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Consumer complaint spurs tests; dog food recalled for Listeria

JustFoodForDogs LLC has recalled three frozen dog food flavors after laboratory tests confirmed the presence of Listeria monocytogenes in a sample of one of its products. Test results suggest “human-grade” green beans are the contaminated ingredient.

The company, headquartered in Los Alamitos, CA, posted the recall notice on its Facebook page, reporting it had notified customers directly “via email, direct mail and in-store signage.”

As with all pet food recalls for pathogen contamination, there is a risk to pet owners and others who handle the food. Hands, utensils, food bowls, countertops and other surfaces can become cross-contaminated from contact with the pet food.

Listeria monocytogenes generally does not cause serious infections in canines, but it is particularly dangerous to children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with suppressed immune systems, including cancer patients, transplant recipients and those with HIV/AIDS. It can take up to 70 days after exposure for symptoms to develop in people.

JustFoodForDogs initiated product testing after a regular customer reported her dogs became ill. She said the “Turducken” flavor of the food made her dogs sick with vomiting and diarrhea, according to a statement from the company. The dogs have since recovered.

Company officials said in the letter to customers that green beans are the likely source of the Listeria monocytogenes contamination.

“… we have just received preliminary test results that suggest our human-grade green bean supply was sent to us contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes,” according to the company’s statement.

“As we work with our restaurant supplier, we will be implementing greater controls to prevent this from happening in the future.”

The JustFoodForDogs product description says the pet food is “lightly cooked, frozen fresh.” Listeria monocytogenes can survive freezing temperatures for long periods of time. Thorough cooking kills the bacteria.

In response to the test results, the company recalled all three of its products that contain green beans:

  • Turducken
  • Beef & Russet Potato
  • Fish & Sweet Potato

JustFoodForDogs executives reported they notified the Food and Drug Administration of the test results, the recall and the possibility that human-grade green beans were the source of the contamination.

A spokesperson for FDA said the agency is aware of the recall, but has no information to share at this time.

The company has urged its customers to dispose of the recalled foods and to refrain from feeding it to their dogs. JustFoodForDogs is offering its customers “an immediate and unconditional credit” for all purchases of the three affected recipes made between Nov. 1, 2017, and Jan. 14, 2018.

Customers are advised to make their request for credit by email to support@justfoodfordogs.com, including the first and last name on the account.

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