Today in our fast food world, many of our foods are processed in large manufacturing plants instead of our own kitchens. These facilities are able to handle millions of pounds of a variety of foods a year, many running continuously, twenty-four hours a day. When you are handling this much food, the chances for confusion and contamination are greatly increased. In an effort to protect the general public, our government has setguidelines. One of those guidelines is for zero pathogens in select foods which also includes pet foods.
Foods that are naturally raised and naturally produced are consumed by every creature on this planet without any cooking or processing. Do these foods, including raw plants and animals contain pathogens? Are E.Coli, Salmonella, and other living organisms really as dangerous as we have been led to believe?
Most of these pathogens are naturally occurring organisms and are ingested by all life forms universally. If they were that harmful, wouldn’t the planet be devoid of life?
Diarrhea, vomiting and gastric discomfort, usually following a meal is often diagnosed as food poisoning.These same symptoms also represent the body’s natural method of housecleaning most toxins. In fact, if you read the warning labels on most medications along with household and lawn products, these symptoms are always listed as side effects. In many cases, it is even recommended that you induce vomiting or a method of cleansing. This is a first line of the body’s defense.
Adiagnosis of E Coli or Salmonella is usually made with little or no testing being done and when testing is done, just the presence of the pathogen is not an accurate confirmation of disease. In fact, most recalls are for suspected pathogen contamination and result in few people or pets being affected and no conclusive evidence of the cause.
Currently, there are ongoing worldwide studies indicating that these pathogens are necessary and beneficial to sustain life itself. These pathogens actually carry nutritious body building qualities as well as neutralize and remove other dangerous toxins.
So why is there urgency for all this processing and is it really safer for us? Is it better to use toxic synthetic chemicals than to consume what is produced naturally? For instance, many processors spray foods with a number of disinfectants such as chlorine. Have you ever added bleach to your favorite recipe? Animal’s bodies are designed to protect and heal themselves. Stomach acid will destroy and aid in the digestion of even the most virulent of pathogens. If however, we change that normal gastric chemistry with medications such as antacids and antibiotics, we lower the body’s defense and also the immune system.
When you acquire “zero pathogens,” it means less nutritious foods. The addition of toxins, the destruction of vitamins, enzymes and nutrients make the food less beneficial and harder to digest. Even minimal processing such as grinding of meat and cutting of fruits and vegetables accelerates oxidation that not only changes the taste but breaks down the nutrients.
Synthetic nutrients and additional flavors must be added for enhancement however, this definitely lowers quality. In pet foods, many consumers are under the impression that kibble is a safer product than fresh food. Kibble is actually one of the most highly processed foods on the market with almost all the ingredients in it being processed as well. When you read the ingredient label, if you cannot buy it in the food section of your supermarket, then it’s not food or it’s processed. Some national brands are 90% or more non-food. All the additives and processing render the food as difficult to digest and actually plug up the system similar to having a clogged drain. Please realize that almost all recalls of all foods and pet foods are mostly processed brands.
In conclusion, yes, the quest for pathogen free foods can potentially be fatal to our pets. We must remember that nature has provided a pretty perfect system that has worked for centuries. Can we really improve on what we were naturally given? Which choice would you trust?
Bill Piechocki, nutritionist and Dr Diane Sudduth, DVM are partners in Fiesta Pet Deli in Pompano Beach, FL and co-hosts of the PetHealthCafe.com radio show. Our 40 years in the animal field has provided us unparallel vision and information which we pass to our clients on a daily basis. We can be reached at www.PetHealthCafe.com or 800-940-7387