FDA Says Bacteria in Pet Food May Pose Danger to Owners

Pet food that is contaminated with bacteria may not make your dog sick, but it still may cause illness in humans, suggests a new study by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Researchers around the country examined stool samples from dogs who appeared to have gastrointestinal illness. They compared these to samples from dogs who had no signs of stomach upset. Nearly 3,000 dogs have been tested.

Levels of infection were low, with no more than 100 dogs tested positive, said lead researcher Renate Reimschuessel, V.M.D., Ph.D., and head of FDAÕs Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network. Half the pets who tested positive showed no signs of illness. These animals might spread disease to humans, even if they donÕt appear to be sick. Researchers, also, found a higher rate of contamination among pets who eat raw food.

The study should be completed by 2016. "Ultimately, we're hoping to learn ways FDA can help minimize the incidence of foodborne illness associated with pet foods and treats," Reimschuessel said in an FDA statement.

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