Transmission of Bacterial Zoonotic Pathogens between Pets and Humans
Recent Salmonella outbreaks associated with dry pet food and treats raised the level of concern for these products as vehicle of pathogen exposure for both pets and their owners. The need to characterize the microbiological and risk profiles of this class of products is currently not supported by sufficient specific data. This systematic review summarizes existing data on the main variables needed to support an ingredients-to-consumer quantitative risk model to (1) describe the microbial ecology of bacterial pathogens in the dry pet food production chain, (2) estimate pet exposure to pathogens through dry food consumption, and (3) assess human exposure and illness incidence due to contact with pet food and pets in the household. Risk models populated with the data here summarized will provide a tool to quantitatively address the emerging public health concerns associated with pet food and the effectiveness of mitigation measures. Results of such models can provide a basis for improvements in production processes, risk communication to consumers, and regulatory action.