On July 30th, the Food Standards Agency announced that Raw Treat Pet Food Ltd has been obliged to recall its frozen raw beef, chicken, lamb and chicken & tripe food due to the presence of Listeria monocytogenes.
Listeria monocytogenes are pathogenic bacteria that cause the infection listeriosis. L. monocytogenes are tough. They can reproduce with or without oxygen, in acidic and salty conditions, in high and low temperatures and in dry conditions. Bacteria can multiply and persist in food processing plants for more than 10 years and so are very hard to control, making them one of the most virulent foodborne pathogens and zoonoses. Listeriosis cases are increasing hugely in Europe, with 2,161 confirmed cases in humans and 210 reported deaths in 2014, 16% higher than in 2013. 20% to 30% of foodborne listeriosis infections in high-risk individuals may be fatal. More than 90% of people infected with listeriosis require hospital treatment, often in intensive care. The World Health Organisation estimated that worldwide in 2010, listeriosis caused illness in 23,150 people, 24% of whom (n=25,463) died.
Most healthy people and animals can cope with low levels of infection by L. monocytogenes (and other pathogens shed by dogs fed on raw food) but young, old or immuno-compromised people and animals are at risk from serious illness and death. Many pathogens are extremely difficult to eradicate, even with the strictness of household hygiene routines.
This is the fourth raw pet food alert (the three previous alerts concerned high levels of salmonella) in the past 24 weeks. In contrast, there was one recall of complete dry food in February 2019 because of a manufacturing error that led to higher than recommended levels of vitamin D being present.
Feed raw and you may think that your dog is in the best of health but you could be responsible for serious illness and death in an old dog or a puppy or a person by spreading pathogens and helping to add to antibiotic resistance.