The FDA has, over the past week, announced recalls by several pet food producers of their products due to Salmonella or Listeria present in them.
The FDA is alerting pet owners to 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.
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.
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.
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 Darwin’s Natural raw pet food products.
Arrow Reliance/Darwin’s Natural has notified its customers directly of the recalls, but has so far not issued any public notice announcing this or any of the previous recalls.
Three other pet food makers have announced voluntary recalls due to Salmonella:
- Red Barn Pet Products is also recalling a single product, Redbarn’s 7-inch Bully Stick three pack, because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella
- The recalled products were distributed in pet specialty retail stores. Affected product comes in a 2.4 ounce, green plastic bag marked with an expiration date of 112120ABC stamped on the side. The product UPC is #7 85184 25105 8. You can see examples of the packaging here.
- Raws for Paws of Minneapolis, MN is recalling approximately 4,000 pounds of its 5 lb. and 1 lb. chubs of Ground Turkey Pet Food because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.
- The recalled product is packaged into 1-pound and 5-pound sealed plastic tubes, also known as chubs. The chubs are packaged into regular Turkey Pet Food cases and Pet Food Combo Pack cases, which contain a variety of pet food products. The products in question have case codes of 9900008, 9900009, 9900014, and 9900015. The manufacture date of Turkey Pet Food cases is 10/12/2017, and the manufacture dates of Combo Pack cases are between 10/12/2017 and 2/2/2018.
- Smokehouse Pet Products, Inc. of Sun Valley, CA is recalling 4-oz bags of dog treats labeled as “Beefy Munchies,” because it has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella
- The product comes in a 4-oz bags marked with UPC 78565857957 and lot 449294 and with a best used by date of 10/25/19 stamped on the back.
This issue is of particular public health importance because Salmonella can make both people and animals sick. This contaminated raw pet food is of particular public health importance because of the potential hazard to both human and animal health. Pets can get sick from Salmonella, but may also be carriers of the bacteria and can infect humans. Pets do not have to be apparently ill to be able to pass Salmonella onto their human companions.
What are the Symptoms of Salmonella Infection (Salmonellosis)?
People infected with Salmonella can develop diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps. The illness usually lasts 4 to 7 days, and most people recover without treatment.
Pets do not always display symptoms when infected with Salmonella, but signs can include vomiting, diarrhea (which may be bloody), fever, loss of appetite and/or decreased activity level. Pets can pass Salmonella to humans without showing any signs of the illness themselves.
Most people infected with Salmonella develop diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 6 to 72 hours after infection.
Although not all pets display symptoms when infected, those who do may have symptoms within 72 hours of infection. Pets do not need to display symptoms to be able to pass Salmonella onto their human companions. Once Salmonella gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination will continue to spread.
Who is at Risk of Salmonellosis?
Young children are particularly at risk for salmonellosis if they handle or ingest contaminated pet food or unwashed bowls used to feed the pet food. Very young children may also be exposed by crawling on or otherwise touching contaminated surfaces and put their hands or other objects in their mouth (without handwashing), or have oral contact with an animal that has consumed contaminated pet food, or with that animal’s feces. Once Salmonella gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination will continue to spread.
Others at increased risk of serious infection are the elderly, pregnant women, and people with weakened immune systems.
As with humans, dogs and cats who are very young, very old, or have health conditions are particularly at risk for developing salmonellosis.
What are the Symptoms of Listeria Monocytogenes Infection (Listeriosis)?
Gastrointestinal symptoms including diarrhea, fever, and muscle aches are symptoms of infection with Listeria monocytogenes.
Listeriosis is not common in pets, and when infected, typical symptoms include diarrhea and vomiting.
Pets can pass Listeria monocytogenes to humans without showing any signs of the illness themselves.
Gastroenteritis caused by Listeria monocytogenes has a relatively short incubation period, from a few hours to 2 or 3 days. The severe, invasive form of the illness can have a very long incubation period, estimated to vary from 3 days to 3 months.
Although not all pets display symptoms when infected, those who do may have symptoms within a matter of a few hours, but possibly weeks after infection. Pets do not need to display symptoms to be able to pass Listeria monocytogenes onto their human companions. Once Listeria monocytogenes gets established in the pet’s gastrointestinal tract, the animal can shed the bacteria when it has a bowel movement, and the contamination will continue to spread.
What Do Consumers Need To Do?
Consumers should not feed their pets recalled lots of raw pet food manufactured by Arrow Reliance Inc. Consumers who purchased this raw pet food should throw it away. People who think they might have become ill or their pets may be ill from exposure to contaminated raw pet food should talk to their health care providers or veterinarians.
Consumers who had this product in their homes should clean their refrigerator and clean and disinfect all bowls, utensils, food prep surfaces, pet bedding, toys, floors, and any other surfaces that the food or pet may have had contact with. Because animals can shed the bacteria when they have bowel movements, it’s particularly important to clean up the animal’s feces in yards or parks where people or other animals may become exposed.
Pet owners who opt to feed their pets a raw diet should consult FDA’s Tips to Prevent Foodborne Illness from Raw Pet Food.