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Expanded Pet Food Recall Brings Changes

Nature’s Variety expanded a recall of Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets for dogs and cats to include the “Best If Used By” dates of 10/29/10 and 11/9/10 because these products may be contaminated with Salmonella.

Its initial recall was issued Feb. 12.

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

The recall now includes the following products with a “Best If Used By” date of 10/29/10 or 11/9/10:

•    UPC#7 69949 60131 9 – Chicken Formula 0.75 lb trial sized medallions
•    UPC#7 69949 60130 2 – Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
•    UPC#7 69949 60120 3 – Chicken Formula 6 lb patties
•    UPC#7 69949 60121 0 – Chicken Formula 2 lb single chubs

The expanded recall includes all Chicken Formula and Organic Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diets for dogs and cats with any “Best If Used By” date on or before 2/5/11.

In a statement, Nature’s Variety said it has elected to clear the market of raw frozen chicken diets as it implements a state-of-the-art new food safety process called High Pressure Pasteurization for use on all Nature’s Variety Raw Frozen Diets.

The products included in the expanded recall are any Chicken Formula or Organic Chicken Formula Raw Frozen Diet with a “Best If Used By” date on or before 2/5/11, including:

•    UPC#7 69949 60131 9 – Chicken Formula 0.75 lb trial sized medallions
•    UPC#7 69949 60130 2 – Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
•    UPC#7 69949 60120 3 – Chicken Formula 6 lb patties
•    UPC#7 69949 60121 0 – Chicken Formula 2 lb single chubs
•    UPC#7 69949 50121 3 – Chicken Formula 12 lb case of chubs
•    UPC#7 69949 60137 1 – Organic Chicken Formula 3 lb medallions
•    UPC#7 69949 60127 2 – Organic Chicken Formula 6 lb patties

The “Best If Used By” date is located on the back of the package above the safe handling instructions. The affected product was distributed through retail stores in the United States and Canada.

It was also sold on the Internet.

Nature’s Variety plans to control Salmonella contamination through High Pressure Pasteurization on the Raw Frozen Diets to kill pathogenic bacteria through high-pressure water-based technology and a test and hold protocol to ensure that only Raw Frozen Diets that test negative for harmful bacteria are released for sale.

The new procedures were implemented on all products after Feb. 11, 2010.

“Nature’s Variety believes replacing all raw frozen chicken products on the market with new raw frozen chicken products that use High Pressure Pasteurization is an important and responsible step in order to reinforce consumer confidence and trust,” stated Reed Howlett, CEO of Nature’s Variety.

“By recalling all raw frozen chicken products with ‘Best If Used By’ dates on or before 2/5/11, we can provide our pet parents with new raw frozen chicken products that have been processed through High Pressure Pasteurization.  Adopting High Pressure Pasteurization is an important step to ensure that our products meet the strictest quality and food safety standards.”

Howlett stated, “Our commitment to consumers in the future is the same as it’s been in the past–to offer Raw Frozen Diets made from the highest quality ingredients, made in our own plant in the Midwest, by people who care deeply about pet nutrition, health, and happiness.”

Salmonella symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever.

Salmonella can result in more serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms.

Pets with Salmonella infections may become lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, or vomiting. Some pets may experience only a decreased appetite, fever, or abdominal pain.

Any pet that has consumed any of the affected products and is experiencing any of these symptoms should be taken to a veterinarian.

Consumers who purchased one of these products may return the unopened product to the retailer for a full refund or replacement. If the package has been opened, dispose of the raw food in a safe manner by securing it in a covered trash receptacle. Then, bring your receipt (or the empty package in a sealed bag) to your local retailer for a full refund or replacement.

Consumers with additional questions can call the Nature’s Variety dedicated Customer Care line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 800-374-3142. For additional resources about High Pressure Pasteurization or other Nature’s Variety food safety protocols, visit www.naturesvariety.com.

© Food Safety News
  • Ann Quinn, consumer

    High Pressure Processing
    Fact Sheet for Food Processors
    Sounds good at first blush as a food safety improvement process
    for meat. I wonder what the spores are that aren’t killed by
    this process. That’s not clear.

  • Lindsey Spivey

    I am one who had a dog who became violently ill after eating the raw chicken diet. I have to commend Nature’s Variety on how they handled all communications with me. They are a wonderful example of doing things right. It was extremely upsetting almost losing my dog, but fortunately they were very compassionate and cooperative and I have nothing but good things to say about their company. I am glad they have come up with a process to hopefully avoid such issues in the future. For me, however, I will never feed raw diet to any of my dogs again. It’s just not worth the risk to me, no matter what.

  • Rocky

    Pet food companies have problems making cooked food (i.e., kibble and canned) that is safe, so I don’t trust them with the raw stuff.
    If you want to feed raw, make your own pet food. You can use better ingredients and it’s much safer, IMO.

  • Rocky:
    Respectfully, in truth it takes careful consideration and knowledge to make up your own raw food. Getting the correct ratios is a great deal more difficult than most people understand, which is why you have people who feed ‘raw’ by throwing chicken backs to their animals and feeling it is a complete diet. The animals then do not fare well because they are not getting other important nutrients that they need.
    The commercial raw food manufacturers are extremely careful with their diets and take an extreme amount of care to make sure that not only are the diets complete, but that handling standards are followed to make the foods as safe as possible. I also think many of the raw food manufacturers for pets have a higher standard than what you may find in many grocery stores, since they are under perhaps more scrutiny in the industry.
    You are correct that there are a number of issues around many of the canned and cooked foods, as we became aware of in 2007, but that recall caused MANY holistic companies to further tighten their safety standards in the pet food industry.
    If you make your own raw, then please do the research and make sure it is a balanced diet for your pets.