Raw is risky, for pets and humans

I have never fed any of my dogs or cats raw pet food.

They may eat each other’s poop, but I control what I can control.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting pet owners to a history of four recalls of and multiple complaints associated with Darwin’s Natural and ZooLogics pet foods, manufactured by Arrow Reliance Inc., dba Darwin’s Natural Pet Products, over the period from October 17, 2016 to February 10, 2018. In each instance, the company recalled these products after being alerted to positive findings of Salmonella and/or Listeria monocytogenes in samples of their raw pet food products.

In its most recent recall, on February 10, 2018, Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural recalled ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs (Lot #41957) and ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs (Lot #41567) because the products may be contaminated with Salmonella and therefore have the potential to cause salmonellosis in humans and animals. The company states that it only sells its products online through direct-to-consumer sales.

The FDA has investigated six complaints of illness and death in animals that have eaten the recalled products.

Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural has notified its customers directly of the recalls, but has so far not issued any public notification announcing this or any of the previous recalls.

This issue is of particular public health importance because Salmonella can make both people and animals sick.

As part of an ongoing investigation into complaints associated with products manufactured by Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural of Tukwila, WA, the FDA has confirmed that new samples of Darwin’s Natural Pet Products raw pet foods have tested positive for Salmonella. These raw pet foods include ZooLogics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs Lot #41957 and ZooLogics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs Lot #41567.

The latest recall was triggered by a complaint of an adult dog that had recurring diarrhea over a nine-month period. The dog tested positive for Salmonella from initial testing by the veterinarian and by follow-up testing by the FDA’s Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN). The Darwin’s Natural raw pet food that the dog had been fed was also positive for Salmonella.

Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural is aware of the dog’s illness and the positive results and initiated a recall on February 10, 2018 by directly notifying its customers via email. The firm has not issued a public recall notice.

Since October 2016, Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural has initiated four recalls and had six reported complaints (some referring to more than one animal) associated with their raw pet food products, including the death of one kitten from a severe systemic Salmonella infection. The Salmonella isolated from the kitten was analyzed using whole genome sequencing and found to be indistinguishable from the Salmonella isolated from a closed package from the same lot of Darwin’s Natural cat food that the kitten ate.

In addition to reports of illnesses associated with Salmonella contamination in the products, the FDA is aware of complaints of at least three animals who were reportedly injured by bone shards in the Darwin’s Natural raw pet food products.

Raw pet food contaminated with Salmonella sickens 2 Minnesota children

Minnesota health officials say two children in the Twin Cities area got sick from salmonella poisoning after coming in contact with tainted pet food.

The Minnesota Department of Health said Friday that testing found the same salmonella DNA patterns in the siblings. One of the children was hospitalized last month with a painful bone condition.

An investigation found the children’s home contained Raws for Paws Ground Turkey Food, and that the pet food was contaminated.

The contaminated raw turkey pet food was produced on Oct. 12 and sold online on the Raws for Paws website. The product was recalled Feb. 8, 2018, by the manufacturer.

Paperwork is never enough: Cats may vomit from Hill’s Pet Nutrition

Hill’s Pet Nutrition has recalled cat food pouches after they were found to contain vomit inducing levels of iron.

cat.vomit.may.16The major pet nutrition firm said certain packs of its chicken and fish cat food pouches in the UK contain a large amount of iron, which can cause digestive upset, including vomited and diarrhea.

The feline food was pumped full of iron in error by an ingredient supplier.

The Food Standards Agency are urging pet owners not to feed their cats the foodstuff but instead return it to their nearest store for a full refund.

Owners who have already fed it to their cat should consult a vet, they said.

In a statement, Hill’s nutrition said: “Hill’s Pet Nutrition is voluntarily recalling specific manufacturing batches of the single-serving cat food pouches. Due to an error by an ingredient supplier, the products contain high levels of iron. … At Hill’s we take great pride in the quality and safety of our pet food products.”

Except when it comes to checking ingredients from suppliers.

FDA warns ‘small family company trying to make dogs and cats healthier’ about Salmonella in its dog food

Federal authorities have notified a Berks County, Penn. raw-pet food producer that its dog food has been found to contain salmonella.

sadie.car.10A U.S. Food and Drug Administration “warning letter” sent last month to Lystn LLC, dba Answers Pet Food at 356 Maidencreek Road in Richmond Township, says the company’s Detailed Answers Chicken Formula dog food showed traces of salmonella.

The FDA letter says investigators found salmonella in its Detailed Answers Chicken, 8-ounce raw chicken patties and the 2-pound carton Detailed Answers Chicken Formula.

In a news release issued Wednesday and subsequent telephone interview, Lystn officials denied the company is introducing salmonella in its pet food or allowing product in the market “that could result in illness to animals or humans.”

Company officials also say they believe they have addressed the FDA’s concerns about its food processing and contend the agency has denied to address the company’s follow-up questions.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture allows a limited amount of salmonella in poultry and other food consumed by humans, said Jacqueline C. Hill, the company’s vice president of operations, product development and sales.

“But we’re not regulated by the USDA but by the FDA, and it says pet food can’t contain any salmonella,” Hill said. “We’re a small family company trying to make dogs and cats healthier.”

Lystn began selling raw pet food in 2010, said Hill, adding there are many advantages to feeding it to domestic animals, including helping to heal those with chronic health issues.

Your dog wants duck batch sliders; but without Listeria and Salmonella

I’ve had small batch beers and whiskeys. Some are good. Some are small batches for a reason.

I’ve never had any small batch duck batch 1 oz sliders. But I’m also not that into dog food.

According to a press release, Smallbatch Pets Inc. is recalling one lot (or small batch?) of duck sliders because of potential contamination with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

Small Batch Pet

Smallbatch Pets Inc. is voluntarily recalling one lot of frozen dog duckbatch sliders due to their potential to be contaminated with Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes. Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

However, because of their commitment to safety and quality, Smallbatch Pets is conducting a voluntary recall of this product. Consumers should also follow the Simple Handling Tips published on the Smallbatch Pets package, when disposing of the affected product.

The potentially affected lots of dog duckbatch sliders were distributed to retail pet food stores in States CA, CO, OR, WA through pet food retailers/distributors. Eighty cases of this product were sold between the dates of 2/23/16 – 3/10/16. The affected products are sold frozen in 3lbs. bags. The products affected by this recall are identified with the following manufacturing codes: LOT #: CO27 Best By Date: 01/27/17 UPC: 713757339001 The “Best By” date is located on the back of the package below the seal.

This recall was initiated after routine testing by the Food and Drug Administration of a 3lb bag of dog duckbatch sliders, that was collected at a distributor, revealed the presence of Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes.

Smallbatch Pets lists this info on its website:

Additionally, we strive to only use meats that are free-range, pasture raised and always free of hormones and antibiotics. Our produce is 100% certified Organic and our supplements are always pure, organic, and unrefined. No HPP (high pressure pasteurization) always 100% raw, the way nature intended.

Pathogens are natural too.

Hong Kong pet owners warned after tests find Salmonella

Hong Kong animal owners are being warned against frozen or raw pet food after salmonella was found in some test samples.

dog_vomitThe Consumer Council said it found salmonella in three of 17 samples during random tests on pet food.

These came from two Australian brands  – Big Dog and Doctor B’s.

Michael Hui, chairman of the council’s publicity and community relations committee, said pets infected with salmonella could suffer diarrhea, vomiting and fever.

Their owners may be vulnerable to infection when exposed to contaminated food containers and feces.

Hong Kong does not regulate pet food quality and it has no mechanism for product recalls.

Listeria raw pet food recall…with a twist

Friend and fellow hockey aficionado, Scott Weese writes in his Worms & Germs Blog that the recent recall of Stella & Chewy’s products because of Listeria contamination is noteworthy.

stella.chewy'sWhy?

Because their food is treated with high pressure pasteurization (HPP). That’s a process that uses high pressure to destroy bacteria. My typical line is that I consider HPP-treated food to be similar to commercial cooked products in terms of risk of contamination and public health concerns. Yet, I add in the disclaimer that actual evidence of effectiveness on pet food seems to be limited. It makes sense that it would work; however, various factors impact the effectiveness of HPP so companies should have specific data that show their process works.

So, the big question here isn’t ‘why were bacteria in the food’? It’s raw, bacteria are common contaminants.

The question is ‘why were live bacteria in the food”? Figuring out how Listeria made it through processing is critically important. Hopefully there’s a real investigation into this.

There are a few main scenarios that I can come up with, and they vary greatly in their concern.

Post-treatment contamination: Careful review of the manufacturing process and testing (culture) of various environmental surfaces would typically be part of in investigation of this area. If this was the problem, things such as physical or procedural changes and more QC testing might be indicated.

Ineffective HPP: There could be two different scenarios.

-One is a breakdown in the process, with equipment problems, human error or some similar issue preventing an effective method from working. This is a problem but would presumably be fixable.

-The other (more concerning) one is that the procedure they use is not actually adequately effective.

Figuring out those is important to reduce the risk and help people make informed decisions about buying raw products.

Beware the raw pet food: Incidence of Salmonella in pets

How often does pet food make a cat or dog sick? Does your pet carry the harmful bacteria without showing any symptoms and, if so, for how long? And what precautions can you take to keep you and your family safe?

sadie.dog.powellThese are some of the questions now under study by the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN) at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). “Ultimately, we’re hoping to learn ways FDA can help minimize the incidence of foodborne illness associated with pet foods and treats,” says Renate Reimschuessel, V.M.D. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), Ph.D., research biologist and head of Vet-LIRN.

Under Vet-LIRN, FDA partners with 34 state and university veterinary laboratories across the country to investigate concerns reported by pet owners. Over the past two years, 11 of the Vet-LIRN labs have focused specifically on Salmonella infections in dogs and cats.

Researchers are currently analyzing the data, and hope to publish study results no later than 2016. Careful attention is given to quality control. While final results aren’t available at this time, Reimschuessel says that the news for pet owners appears to be pretty good. Out of 2,965 animals tested, researchers have found fewer than 100 actually testing positive for the bacteria.

“Pet owners should know, though, that almost half of the dogs that tested positive for Salmonella showed no symptoms,” Reimschuessel says. A dog may show no signs of illness yet still carry the bacteria, which can potentially spread to other members of the household. Moreover, for young children, older adults, or individuals with compromised immune systems, bacterial illnesses can be especially serious.

Additionally, the dogs that tested positive for Salmonella were more likely to have eaten raw pet food, study results show. Scientific literature indicates that raw foods are more likely than processed foods to test positive for Salmonella and Listeria monocytogenes, another common cause of disease, in part because they have not gone through a “kill step,” such as heat processing.

The FDA routinely conducts sampling assignments to inform its research and surveillance activities, and this year will sample raw pet food products. The results from sampling assignments help the agency target its resources to areas that have the greatest impact on public health.

Listeria in pet food: J.J. Fuds, Inc. issues recall

J.J. Fuds in Valparaiso, Indiana, is recalling a select lot and product of J.J. Fuds Chicken Tender Chunks Pet Food because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

listeria.pet.food.jan.15The recalled product was distributed regionally in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois to wholesale and retail customers. The product can be identified by the batch ID code (manufactured date) and UPC code printed on the back of the individual plastic bag or on the master case label. This product is a frozen raw poultry product (see Safe Handling Instructions on package) and has a shelf life of one year if kept frozen. 

Salmonella positive: Oma’s Pride recalls Purr Complete Feline Poultry Meal

Oma’s Pride of Avon, CT is recalling Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella. 

salm.pet.food.jan.15Salmonella can affect animals eating the products and there is risk to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not thoroughly washed their hands after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products.

Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal was distributed nationwide through retail stores, distributors, and directly to consumers. Purr-Complete Feline Poultry Meal is sold frozen.  It is packaged in clear 12 oz. (UPC: 8 79384 00017 9) and 2 lb. (UPC: 8 79384 00018 6) plastic packaging under the Oma’s Pride brand as a poultry blend with code #1524.  It was manufactured on September 12, 2014 with a use by recommended date of September 12, 2015.  

There have been no illnesses reported to date.

The recall was as the result of a routine sampling program by Pesticide and Plant Pest Management Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development resulting in a positive test for Salmonella. Oma’s Pride has ceased the production and distribution of the product as FDA and the company continue their investigation as to what caused the problem.