Is it healthy to feed BARF?

Er det sundt at fodre med BARF ?

...I have to admit that I think my work has great interest and influence in my life. I love getting up in the morning, or actually I don't because I'm a B person, but I love my work. For those of you who don't know, I work on a daily basis with antibiotic resistance, mainly in foodborne pathogens (bacteria that can cause disease).

It's even more exciting when my job collides with my other great passion - dogs!

Raw feeding of dogs (BARF - Bone and Raw Food) has become a trend among dog owners in recent years, who believe that feeding raw meat is more natural for dogs, and more reminiscent of the wolf's eating habits.

The feed is raw, deep-frozen residual products from slaughter, which must neither be cooked nor heat treated. But just like the meat we humans consume, the leftovers can contain bacteria, which are not killed by the lack of cooking.

It is not all bacteria that cause diseases through the feed, but some of them can be carriers of antibiotic resistance which can be spread to other and more dangerous bacteria.

Bacteria have previously been found with the transferable ESBL enzyme that can break down antibiotics such as penicillin and cause resistance in poultry.

A study by the Swedish Veterinary Institute raises concerns

Therefore, the Swedish Veterinary Institute SVA (Statens veterinärmedicinska anstalt) has investigated the occurrence of E. coli bacteria with ESBL in dog food from raw poultry slaughtered in Sweden, Norway and Finland. In the examination of 39 samples of frozen raw dog food from eight different manufacturers, it was found that all samples contained coliform bacteria, and that nine of the samples also contained the ESBL enzyme that creates resistance.

This raises several concerns. Among other things, the BARF feed in most households will most often be handled in the same kitchen as the preparation and consumption of food for the household's residents. There is therefore a high risk of cross-contamination and that people are exposed to the bacteria from the feed, or that the ESBL enzyme is transferred to bacteria that can cause diseases in the gastrointestinal region in humans.

However, no cases of spread to humans have yet been observed, but it is of the utmost importance to maintain good kitchen hygiene to continue to avoid this.

Another concern is that dogs fed BARF food are most likely to become carriers of antibiotic resistance. Bacteria and resistance which can later be spread to the environment through the dog's faeces.

Quite common bacteria in our environment can thereby acquire antibiotic resistance, and the spread can make it even more difficult to treat diseases in the future.

Yours sincerely

Louise Roer - Foderboxen's assistance dog trainer

Cand. Poly. in Biotechnology and Ph.d. in Molecular Microbiology with a focus on the spread of antibiotic resistance between bacteria

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See which feed you can buy at Osmedkæ here: Click here for cat food or here for dog food

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