Warning on raw pet food risks

FROZEN, raw or undercooked food may not only pose a potential health risk to pets but also to their owners, the Consumer Council (消費者委員會) warns.

The council issued the warning after three of 17 samples it tested contained traces of salmonella.

The products tested were 11 items of food for dogs, five for cats and one for both cats and dogs.

The chairman of the publicity and community relations committee, Michael Hui King-man (許敬文), said pets infected by salmonella could suffer from diarrhoea, vomiting and fever, while humans are not entirely free from infection.

“Apart from direct physical contact with the raw pet food, humans may get infected from handling the pets’ faeces or food containers,” Hui said.

The council said pet owners should be aware of hygiene and wash their hands after touching such products.

Hui reminded owners who wish to purchase raw pet food that the humid weather in Hong Kong will make it easier for it to be contaminated during delivery.

Raw pet food for cats and dogs has grown in popularity as many owners believe the natural ingredients can help their pet’s health and also the appearance of their coat.

Veterinarian Patrick Chong Pak-kin (莊柏堅) said it is unwise to risk pets’ health for coat quality.

He also said raw meat components in pet food contain higher fat, which will make pets prone to kidney problems.

The council’s chief executive, Gilly Wong Fung-han (黃鳳嫺), said the government should introduce legislation to regulate food safety in order to protect pets and their owners.

Currently, Hong Kong has no legislation to regulate pet food, lagging behind its neighbours like Taiwan.

(The Standard, Kinling Lo, 16 October 2015)

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