By: Kerry Bazany
In recent months, a slew of animal foods, from treats to kibble, have found themselves under recall and scrutiny along with their human counterparts. Reports, even as recent as last month, have made claims of the findings of euthanasia drugs in canned dog foods. According to the most recent FDA statement on the recall:
“The FDA has informed J.M. Smucker that the firm’s action to remove products from the marketplace is now considered a recall. The FDA based this decision on a test by the firm confirming the presence of pentobarbital in the tallow ingredient used in the affected products.
The FDA is continuing its investigation and has collected finished product samples for testing that is currently pending. While the firm and FDA testing was pending, the FDA agreed to allow the firm to withdraw products from the marketplace because it was the quickest way to remove potentially adulterated product. However, now that the firm has verified that the products contain pentobarbital, an illegal substance in pet food at any amount, the firm has agreed to continue to remove product under the voluntarily recall process. The FDA will share more information as it becomes available.”
Since this time, yet more dog food and dog treats have been recalled, and what makes this particularly difficult is the obvious fact that our precious pets cannot advocate for the troubles that may affect them. They rely on us, their owners, to be vigilant about what they ingest and to heed any recalls associated with their food, play toys, and treats.
TruPet LLC, Carnivore Meat Company, and Steve’s Real Foods have recalled some varieties of dog food and dog treats due to the possibility of salmonella contamination. The Michigan Department of Agriculture prompted this recall following a collection of retail samples from batches of each product. Fortunately, no illnesses have been reported that were linked to these specific foods:
- Carnivore Meat Company: Vital Essentials Freeze-Dried Beef Niblets Entrée for Dogs: Lot Number 13753. This product was distributed in the US through independent retailers as well as online retailers Chewy.com and Amazon.com. According to their website, affected consumers are encouraged to return the product to its place of purchase for a refund, and consumers with additional questions can call the company at 920-370-6542.
- TruPet: TruDog Treat Me Crunchy Beef Delight: Lot Number 2019051413753. This product was distributed in the US via online retailer Chewy.com and TruDog.com. The FDA urges consumers who purchased the product to return it to the place of purchase for a refund. Consumers may also call the company for more information at 800-476-8808.
- Steve’s Real Foods: Raw Frozen Dog Food Turkey Canine Receipe: Lot Number E 178.This particular lot was distributed to 21 states: Florida, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Texas, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. The product was sold in five pound bags with a best by date of September 17, 2918.
Additionally, recalls issued the week of February 25, 2018 include the following:
- Raws for Paws Ground Turkey
- Smokehouse Beefy Munchies treats
- Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural Zoologics Duck with Vegetable Meals for Dogs and Zoologics Chicken with Vegetable Meals for Dogs
- Redbarn 7 inch Bully Sticks
- Northwest Naturals, Chicken and Salmon
Lot numbers and distribution areas were not readily available, so contact the vendor directly, or you can consult the FDA for pet food recall information on their website: www.fda.gov.
How Our Pets Can Become Sickened
Our canine friends can become ill in the same way that humans do: bacterial pathogens such as salmonella can infiltrate the food or treats at any point from harvesting to production to preparation. Pet food can become contaminated with a pathogen such as Salmonella because the food originates from animals. Typically, pet food products are cooked to temperatures that destroy bacteria; however, if an additive to the food (such as flavoring) is added to the food after the cooking process, the pet food can become contaminated with these materials.
Salmonellainfections occur after the host (either human or animal) eats, or ingests, the food. It can also occur by coming into contact with contaminated products and subsequently touching your mouth or face, allowing the bacteria access to your gastrointestinal tract and causing disease. Salmonella is one of the classifications of diseases that affect your stomach or intestines and are spread between animals and people. Enteric zoonotic diseases are caused by germs such as Salmonella, E.coli, and Campylobacter.These bacteria can cause illness in your stomach and intestines and cause symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, or stomach cramps.
So the question arises, does this mean that pet food isn’t really safe given that there seem to be more and more pet foods and treats being recalled due to pathogens such as Salmonella? There are several reasons for this, one of which is that large scale recalls increase public awareness of and sensitivity to pet food safety. Another reason is that both manufacturers and the FDA have become increasingly hyper-vigilant with regard to bacterial pathogens in human food sources. That has led to increased surveillance and reporting of foodborne illnesses. Additionally, there is the Reportable Food Registry, an early detection reporting system that permits immediate reporting of safety issues with food and animal feed, including pet food. Typically, when any pathogen such as Salmonellaor E.Coliis detected in a pet food, a voluntary recall is issued, and the pet food is considered adulterated and unfit for consumption. In fact, the vast majority of pet food recalls has been voluntary and is not an indication that pet food is unsafe. It is, rather, an indication that prevention is being effected by catching the potential problem sooner rather than later.
Symptoms of Salmonella Infection in Dogs
- Diarrhea or bloody diarrhea
- Decreased or loss of appetite
- Abdominal pain
People can get salmonellapoisoning from handling contaminated dog food or touching the unwashed surfaces that the food touched. If your pet is infected, they can also be carriers of the infection and transmit it to other animals as well as humans. If your pet has come in contact with the above-mentioned products, call your vet immediately.