Four pet food companies issued recalls after reports surfaced about contamination by salmonella after reports of pets dying or becoming ill.
The recalls involve a variety of products, all surfacing in the last week after six pets died or were sickened. One was a kitten, but the types of the other pets was not disclosed. Also, two children became ill, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The six animal cases were connected to consumption of Darwin’s Natural and ZooLogics pet foods, manufactured by Arrow Reliance of Tukwila, Wash., which has issued four salmonella- or listeria monocytogenes-related recalls since October 2016. The most recent was on Saturday after testing found salmonella in samples of their raw pet food.
The two reports of human illness resulted from contact with Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Pet Food. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture found salmonella while testing products made by the Minneapolis-based company.
Redbarn Pet Products of Long Beach, Calif., recalled its three-packs of seven-inch Bully Sticks dog chews after the Colorado Department of Agriculture reported that one sample collected from a store revealed salmonella.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture also prompted the recall of Smokehouse Pet Products' four-ounce bags of Beefy Munchies dog treats after it found salmonella in two packages manufactured by the Sun Valley, Calif., company.
Human symptoms of a salmonella infection are diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps, which last up to week and the majority of people recover without treatment, the FDA said. But pets don't always have symptoms, which for them include vomiting, diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite and lethargy. Plus, they can pass salmonella to people even if they are asymptomatic.
The FDA said it has a zero-tolerance policy for salmonella or other harmful bacteria in pet food.
"Raw pet food is more likely than other types of pet food to contain salmonella and listeria monocytogenes. Pet owners who choose to feed raw pet food should be aware of the risks associated with these products," the federal agency said.
Don Schaffner, a professor of food microbiology at Rutgers University, explained that salmonella can be found in the intestinal tracts of animals used to make pet food, like poultry and cattle. If the pet food isn't cooked, the bacteria can survive the manufacturing process and make it into the final products.
"Even a single cell is enough to make an animal or a human sick," he said.
Here are the details of the four recalls:
ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs lot 41957 and ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs lot 41567 were sold online.
The recall this week was prompted by a complaint about an adult dog with recurring diarrhea for nine months that tested positive for salmonella. The Darwin’s Natural raw pet food he'd eaten also tested positive.
According to the FDA, the manufacturer e-mailed customers about the recall, but "has so far not issued any public notification announcing this or any of the previous recalls."
As a result of an earlier product contamination, a kitten died. The salmonella strain the animal had was the same as that found in a closed package from the same lot of Darwin’s Natural cat food that the kitten had eaten.
"While dogs' and cats' digestive systems are designed to be able to process pathogens, such as salmonella, with no impact on them, at Darwin’s, we take this situation very seriously," the company said on its website. "Our No. 1 priority is providing your pet with meals that you can feel confident are healthy and safe."
The contact info on the company's website is 877-738-6325, 206-324-7387 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
The seven-inch Bully Stick three pack, sold at pet stores in 2.4-ounce bags, have an expiration date of 112120ABC stamped on the side and UPC 7 85184 25105 8.
Customers may return products to the stores where they were purchased for a full refund. Those with questions may e-mail the company at email@example.com or call 800-775-3849 weekdays 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
"We test every product lot before it leaves our manufacturing plant. This lot... was tested both at our Redbarn lab and by a third-party testing facility. Those tests were negative for salmonella or pathogens," said president Jeff Sutherland. "Despite not being able to replicate these test results or receiving any negative reports from customers regarding these chews, we feel the best course of action is to recall this lot code of the product and keep our customers safe."
Raws for Paws
Ground Turkey Pet Food in one- and five-pound sealed tubes is sold in Turkey Pet Food case and Pet Food Combo Pack cases with case codes of 9900008, 9900009, 9900014, and 9900015. The manufacture date of Turkey Pet Food cases is Oct. 12 and the manufacture dates of Combo Pack cases are between Oct. 12 and Feb. 2. They were sold throughout Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa and online.
The company has stopped production of this product, while state and company officials investigate the source of the problem.
"We believe this was an isolated incident. We have not received any reports of animals being sick," Raws for Paws said in a statement. "Food safety (is) very, very important. In 10 years of selling raw pet food, this is our first recall. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and wish those affected by illness a speedy and healthy recovery."
For more information about returns, customers should call the company at 612-465-0372.
Four-ounce bags Beefy Munchies are marked with UPC 78565857957, lot 449294 and an Oct. 25, 2019, best-used-by date stamped on the back.
In a letter sent to customers, the company said it's confident this was a one-time occurrence and explained that it has a food safety protocol in place to deal with "natural microorganisms on raw animal products."
"Smokehouse is proud of our consistent quality and safety processes in place. This is our first recall in 26 years of business," the manufacturer said.
Consumers may return the unused portion to wherever they bought the item for a full refund. Those with questions may call the company 877-699-7387 weekdays 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.