Evaluation of Microbial Populations in Raw Meat Diets Fed to Captive Exotic Animals in Zoological Institutions
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The objective of this study was to evaluate general microbial population levels of common raw meat diets fed to exotic carnivores managed in zoos. Four raw meat diet formulations were sampled and analyzed for generic E.coli, total coliforms, yeast, mold, Staphylocccus aureus, total aerobic plate counts and presence of Salmonella. Each product was sampled at least three times between 2012 and 2015 and descriptive statistics are presented. Ranges were extreme even among the same diet type. Salmonella species tested presumptive positive in nearly 50% of samples from three of the diets. Additional research is required to identify specific serotypes of Salmonella present.