The extrusion process is acclaimed as one of the most efficient and safest manufacturing processes for developing dry food items intended to be shelf-stable with an extensive shelf life. Similarly, the fat rendering process results in a safe and sterile product that can be utilized for flavorings or nutrient enrichments. Both methods have been widely accepted for the production of safe shelf-stable dry pet foods and pet food related products. Despite the safety associated with these products and their processing methods, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued 235 recalls from January 1, 2010 to April 1, 2018 concerning pet foods, livestock feeds, pet treats, and other animal specialty items. Of the 235 total recalls, possible contamination due to Salmonella was responsible for 124 recalls and recall expansions. Possible contamination due to Listeria was responsible for 19 recalls and recall expansions; nine of these cases overlapped with possible Salmonella contamination recalls. One Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), E. coli O128, was implicated in a raw pet food recalled March 26, 2018. It is suggested that the addition of fats and other nutrient compounds, following the primary cooking process of pet foods, could contribute to the introduction of pathogenic organisms in the final product. It has been shown that bacteria are more likely to survive in heated environments when lipids are present. Animal derived fats, specifically beef tallow, pig lard, and duck fat, have not been associated with having antimicrobial properties. The potential pathogenic harboring capacity of animal fats should be further studied.
Published Date: 2018-05-08; Received Date: 2018-04-16