Skeptic News: American Veterinary Association Frowns on Raw Food Diets

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) approved a resolution that discourages feeding raw or undercooked animal-source proteins to cats or dogs when pathogens have not been eliminated.

The policy, passed by the AVMA’s House of Delegates on Aug. 3, 2012, noted that cooking and pasteurization are the “traditional” methods for eliminating pathogenic organisms and that methods such as irradiation are “being developed and implemented.”

The AVMA acted because of the health risk to pets and people:

“Cats and dogs may develop food-borne illness after being fed animal-source protein contaminated with…organisms if adequate steps are not taken to eliminate pathogens,” the organization reported. “Secondary transmission of these pathogens to humans (e.g., pet owners) has also been reported.”

 The stand brought an immediate response from supporters of raw diets. Matthew Koss, president of San Francisco-based Primal Pet Foods responded:

“It should be noted that the AVMA opinion is just that and should not be misinterpreted as federal or state law or regulation, primal implements a stringent testing program to ensure that all of our products are pathogen free prior to being distributed for sale in the marketplace. Primal Pet Foods adheres to all FDA standards for the manufacturing and marketing of pet food products, and we will continue to maintain our quality and safety standards with the goal of providing quality pet nutrition for dogs and cats.”

The policy does not forbid AVMA-member veterinarians from recommending a raw diet to pet owners, but it encourages owners to feed commercially prepared or home-cooked food to cats and dogs.

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