Moving on from bacteria, two types of parasites were identified in the RMBDs: Sarcocystis species (11 percent) and Toxoplasma gondii (6 percent). The former rarely causes noticeable disease in pets and humans, whereas the latter travels into the mammalian brain and has been linked to changes in behavior and even schizophrenia.
If you purchase frozen raw pet food, the low storage temperatures will inactivate most parasites, but some RMBD enthusiasts opt for fresher options. The paper cautions that “this study does show that if raw pet food is purchased fresh and prepared at home without freezing, there is a potential risk of parasitic infections in pet animals, which can result in shedding of oocysts in the environment, thereby leading to potential additional exposure to human beings.”
Despite being a small study that focused on only a handful of RMBD brands, the findings are in line with microbiological studies of raw meat performed in other countries, suggesting most if not all raw pet food harbors hitchhiking pathogens.
“Feeding raw meat to pets has been practised all over the world as shown by the several reports from Australia, the USA, Canada and Europe. This means that this issue is of global importance,” conclude the the authors.
And if you're thinking that the benefits to your pets might outweigh the risk, the authors deliver further bad news: The health claims touted on product packaging or ads are merely marketing, and not based on published research.