What are some safety tips for handling and preparing raw diets?

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Safety should always be your first priority when it comes to the handling and preparation of a raw diet for your cat. Remember that proper safety methods can mean the difference between a healthy cat and one that is affected by food-borne illness.

Here are a few tips that will help you to ensure you are safely handling your cat’s raw food:

  • All raw meats should be brought home from the store in a cooler or cooler bag in order to remain at a safe temperature. This is especially important during warmer months.
  • Meat should immediately be put into the fridge or freezer when you get home. If you will be breaking a larger package up into smaller portions, do it immediately before freezing.
  • When ready to use, allow the meat to defrost overnight in the fridge. If you are going to use meat that has been stored in plastic freezer bags, they can be brought to room temperature in a bowl of tepid water.
  • Use a glass cutting board that can be easily sanitized once you’re done with your preparations. Your knives should be sharp and always clean.
  • Opt to wear food preparation gloves—this is a particularly good idea if you have a cut or blister on your hands.
  • If you don’t wear food preparation gloves, you’ll need to make sure you have a quality antibacterial soap to use when you’re done prepping the meat. Always use hot water and good quality soap when you are cleaning your hands after handling raw foods.

Above all, don’t allow the raw meat to stay out at room temperature if your cat isn’t interested in eating it. In fact, never leave food out longer than 20 minutes. Cover it immediately, and keep it in the fridge for no more than 24 hours after initial preparation.

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