Salmonella in pet treats: One recall, and an FDA warning

November 6, 2009 at 12:50 pm Leave a comment

bigstockphoto_Border_Collie_And_Bone_2435067After hearing about a recent PetSmart recall of beef hoove chews contaminated with salmonella from the indefatigable Therese Kopiwoda at PetSitUSA, I found myself launching into one of my regularly scheduled rants about “voluntary” recalls.

Every freaking press release, from industry or from FDA, uses that same meaningless phrase: a “voluntary recall” — as if there’s any other kind, considering that the FDA doesn’t have mandatory recall authority.

And then I was caught mid-rant when something completely different popped into the old email inbox: a warning from the FDA that no one should buy other treats made by the same company that manufactured the treats in the PetSmart recall, because they, too, were probably contaminated with salmonella:

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is issuing this health alert to warn consumers not to use Pig Ears and Beef Hooves pet treats manufactured by Pet Carousel because the products may be contaminated with Salmonella. The products were distributed nationwide in both bulk and retail packaging for sale in pet food and retail chain stores. Pet Carousel is based in Sanger, Calif.

The products were manufactured under conditions that facilitate cross-contamination within batches or lots. Although no illnesses associated with these products have been reported, the FDA is advising consumers in possession of these products to not handle or feed them to their pets.

The affected pig ear products were packaged under the brand names Doggie Delight and Pet Carousel. The affected beef hooves were packaged under the brand names Choo Hooves, Dentley’s, Doggie Delight, and Pet Carousel. All sizes and all lots of these products made by Pet Carousel are included in this alert.

During September 2009, the FDA conducted routine testing of pig ears made by Pet Carousel. The test results detected a positive reading for Salmonella. This prompted an FDA inspection of Pet Carousel’s manufacturing facilities. During the inspection, the agency collected additional pet treat samples. Further analysis found Salmonella present in beef hooves, pig ears and in the manufacturing environment.

I guess a “health alert” is about as strong an action as our current FDA can take. Which raises the question: When will Pet Carousel issue a “voluntary” recall of its own?

However much the “voluntary” thing makes my head explode, at least PetSmart sent out a press release and recalled the treats. Good for them. Of course I’d rather they weren’t selling contaminated treats in the first place (and I bet they do, too), but bad things do happen, and the way you tell the good businesses from the bad is how they react when they do.

A lesson everyone in the pet food industry should take to heart. The sooner the better.

Although I’m not exactly holding my breath.…

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