FDA Rough On Raw Food for Dogs

Raw pet foods have increased in popularity and availability commercially in the last few years. This is a result of pet owners becoming more educated about the compromisation of safety and quality nutrition in pet feeds, as well as a rise in pet health disorders. Pet owners are searching for better solutions, including raw pet foods.
However, regulatory authorities aren’t happy about this.
Regulatory officials are protecting a broad platform of revenue from commercial dog feed. They are striking out against raw pet food companies. And at the same time they are letting the “feed” companies out of law enforcement.
Here’s how it works.

FDA and State Department of Agriculture Testing Raw Pet Food

There are some correct procedures required by law to test a pet food. Here we’ll talk specifically about testing requirements for raw pet foods.

Use Frozen, Never Thawed Samples.
Raw pet foods are frozen for safe transportation and storage. Thawing the product during transit increases the chance of possible contamination. The samples collected for testing should remain frozen.

Collect Enough for Split Samples.
Whichever regulatory authority is taking the measure to test a raw pet food must collect enough of the product to split the sample with the company distributing that product. The split sample should be immediately sent to the company and should stay frozen.
This protects the pet food company from false regulatory authority claims about their products. The pet food company can test the product to ensure they get the same results that any regulatory authorities might say they have found.

‘Presumptive Positive’
If a regulatory official finds a problem, a ‘presumptive positive,’ with the product, say it tested positive for salmonella, they should first alert the company.

“Initial tests are followed by more detailed testing to confirm the species type of Salmonella and to provide the manufacturer with final positive results.”

Provide Chain of Custody Documentation.

“The regulatory authority is required to provide the pet food company with full disclosure to chain of custody documentation should an issue with testing be found. Chain of custody documentation with a raw pet food is significantly important as the product has to remain frozen for accurate results.”

Now it is up to the regulatory authority to provide the company with their split sample, and wait for the company’s testing to confirm the ‘presumptive positive.’

Final Step: Enforce a Recall of the Affected Product. 

The order in which this step comes is important. Authorities should not call for recalls until there is proof of contamination or other danger (i.e., mineral imbalance, ingredient exceeds standards, etc.).

“If split sample testing is confirmed by the pet food manufacturer, steps to recall the pet food are coordinated between the regulatory agency and the pet food manufacturer. If the split sample testing is not confirmed by the manufacturer (results do not validate agency findings), a deliberation process begins between the agency and the manufacturer.”

This process is lengthy and detailed, requiring communication between the authorities and pet food companies.

Though it may take time to get to a recall, this process ensures the recalls are necessary and that the testing is valid. The procedure protects the company from dishonest regulatory testing, and your trust in pet food companies remains intact when there are only accurate recalls.

Where Regulatory Officials Have Gone Wrong with Raw

The officials have committed multiple offenses in testing raw pet foods.
These include: not sending the company their split sample for testing, delaying the split sample, or delivering the product thawed, and pressuring for recalls based on ‘presumptive positives.’
Multiple companies have been pressured to recall based on only the ‘presumptive positive’ without further testing. And the offenses keep piling up.
  • Raw pet food samples are most often purchased from independent pet food stores. There are numerous instances of a State Department of Agriculture taking the pet food from a independent pet food store without paying for the product. When questioned about payment for the pet food, the regulatory authority told store owners ‘get payment from the pet food company’.
  • On multiple occasions, a State Department of Agriculture representative entered an independent pet food store looking for a specific brand and lot number of raw pet food – stating to the pet store employee or store owner ‘this food is adulterated and will be recalled’. When questioned about the adulteration, the State Department of Agriculture representative admitted ‘they’ (the agency) had not tested the pet food yet – but insisted (prior to testing) the raw pet food was adulterated. (Personal opinion – this is evidence that outside parties such as Big Pet Feed is testing raw pet food and providing results directly to regulatory authorities. Perhaps even fabricating results.)
  • – truthaboutpetfood.com

The Imbalance

We are becoming profoundly aware of the reasons for recalls in raw pet foods. However, there are almost no recalls for pet feeds (kibbles and canned feeds) to tell us about the current risks in these products. And let me assure you, there are risks. Authorities are just overlooking them.

We Should Thank These Officials

Really. It appears the authorities are doing us a disfavor by ignoring possible risks in all pet foods that aren’t raw. Still, they gave us two valuable pieces of information with their unconformity in testing raw pet foods more than commercial pet feeds.

Number One – We know there has been a market shift. These authorities have historically protected the major sources of revenue in the pet feed industry: kibble and canned feeds. Due to their pointed strike against raw pet foods this year, we know that more people have become educated about their dog’s nutritional needs. Way to go pet owners!

Number Two – Pet owners can be sure that their raw pet foods are the safest possible on the market. Because, we know the authorities are picking on even the smallest details, down to the size of the fish in freeze-dried dog treats! While they are ignoring pet feed products (kibble, canned, semi-moist) and not even testing them, they are heavily screening raw foods. Thank you for the safe choices!

So, maybe this wasn’t the point of the FDA or State Departments of Agriculture. Instead, they want us to believe that raw foods are more dangerous and more often contaminated than kibble or canned pet foods.

However, thanks to years of research in the pet food consumer advocate community we know that there are at least equal risks in pet feed products as there are in raw pet foods. 

And, thanks now to FDA and State Departments of Agriculture, we know we can choose highly nutritious, fresh meals for our dogs with even less risk of contamination.

To learn more go to TruthAboutPetFood.com where Susan Thixton shares more details on the testing of pet foods. 

– Cassy Kay

This article was originally published on June 5, 2018. 


Thixton, Susan. “Risk Assessment: Raw pet food or the Government regulating it?” truthaboutpetfood.com. May 3, 2018. Web. Accessed Jun. 5, 2018. http://truthaboutpetfood.com/risk-assessment-raw-pet-food-or-the-government-regulating-it/

Thixton, Susan. “Live Salmonella or Dead Salmonella – both cause illness” truthaboutpetfood.com. March 29, 2018. Web. Accessed Jun. 5, 2018. http://truthaboutpetfood.com/live-salmonella-or-dead-salmonella-both-cause-illness/

Thixton, Susan. “How Long Has It Been Since We’ve Seen a Kibble Recall?” truthaboutpetfood.com. Feb. 27, 2018. Web. Accessed Jun. 5, 2018. http://truthaboutpetfood.com/how-long-has-it-been-since-weve-seen-a-kibble-recall/


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