Tejas Industries Inc., the Hereford, TX-based pet treat manufacturer was “ineffective” last January when it recalled its Merrick Beef Filet Squares, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
In a June 1 warning letter to the Texas pet food manufacturer, FDA said it obtained a sample of the Merrick Beef Filet Squares made at the Tejas plant in Plainview, TX and then repackaged in Hereford. Analysis of the dog chew came up positive for Salmonella meleagridis.
Pet food contaminated with Salmonella meleagridis is deemed to be “adulterated” or impure under federal law.
FDA inspected both the manufacturing facility in Plainview and the packaging plant in Hereford in late December and early January.
“Our inspections revealed that the manufacturing processes used by your firm to manufacture pet treats are not controlled and that contamination of these products may occur through inadequate treatment or through recontamination of the treated products due to improper storage or handling after processing,” the warning letter says.
“Specifically,” it continued, “your firm could not provide evidence that your manufacturing processes eliminate pathogens such as Salmonella during processing because your firm does not consistently monitor critical factors in the process such as time and temperature; nor could you provide evidence demonstrating that recontamination was not likely to occur post-processing. Further, you firm could not provide evidence supporting the adequacy of your in-house sampling and testing program, for example, explaining the location and number of samples collected for each lot of unfinished product.
FDA did not like how Tejas handed the recall that followed its inspections. There was a delay in alerting the public, incorrect lot codes were used, and pet owners were never told the recall was for Salmonella contamination.
Tejas Industries merely told its wholesale and retail consignees that the recall was for improper processing.
In the warning letter, FDA said it had received written responses from the company, but they lacked enough detail for the agency to make determinations upon. Tejas was asked to respond within 15 working days
Both pets and their owners can be infected when pet food is contaminated by pathogens like Salmonella.