The extensive ‘voluntary’ pet treat recall announced on February 19th by Kasel Associated Industries (Denver, CO) was triggered by FDA’s threat to invoke its new mandatory recall authority, according to Siobhan DeLancey, spokesperson for FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine. Earlier today, DeLancey informed eFoodAlert by email that Kasel chose to voluntarily recall its products upon receipt of a “last chance” letter from FDA (formally, a Prehearing Order to Cease Distribution and Give Notice, also referred to as a 423(a) letter). This is the first time that FDA has initiated mandatory recall proceedings under the authority granted to it by the Food Safety Modernization Act. FDA inspected Kasel’s manufacturing facility during a 10-day period beginning September 19 2012, after the Colorado Department of Agriculture found Salmonella in a finished product sample of Boots & Barkley 6-count 5-inch American Beef Bully Sticks. Kasel recalled four lots of the product on September 21st (Lots #BESTBY20APR2014DEN, BESTBY01JUN2014DEN, BESTBY23JUN2014DEN, and BESTBY23SEP2014DEN). On October 2nd, the company recalled Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats (2.5 lb; Lot #BEST BY 091913 DEN) after FDA found Salmonella in a sample of this lot code. Additional testing carried out by Colorado prompted a third recall on October 17th, this time of Boots & Barkley Roasted American Pig Ears and Boots & Barkley American Variety Pack Dog Treats (Lot #BESTBY 13SEP2014DEN for both products). Colorado found Salmonella in another retail sample of Nature’s Deli Chicken Jerky Dog Treats (Lot #BESTBY061913DEN) in November 2012; however, Kasel refused to initiate another recall. The September 2012 inspection carried out by FDA revealed several sanitary issues, including live insects and evidence of rodent activity in the manufacturing facility, DeLancey said. Furthermore, FDA recovered Salmonella from all of the finished product samples collected during its inspection, as well as from 1 out of 2 in-process bulk product samples and 48 of 87 environmental swab samples. Some of the Salmonella-positive swab samples were taken from food contact surfaces. In all, FDA found 14 different strains of Salmonella: Anatum, Mbandaka, Senftenberg, Typhimurium, Agona, Muenchen, Irumu, Tennessee, Montevideo, Infantis, Muenster, Derby, O rough;d;e,n,x, and London. Isolates recovered from products made on June 19th matched those from September 19th, indicating an ongoing contamination issue. FDA carried out a follow-up inspection on February 14, 2013, including additional finished product and environmental swab sampling. Results of those samples are still pending; however, FDA noted that the company had taken several corrective measures. I found it strange that the latest recall covered only the period from April 20, 2012 through September 19, 2012. DeLancey explained that this was the time frame during which positive results were collected. If FDA finds additional Salmonella-positive samples as a result of its follow-up inspection, I would expect either an expansion of the most recent recall or – in the event that Kasel proves recalcitrant – another FDA-issued warning. FDA has received a “small number” of complaints from pet owners whose dogs became ill after being exposed to the recalled treats. No human illnesses have been reported yet. eFoodAlert Advice to Consumers – Check your supply of pet treats against the products listed in the most recent recall notice. Discard any that are mentioned on the list. If you are not sure of the origin or lot code of the treat, discard it. – If your dog develops symptoms of a Salmonella infection (typically diarrhea or vomiting) after consuming a Kasel-manufactured treat, seek veterinary attention; also, report the illness to FDA. – If you or a family member develop symptoms of a Salmonella infection after handling a Kasel-manufactured pet treat – or a sick pet – seek medical attention, and mention the possible link to the pet treat. – Always wash your hands immediately after handling any pet food or pet treat, especially one of the affected brands listed in the recall notice. If you believe that your pet or a member of your household has become ill as a result of exposure to one of the brands of pet treat mentioned in the recall notice, please post a comment. This article is reprinted with permission of the author from eFoodAlert.