The Microbiological Risks of Raw Meat Pet Food and How to Avoid Cross Contamination in Home Kitchens

Raw meat pet food has gained popularity among pet owners who believe it offers health benefits for their animals. However, handling raw meat in home kitchens poses significant microbiological risks, including cross-contamination, which can affect both human and pet health.

Microbiological Risks

Raw meat can be a breeding ground for harmful bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. These pathogens can easily spread from raw meat to kitchen surfaces, utensils, and hands, leading to cross-contamination. When humans come into contact with these bacteria, it can result in severe foodborne illnesses characterised by symptoms such as diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and fever. Additionally, pets themselves can become ill from these bacteria, and they can also shed these pathogens, further increasing the risk of spreading them within the household.

Rules to Follow When Handling Raw Meat Pet Food

To minimise the risk of cross-contamination and ensure the safety of your household, it is essential to follow strict hygiene practices when handling raw meat pet food:

  1. Separate Raw Meat from Other Foods: Always store raw pet food separately from human food. Use different cutting boards, knives, and utensils for raw pet food to prevent cross-contamination.
  2. Wash Hands Thoroughly: After handling raw meat pet food, wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. This helps remove any bacteria that may have transferred onto your skin.
  3. Sanitise Kitchen Surfaces: Clean and disinfect all surfaces that come into contact with raw meat, including countertops, cutting boards, and utensils. Use a kitchen disinfectant or a solution of bleach and water.
  4. Store Properly: Keep raw meat pet food in sealed containers in the refrigerator or freezer. Ensure it is kept at a safe temperature to prevent bacterial growth.
  5. Avoid Cross-Contamination: Do not allow raw meat pet food to come into contact with ready-to-eat foods. This includes foods that won’t be cooked further, such as salads or fruits.
  6. Dispose of Waste Properly: Discard any packaging, used gloves, and other waste materials immediately after handling raw meat pet food. Use a sealed bin to contain the waste.
  7. Educate Family Members: Ensure all members of the household are aware of the risks and proper handling procedures for raw meat pet food to maintain a safe environment.

By adhering to these rules, you can help protect your family and pets from the harmful effects of bacterial contamination. Proper handling of raw meat pet food not only ensures the health and safety of your pets but also prevents the spread of dangerous pathogens in your home.

For further reading on the risks of raw pet food, visit Food Safety News.


Ensuring the safe handling of raw meat pet food is crucial for both pet health and household safety. By following the outlined practices, pet food manufacturers can not only ensure the wellbeing of pets but also gain the trust of their customers. For expert microbiological testing and food safety solutions, consider partnering with FCS, an ISO 17025 SANAS accredited laboratory.