
Animals can become contaminated by ingesting these potential pathogens in their food. In turn, their guardians can be contaminated through direct contact with the food during its handling, with the contaminated animal, with surfaces and household utensils used for food preparation, or even by ingesting food with cross-contamination (Van Bree et al., 2018).
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