raw-food-safety

This post is sponsored by Darwin’s Natural Pet Food and contains affiliate links*

Embraced for decades by holistically oriented pet parents and holistic veterinarians, raw feeding is becoming more mainstream as pet parents look for alternatives to feeding highly processed commercial pet foods.

Cat parents who are new to raw feeding are often concerned about the safety of raw diets. Sadly, there is a lot of misinformation about the purported risks of feeding raw in the mainstream veterinary community, and it’s not unusual for vets to tell their clients that raw feeding is dangerous. Dr. Karen Becker, a holistic veterinarian who writes extensively for Mercola Pets, dispels many of these myths in this comprehensive article.

Reputable raw food manufacturers are taking multiple precautions to ensure that their diets are safe. Today, we’re taking a look at what Darwin’s Natural Pet Food is doing to keep their food safe without compromising the true raw nature of it.

Safety begins with sourcing

All of Darwin’s high-quality meats and vegetables come from trusted farms. This is an integral piece to maintaining quality and safety. All of their meats meet or exceed USDA standards for human consumption.

Darwin’s uses organic acids to remove surface bacteria right where pathogens live. These organic compounds inactivate or inhibit the growth of spoilage of microorganisms as well as pathogens. Some commonly used organic acids include acetic, lactic, citric, malic, and ascorbic acid. This intervention step eliminates potential bad bacteria or pathogens without disrupting nutrients or healthy bacteria.

All of Darwin’s partner farms use an organic acid before sending the ingredients to Darwin’s. During production, Darwin’s then uses an organic acid bath as an extra prevention step. This keeps meals completely raw and completely safe for pets.

Organic acid is a very common safety process not only for pet food but for human foods as well. It is approved by the FDA.

Other food safety methods

There are many different safety procedures other companies use to ensure safety.

High Pressure Processing (HPP)

One of the most popular methods within the raw space is called HPP, or High Pressure Processing. During this process, food becomes sterilized, which makes it very difficult to preserve healthy bacteria and enzymes. Unfortunately, while HPP is efficient in killing bacteria, it also can degrade vital nutrients. Darwin’s believes that raw pet food should be as minimally processed as possible. They don’t consider pet food that uses HPP to be truly raw.

Fermentation

Fermentation convert sugars into lactic acid, acetic acid and CO2. Those antimicrobial compounds help fight off pathogens, competing with other microbes for nutrition sources. Darwin’s has not used this method.

Gently cooking food

Gently cooking pet food is a common recommendation and effectively kills potentially present surface bacteria, but obviously, this means the food is no longer raw.  Darwin’s believes that feeding raw, gently cooking raw food is a great options for kittens, senior cats, and cats with compromised immune systems.

Why Darwin’s chose organic acid as their main safety method

Darwin’s chose organic acid as their main safety method because of its effectiveness in mitigating pathogens while preserving nutrients and keeping food as minimally processed as possible. Organic acids are naturally occurring in ingredients like meats and vegetables, so the pet food remains completely natural and healthy.

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Allegra eats Darwin’s despite being on low dose steroids

I’ve been feeding Darwin’s for about five years, and it’s Allegra’s paws down favorite. When she was put on a low dose of Prednisolone once a day for various health issues a few months ago, I was concerned about continuing to feed raw, since steroids suppress the immune system. Much to my relief, my vet was not concerned, and Allegra continues to enjoy her Darwin’s every day.

For more information and to order, please visit DarwinsPet.com.

Special offer: get 10 pounds for $14.95!

Darwin’s has an introductory offer that can’t be beat so you can try this for your own cats: For $14.95, you get 10 pounds of raw food. You can customize the flavors depending on your cat’s taste preferences.

Once you place your introductory order, you are automatically set up for automatic shipments (you choose the frequency of shipment,) but you can cancel or change this at any time.

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*FTC Disclosure: This is a sponsored post, which means that I was compensated to feature this content. Regardless of payment received, you will only see products or services featured on this site that we’ve either used or would use ourselves. The Conscious Cat is a participant in Darwin’s affiliate program. This means that if you decide to purchase through any of our links, we get a small commission.

Photo via Darwin’s Facebook page, used with permission

3 Comments on Food Safety Without Compromise: Darwin’s Maintains the Integrity of Raw Cat Food While Keeping it Safe

  1. Hi Ingrid: I have two questions about raw feeding. I have recently opted for Instinct Freeze-Dried Raw nuggets for my two kids. Do you have any opinion about the quality of Freeze-Dried Instinct? Since you feed Allegra Darwin’s how much does she get per day and is that the only thing fed or does she get other types of meals? Thanks in advance for advice.

    • Freeze-dried diets are the next best thing to fresh or frozen raw. Allegra gets 4 ounces a day of Darwin’s split between morning and evening. The amount you feed will depend on your cat’s weight. She also gets a couple of meals of canned food for variety each week.

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