Exploring food safety perceptions and self-reported practices of pet owners, providing raw meat-based diets to pets
Evans, Ellen W.
International Association for Food Protection
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The growing popularity of raw meat-based diets for pets is accompanied by an increasing concern regarding possible health implications of this practice for pet owners, due to the storage and preparation of raw meat. This study aimed to explore pet owners’ knowledge and perceptions about safety of raw meat-based feeding and determine self-reported food safety practices during raw meat-based pet food preparation. An online questionnaire was distributed via social media platforms and completed by pet owners, practicing raw meat-based feeding (n=174). Almost all participants (95%) reported confidence that their pets’ raw meat-based food is safe. Two thirds of respondents (67%) reported to have researched food safety information, regarding raw meat-based feeding, yet only 8% asked a veterinarian for food safety advice. Respondents were aware of pathogens that may be present in raw meat-based diets, and of food safety practices, however, they did not report implementation of appropriate food safety practices consistently. Malpractices, such as rinsing raw meat (27%) and the absence of segregation of utensils and kitchen surfaces (52%), were reported. The risk to pet owners of foodborne illness associated with raw meat-based feeding was perceived to be ‘low’ by 89% of pet owners. Participants perceived low susceptibility to foodborne illness, but high self-efficacy, which may be an indication of ‘optimistic bias’. This study has identified the need for increasing pet owners’ awareness of the possible risks associated with raw meat-based feeding of animals on human health. The provision of comprehensive food safety information, intended to target the perceptions of pet owners identified in this study, is needed to improve pet owners’ food safety practices, in order to reduce the potential food safety risks associated with raw meat preparation and storage in the domestic environment.
Journal of Food Protection;
Bulochova, V. and Evans, E.W. (2021) 'Exploring food safety perceptions and self-reported practices of pet owners, providing raw meat-based diets to pets',Journal of Food Protection. https://doi.org/10.4315/JFP-20-338
Article published in Journal of Food Protection available at https://doi.org/10.4315/JFP-20-338
Cardiff Metropolitan University (Grant ID: Cardiff Metropolian (Internal))
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