A study in Switzerland has identified feeding pets raw meat could be a potential source of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli for people and animals.

Giving domesticated animals raw meat-based diets (RMBDs) is becoming increasingly popular but can be the source of human Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) infections.

Researchers evaluated the occurrence of STEC in commercially available RMBDs, also known as Biologically Appropriate Raw Food (BARF), in Switzerland. Findings were published in the journal Microorganisms.

Of 59 samples, 35 tested positive by real-time PCR for the presence of Shiga toxin genes stx1 and/or stx2. STECs were recovered from 24 of the 35 samples with presumptive presence of STEC.

Issues for 9 of 10 suppliers
The level of STEC contamination in the study was higher than that found in other work looking at raw pet food in the U.S. and raw meat for dogs in the United Kingdom. Researchers said their findings provide evidence that the occurrence of STEC in raw meat-based diets may be underestimated.

From September 2018 to May 2020, researchers bought 59 RMBD products from 10 different suppliers in Switzerland or Germany. Products contained either pure muscle or pure organ meat, mixed muscle and organ meat products, or meat supplemented with plant ingredients.

Types of meat included beef, chicken, duck, quail, turkey, ostrich, horse, lamb, venison, rabbit, reindeer, moose, salmon and perch.

RMBDs containing Shiga toxin genes were detected in products from nine of 10 suppliers. Three samples contained two or more distinct STEC strains.

Shiga toxin genes were found in all six lamb samples and the two venison products and in half of the 17 beef and 15 poultry samples.

Variety of types found
In total, 20 different serotypes were identified by whole genome sequencing, including STEC O26:H11, O91:H10, O91:H14, O145:H28, O146:H21, and O146:H28. However, E. coli O157 was not found.

Genomes of strains belonging to ST33, ST442, and ST641 were compared with those of corresponding STs in the Swiss National Reference Centre for Enteropathogenic Bacteria and Listeria (NENT) database which collects STEC strains from confirmed human cases nationwide.

None of these strains clustered with a strain in the database, ruling out a direct match with any known case of human disease in Switzerland.

Researchers said the findings highlight the importance of promoting awareness among veterinary and public health agencies, RMBD suppliers, and pet owners.

“Considering the low infectious dose and potential disease severity, the high occurrence of STEC in RMBDs poses an important health risk for people handling raw pet food and those with close contact to pets fed on RMBDs,” according to the report.

Results build on a 2019 study published in the Royal Society Open Science journal by some of the same researchers assessing the microbiological quality of RMBDs in Switzerland.

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A study on a deadly E. coli outbreak in the United Kingdom linked to raw pet food adds to the evidence of such products being a risk factor for human infections, according to researchers.

In August 2017, four people were infected with related strains of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) O157:H7. One person died after developing the kidney complication known as hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS).

Interviews revealed three people had been exposed to dogs fed on a raw meat-based diet (RMBD), specifically tripe. In two cases, tripe was bought from the same supplier.

Many raw pet foods contain green tripe, a raw product which has not been cleaned and contains the untreated contents of a cow’s stomach. Raw pet foods could cause human illness if tainted products are consumed, handled or via secondary transfer from contact with contaminated surfaces like kitchen surfaces or dog bowls, said researchers. Feeding raw meat to pets has increased in popularity because of improved availability and the belief it has health benefits.

E. coli found but not outbreak strain
Illness onset dates were from June 23 to July 23, 2017. Two confirmed cases were female and two were male. Those affected ranged in age from 6 to 45 years old. All four patients lived in England and three were hospitalized.

Sampling and microbiological screening of raw pet food found STEC in the products. It was isolated from one sample of raw tripe but was different from the strain causing human illness. However, detection of STEC in tripe provided evidence that raw pet food was a potential source of human STEC infection during the outbreak, found the study published in the journal Epidemiology and Infection.

Food, water and environmental samples were collected by environmental health practitioners from the freezers of two patients, an implicated producer of raw pet feed and a pet food shop. Public Health England published a report on the outbreak in 2018.

STEC O100:H30 was isolated from the sample of raw tripe taken from a patient’s freezer and the swab from the producer’s preparation bench.

For the pet shop in the South East, raw pet food had been supplied by a producer, distributor and retailer based in the North East. This firm supplied the pet food for patients in the North East and was supplied by a separate producer from which the STEC O100:H30 sample originated from.

This supplier said they were sourcing tripe from two places, one based in North East England and another in Northern Ireland. Prior to onset of symptoms in the outbreak, the firm also sourced raw meat from another supplier in the North East which went into administration in July 2017 largely because of hygiene issues.

Data shows increasing risk
Four patients had contact with dogs. One fed their dogs’ raw tripe. A second had contact with dogs also fed on raw tripe purchased from the same shop as the first case. Another had close contact with a dog, including brushing its teeth with their own toothbrush. This dog was fed a raw meat-based diet.

The fourth person had contact with a family member’s dog that was not fed tripe or raw pet food. However, they reported contact with another dog fed on bulk frozen pet food sourced from an online company supplying raw pet food, four weeks prior to onset of symptoms.

A review of exposures to raw pet food among more than 2,000 STEC cases from January 2013 to December 2017 found handling raw pet food was reported for 12 patients. However, seven of those were in 2017. Nine were infected with STEC O157:H7 and three with serogroups O76:H19, O113:H4 and O146:H21.

Surveillance using whole genome sequencing data enabled the detection and investigation of the outbreak. Prior to WGS, this cluster would have gone below the radar because of the small size, geographical spread of patients and commonly reported phage type that is responsible for a third of STEC O157:H7 cases in England.

The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA), responsible for approving and monitoring raw pet food producers, reported an increase in manufacturers from five in 2013, to 90 with 23 awaiting approval by February 2018. Ten raw pet food incidents were reported in 2017 and eight were microbiological, according to data from the Food Standards Agency.

Legislation requires microbiological testing for Salmonella and Enterobacteriaceae but not for Listeria, Campylobacter or STEC.

Recommendations to reduce the risk of infection include improved awareness of risk and promoting good hygiene practices among the public when handling raw pet food.

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Natural Balance Pet Foods Inc. is recalling certain cat food products because of possible Salmonella contamination, which can be dangerous to pets and people who handle the food. 

The issue was found by the Minnesota Department of Agriculture during a routine state surveillance sample.

Surfaces not thoroughly washed after having contact with the recalled products or any surfaces exposed to these products are at risk of cross-contamination.

The recalled products were distributed nationwide in the United States, both by retail and online distribution. 

Salmonella can infect cats by eating a product contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. Symptoms of Salmonella infection in cats may include vomiting, diarrhea, decreased appetite, fever or excessive salivation. The company suggests that if your pet has consumed the recalled product and has any of these symptoms to contact your veterinarian. Some cats may not appear sick but can spread infection to other animals and humans in the household.

Salmonella can spread to humans from handling contaminated pet products, especially if they have not washed their hands after having contact with their cat’s foods, surfaces or cats that have been in contact with the contaminated product.

The following information can be found on the back panel of each 5 LB and 10 LB bag.

Recalled products:

Product Name Retail UPC Code Lot Code Best If Used by Date
5 LB Bag, Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food 2363300233 1008080 06:42N811202:20 10-Mar-2022
10 LB Bag, Natural Balance L.I.D. Limited Ingredient Diets Green Pea & Chicken Formula Dry Cat Food 2363300235 1008080 06:42N811202:20 10-Mar-2022

If pet owners have the recalled products in their possession, they should stop feeding it to their cats and dispose of it immediately or return it to their retailer for a refund.

As of the posting of this recall, no customer complaints or illnesses have been reported.

About Salmonella infections in humans
Food contaminated with Salmonella bacteria does not usually look, smell, or taste spoiled. Anyone can become sick with a Salmonella infection. Infants, children, seniors  and people with weakened immune systems are at higher risk of serious illness because their immune systems are fragile, according to the CDC.

Anyone who has come in contact with any of the recalled products and developed symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek medical attention. Sick people should tell their doctors about the possible exposure to Salmonella bacteria because special tests are necessary to diagnose salmonellosis. Salmonella infection symptoms can mimic other illnesses, frequently leading to misdiagnosis.

Symptoms of Salmonella infection can include diarrhea, abdominal cramps and fever within 12 to 72 hours after eating contaminated food. Otherwise, healthy adults are usually sick for four to seven days. In some cases, however, diarrhea may be so severe that patients require hospitalization.

Older adults, children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems, such as cancer patients, are more likely to develop severe illness and serious, sometimes life-threatening conditions.

Some people get infected without getting sick or showing any symptoms. However, they may still spread the infections to others.

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Human risk of illness is on the rise due to the handling of contaminated pet foods named in a massive recall by Evansville, IN-based Midwestern Pet Foods.

Specific cat and food brands including   CanineX, Earthborn Holistic, Venture, Unrefined, Sportmix Wholesomes, Pro Pac, Pro Pac Ultimates, Sportstrail, Sportmix, and Meridian brands produced at its Monmouth, IL production facility because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

A full list of recalled products is included in this announcement.  In addition to the risk to humans, Salmonella can affect animals eating the products.

Surfaces not thoroughly washed after having contact with the products or any surfaces exposed to these products are at risk.

People infected with Salmonella should monitor themselves for some or all of the following symptoms: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, abdominal cramping, and fever.  Salmonella can result in serious ailments, including arterial infections, endocarditis, arthritis, muscle pain, eye irritation, and urinary tract symptoms. Consumers exhibiting these signs after having contact with this product should contact their healthcare providers.

Pets with Salmonella infections may be lethargic and have diarrhea or bloody diarrhea, fever, and vomiting. Some pets will have only decreased appetite, fever, and abdominal pain. Infected but otherwise healthy pets can be carriers and infect other animals or humans. If your pet has consumed the recalled product and has these symptoms, please contact your veterinarian. No human or pet illnesses have been reported to date.

Products were distributed to retail stores nationwide and to online retailers.

Lot code information may be found on the back of the bags in the following format:

“EXP AUG/02/22/M1/L#

This recall covers only certain products manufactured at the Midwestern Pet Foods Monmouth, Illinois facility.  The unique Monmouth Facility identifier is located in the date code as an “M”.

The recall was the result of a routine sampling program by the company which revealed that the finished products may contain the bacteria.

Retailers and distributors should immediately pull recalled lots from their inventory and shelves.  Do not sell or donate the recalled products.  Retailers are encouraged to contact consumers that have purchased the recalled products if the means to do so exists.

Do not feed the recalled products to pets or any other animals.  Destroy the food in a way that children, pets, and wildlife cannot access.  Wash and sanitize pet food bowls, cups, and storage containers.  Always ensure you wash and sanitize your hands after handling recalled food or any utensils that come in contact with recalled food.

The recall is being conducted in cooperation with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Product Description

Expiration Date/Lot No.

Bag Size

Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage May/04/22M2 L1 25#
Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage May/05/22M3 L1, L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage Aug/04/22M1 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Adult Vantage Sep/19/22M3 L1, L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch May/03/22M1, M2 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch May/04/22M3 L1 25#
Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Aug/04/22M3 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Coastal Catch Sep/18/22M3, M1 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Aug/08/22M3, M1 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Aug/09/22M3 L1, L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Great Plains Feast Sep/15/22M1,M2 L1, L2 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Large Breed May/03/22M2 L1, L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Large Breed May/04/22M3 L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Large Breed Aug/12/22M3 L1, L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Large Breed Sep/15/22M2 L1 25#
Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast Apr/26/22M3 L2 28#
Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast May/09/22M1, M3 L1, L2 14#, 28#
Earthborn Holistic Meadow Feast Sep/18/22M1,M2 L1, L2 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion Aug/03/22M3, M1 L1, L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Ocean Fusion Sep/18/22M2 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline Apr/29/22M1 L1, L2, L3 5#, 14#
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Feline Sep/17/22M3, M1 L1, L2 5#, 14#
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Apr/28/22M2 L3, L2 4#, 12.5#
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Apr/29/22M3, M2 L1, L2, L3 4#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Primitive Natural Sep/17/22M1 L1, L2 25#
Earthborn Holistic Small Breed May/09/22M1, M2 L2, L3 4#, 12.5#
Earthborn Holistic Small Breed May/11/22M1 L2 12.5#
Earthborn Holistic Weight Control Aug/03/22M2 L1, L2 4#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Weight Control Aug/04/22M3 L1 4#, 25#
Earthborn Holistic Western Feast May/03/22M1 L1, L2 28#
Earthborn Holistic Western Feast Sep/15/22M2 L2 28#
Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch May/04/22M1 L3 5#
Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch May/05/22M1 L1 14#
Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch May/09/22M1, M4 L1, L2 14#
Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch Aug/08/22M1, M2 L2, L3 5#, 14#
Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch Aug/09/22M3 L1, L2 5#, 14#
Meridian Daybreak May/04/22M1 L3 5#
Meridian Daybreak Aug/10/22M1 L2 14#
Meridian Riverbend Aug/12/22M1 L1 14#
Meridian Twilight May/02/22M1 L3, L1 5#, 14#
Pro Pac Adult Chunk May/03/22M1, M3 L1, L2 40#
Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk May/11/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk Sep/15/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Pro Pac Mature Adult Apr/28/22M3 L1 28#
Pro Pac Performance Puppy Apr/28/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Pro Pac Performance Puppy Aug/01/22M3, M1 L1, L2 40#
Pro Pac Performance Puppy Aug/08/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Pro Pac Performance Puppy Sep/16/22M1 L1, L2 40#
Pro Pac Ultimates Bayside Select May/11/22M3 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Bayside Select Aug/05/22M1 L1, L2, L3 5#, 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Bayside Select Aug/12/22M1 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Chicken & Rice Aug/05/22M3 L1, L2, L3 5#, 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Heartland Choice May/04/22M1,M2 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Heartland Choice Aug/10/22M1, M2 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Lamb & Rice Aug/02/22M3 L1, L2 5#, 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Lamb & Rice Aug/12/22M1 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Large Breed Adult Sep/17/22M2 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Large Breed Adult Sep/18/22M3 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Large Breed Puppy Apr/28/22M3, M1 L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Meadow Prime May/02/22M2 L1 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Overland Red May/04/22M2 L1 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Overland Red Aug/05/22M3 L1, L2 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Puppy May/11/22M1, M2 L2, L3 5#, 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Puppy Aug/10/22M2 L1, L2 5#, 28#
Pro Pac Ultimates Puppy Aug/11/22M1 L3 5#
Pro Pac Ultimates Savannah Pride Aug/11/22M3 L1, L2, L3 5#, 14#
Sportmix 24/20 Energy Plus Apr/28/22M1,M2 L1, L2 44#, 50#
Sportmix 24/20 Energy Plus May/12/22M3, M1 L1, L2 44#, 50#
Sportmix 24/20 Energy Plus Aug/02/22M3, M1 L1, L2 50#
Sportmix 24/20 Energy Plus Sep/15/22M2 L1 50#
Sportmix 24/20 Energy Plus Sep/16/22M3 L1, L2 50#
Sportmix Bite Size Apr/26/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Bite Size May/12/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Bite Size Aug/03/22M1, M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Bite Size Sep/15/22M1 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Canine X Chicken May/04/22M3, M1 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Canine X Chicken Aug/11/22M1, M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Gourmet Cat May/02/22M3, M1 L1, L2 15#, 31#
Sportmix Gourmet Cat Aug/01/22M3, M1 L1, L2 15#, 31#
Sportmix Hi-Protein 27/12 Sep/17/22M1,M2 L1, L2 50#
Sportmix High Energy 26/18 May/05/22M3, M1 L1, L2 44#, 50#
Sportmix High Energy 26/18 Aug/05/22M1 L1, L2 50#
Sportmix High Energy 26/18 Sep/16/22M2 L2 50#
Sportmix High Energy 26/18 Sep/17/22M3 L1, L2 50#
Sportmix Maintenance 21/12 Apr/29/22M3 L2 44#, 50#
Sportmix Maintenance 21/12 Aug/01/22M2 L1, L2 44#, 50#
Sportmix Original Cat Aug/04/22M2 L1 15#, 31#
Sportmix Stamina 24/18 Aug/02/22M3 L1, L2 44#, 50#
Sportmix Wholesome Large Breed May/11/22M3, M1 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesome Performance Puppy Aug/11/22M1 L1 16.5#
Sportmix Wholesomes Beef & Rice May/04/22M1,M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Beef & Rice May/05/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Beef & Rice Aug/04/22M2 L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Cat Apr/26/22M3, M1 L1, L2 15#, 16.5#
Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken & Rice Aug/11/22M3, M1 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Chicken & Rice Sep/16/22M1 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Fish & Rice May/11/22M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Fish & Rice May/12/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Fish & Rice Aug/03/22M1 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Fish & Rice Aug/11/22M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Grain-Free Beef Meal & Chickpeas May/05/22M3 L2 35#
Sportmix Wholesomes Grain-Free Beef Meal & Chickpeas Aug/05/22M3 L1, L2 35#
Sportmix Wholesomes Grain Free Chicken Meal & Potato May/04/22M2 L2 35#
Sportmix Wholesomes Grain-Free Whitefish Meal & Potato May/11/22M3 L2 35#
Sportmix Wholesomes Grain-Free Whitefish Meal & Potato Aug/05/22M1 L2 35#
Sportmix Wholesomes Grain-Free Whitefish Meal & Potato Aug/12/22M1 L2 35#
Sportmix Wholesomes Lamb & Rice May/11/22M1,M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Lamb & Rice Aug/02/22M1 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Lamb & Rice Sep/16/22M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Large Breed Aug/11/22M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Large Breed Aug/12/22M3 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Large Breed Sep/17/22M2 L1, L2 40#
Sportmix Wholesomes Performance Puppy Aug/10/22M2 L1, L2 16.5#
Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Lamb Apr/29/22M1 L2 30#
Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Lamb May/02/22M3, M1 L1 30#
Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Salmon Aug/09/22M3, M1 L1, L2 30#
Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Salmon Sep/16/22M1,M2 L1, L2 30#
Sportmix Wholesomes Sensitive Salmon Apr/26/22M1,M2 L1, L2 30#
Sportstrail Aug/03/22M1 L1 50#
Sportstrail Sep/15/22M3, M1 L1, L2 50#
Unrefined Lamb Apr/26/22M2 L3, L2 4#, 25#
Unrefined Lamb Apr/27/22M3 L3, L2, L1 4#, 25#
Unrefined Lamb Aug/09/22M1, M2 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Unrefined Rabbit May/10/22M3, M1 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Unrefined Rabbit Apr/27/22M1, M2 L3, L2, L1 4#, 25#
Unrefined Rabbit Aug/09/22M2 L1, L2 12.5#, 25#
Unrefined Rabbit Aug/10/22M3, M1 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Unrefined Rabbit Apr/28/22M3 L1 25#
Unrefined Salmon Apr/27/22M3, M1 L3, L2, L1 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Unrefined Salmon May/09/22M1,M2 L1, L2 12.5#, 25#
Unrefined Salmon May/10/22M3, M1 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Venture Alaska Pollock Meal & Pumpkin Aug/02/22M2 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Venture Alaska Pollock Meal & Pumpkin Sep/18/22M3, M1 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Venture Alaska Pollock Meal & Pumpkin Aug/03/22M3 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Venture Duck Meal & Pumpkin Aug/01/22M1, M2 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Venture Rabbit Meal & Pumpkin May/02/22M1,M2 L3 4#
Venture Rabbit Meal & Pumpkin May/03/22M3 L1, L2 4#,12.5#, 25#
Venture Rabbit Meal & Pumpkin Aug/02/22M1, M2 L1, L2, L3 4#, 12.5#, 25#
Wholesomes Chicken &Rice May/02/22M1, M3 L1, L2 40#
Wholesomes Fish & Rice Apr/26/22M1 L1, L2 40#

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The Food and Drug Administration has updated the number of pet deaths to 110 in connection to fatal levels of aflatoxin in Midwestern Pet Foods Inc.’s recalled dog and cat food products. In addition to the deaths there are more than 210 pets that are sick after eating Sportmix pet food.

The update comes after multiple Midwestern Pet Foods Inc.’s recalls of dog and cat food products after tests showed levels of aflatoxin that exceed acceptable limits. The pet deaths are associated with lots of Sportmix High Energy. No human illnesses have been reported.

Evansville, IN-based Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. expanded their initial product recall on Jan. 11 to include all pet foods containing corn and manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma plant, and having an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022.

The recalled pet foods were distributed nationally to online distributors and retail stores.

Aflatoxin is a poison produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in animal and human food. At high levels, aflatoxin can cause illness and death in pets, as wells as illness in people who are sensitive to the mold.

If a pet shows signs of aflatoxin poisoning including sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes, gums, or skin due to liver damage, and/or diarrhea, owners should contact a veterinarian immediately. Provide a full diet history to the veterinarian. Take unused pet to in with you. It may also be helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number.

Lot code information may be found on the back of the bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in the format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L#/B###/HH: MM”. More than 1,000 lot codes are affected.

Retailers and distributors should immediately pull recalled lots from their inventory and shelves. Do not sell or donate the recalled products. If they have the means, retailers are encouraged to contact consumers who have purchased the recalled products if they have the means to do so.

Anyone who has purchased the recalled products should not feed them to their pets or other animals. Destroy the products in a way that children, pets, and wildlife cannot access them. Wash and sanitize pet food bowls, cups, and storage containers.

Recalled products:

More than 1,000 lot codes are affected, so they are not listed individually. 

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bag 
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bag 
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%, 50 lb. bag 
  • Nunn Better Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag

Lot code information may be found on the back of bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L__/B___/HH:MM”.

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After the reported deaths of at least 70 dogs and more than 80 sick, Evansville, IN-based Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. has expanded their product recall to include all pet foods containing corn and manufactured in the company’s Oklahoma plant, and having an expiration date on or before July 9, 2022.

Some of the pet food is being recalled because of a toxin that is created by a specific mold that many people are allergic to.

The recall expansion comes after Midwestern Pet Foods Inc.’s initial recall of dog and cat food products after tests showed levels of Aflatoxin that exceed acceptable limits. The dog deaths are associated with lots of Sportmix High Energy.  No cat or human illnesses have been reported.

The recalled pet foods were distributed nationally to online distributors and retail stores.

Aflatoxin is a poison produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in animal and human food. At high levels, aflatoxin can cause illness and death in pets.

If a pet shows signs of aflatoxin poisoning including sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes, gums, or skin due to liver damage, and/or diarrhea, owners should contact a veterinarian immediately. Provide a full diet history to the veterinarian. It may be helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number.

Lot code information may be found on the back of the bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in the format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L#/B###/HH: MM”.

Retailers and distributors should immediately pull recalled lots from their inventory and shelves. Do not sell or donate the recalled products. If they have the means, retailers are encouraged to contact consumers who have purchased the recalled products if they have the means to do so.

Anyone who has purchased the recalled products should not feed to to pets or other animals. Destroy the products in a way that children, pets, and wildlife cannot access them. Wash and sanitize pet food bowls, cups, and storage containers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cooperating in the recall.

Additional recalled products:

More than 1,000 lot codes are affected, so they are not listed individually. 

  • Pro Pac Adult Mini Chunk, 40 lb. bag 
  • Pro Pac Performance Puppy, 40 lb. bag 
  • Splash Fat Cat 32%, 50 lb. bag 
  • Nunn Better Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 15 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Original Cat, 31 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Maintenance, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Protein, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Energy Plus, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Stamina, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 40 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Bite Size, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 44 lb. bag
  • Sportmix High Energy, 50 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 16.5 lb. bag
  • Sportmix Premium Puppy, 33 lb. bag

Lot code information may be found on the back of bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L__/B___/HH:MM”.

Initial recalled lot codes are as follows:

  • 50# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots Exp 03/02/22/05/L2, 03/02/22/05/L3, 03/03/22/05/L2
  • 44# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots 03/02/22/05/L3
  • 50# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 44# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 31# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 15# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L2, 03/03/22/05/L3

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After the reported deaths of at least 28 dogs, Evansville, IN-based Midwestern Pet Foods Inc. has recalled dog and cat food products after tests showed levels of Aflatoxin that exceed acceptable limits. The dog deaths are associated with lots of Sportmix High Energy.  No cat or human illnesses have been reported.

The recalled pet foods. were distributed nationally to online distributors and retail stores.

Aflatoxin is a poison produced by the mold Aspergillus flavus, which can grow on corn and other grains used as ingredients in pet food. At high levels, aflatoxin can cause illness and death in pets.

If a  pet shows signs of aflatoxin poisoning including sluggishness, loss of appetite, vomiting, yellowish tint to the eyes, gums, or skin due to liver damage, and/or diarrhea, contact a veterinarian immediately. Provide a full diet history to the veterinarian. It may be helpful to take a picture of the pet food label, including the lot number.

Lot code information may be found on the back of the bag and will appear in a three-line code, with the top line in the format “EXP 03/03/22/05/L#/B###/HH: MM”.

Retailers and distributors should immediately pull recalled lots from their inventory and shelves. Do not sell or donate the recalled products.  If they have the means, retailers are encouraged to contact consumers who have purchased the recalled products i

Anyone who has purchased the recalled products should not feed any to pets or other animals. Destroy the products in a way that children, pets, and wildlife cannot access them. Wash and sanitize pet food bowls, cups, and storage containers.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is cooperating in the recall.

Recalled lot codes are as follows:

  • 50# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots Exp 03/02/22/05/L2, 03/02/22/05/L3, 03/03/22/05/L2
  • 44# Sportmix Energy Plus Lots 03/02/22/05/L3
  • 50# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 44# Sportmix Premium High Energy Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 31# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L3
  • 15# Sportmix Original Cat Lots 03/03/22/05/L2, 03/03/22/05/L3

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As part of its enforcement activities, the Food and Drug Administration sends warning letters to entities under its jurisdiction. Some letters are not posted for public view until weeks or months after they are sent. Business owners have 15 days to respond to FDA warning letters. Warning letters often are not issued until a company has been given months to years to correct problems.

A pet food company in Oregon is on notice from the FDA after inspectors found Listeria monocytogenes in the manufacturing facility. This warning letter serves as a reminder that pet food products can contain dangerous pathogens and should be handled as carefully as other products.

Consumers should beware of cross contamination from pet food on surfaces, such as kitchen counters. Contamination in pet food can make people sick when cross contamination occurs or when good handwashing and other hygiene practices are not followed.  

Raw Advantage Processing LLC
Aumsville, OR

In an Aug. 18 warning letter, the FDA described Aug. 26 and 30 inspections at Raw Advantage Processing LLC’s pet food manufacturing facility. The inspectors found that the firm had significant violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals regulation. 

In response, the FDA issued the firm a  Form FDA 483.

The significant violations:

  1. The firm failed to identify and evaluate each known or reasonably foreseeable hazard for each type of animal food manufactured, processed, packed, or held at their facility to determine whether there are any hazards requiring a preventive control.

The firm provided FDA investigators with a document titled “Raw Advantage Processing hazard analysis raw, ground product for (redacted) Processing” and another titled, “Raw Advantage Processing hazard analysis raw, ground product – with and without ingredients” for (redacted) products as part of their food safety plan. FDA review determined that neither of these documents identifies and evaluates all the known or reasonably foreseeable hazards for animal food in their facility.

  1. The firm’s written hazard analysis for their raw ground pet food products that do not undergo (redacted) did not identify or evaluate Listeria monocytogenes as a known or reasonably foreseeable hazard. Raw meat pet food and its ingredients such as raw poultry, raw fruits and vegetables, and raw milk are known to be a source of Listeria monocytogenes.
  2. The firm’s hazard analysis for products that undergo (redacted) did not identify or evaluate microbiological hazards from raw goat milk. According to their (redacted) formula, manufactured on Aug. 8, 2019, the recipe contains “Goats Milk,” which is listed as raw goat milk on the product labeling. Raw milk is known to be a source of a wide range of microbiological hazards (such as Escherichia coli (E. coli), Listeria, and Campylobacter).

The firm’s Sept. 13, 2019, response indicates their food safety plan will be reviewed and acknowledges potential bacteriological risks. However, their response does not include a revised hazard analysis; therefore, the FDA is unable to assess their corrective action. The FDA will verify the adequacy of their corrective actions during a future inspection.

  1. The firm’s hazard evaluation did not include an evaluation of environmental pathogens whenever an animal food is exposed to the environment prior to packaging and the packaged animal food does not receive a treatment or otherwise include a control measure that would significantly minimize the pathogen.

Meat used in their raw, ready-to-eat products, in chunks or after the grinding step, is exposed to the environment at multiple steps e.g., during (redacted), during movement in open (redacted) carts, during grinding, during staging before the final product is bagged and sealed. As a specific example, during the inspection, open (redacted) carts containing raw meat in the grinder/mixer room were observed close to the walls, and the raw meat was touching the wall and a hose hanging on the wall. Environmental FDA sample INV1117248, collected during the investigation, yielded isolates of Listeria monocytogenes in six different locations throughout their facility, including the grinder/mixer room. The firm’s packaged food does not receive a lethal treatment or otherwise include a control measure (such as a formulation lethal to the pathogen) that would significantly minimize the pathogen. However, neither of their hazard evaluations evaluated environmental pathogens.

Their response dated Sept. 13, 2019, outlines the corrective actions they plan to take in response to their failure to identify and evaluate all known and reasonably foreseeable hazards for the animal food manufactured by their facility. Their corrective actions included a review of their food safety plan by their microbiologist and a third-party Preventive Controls Qualified Individual (PCQI). However, the firm has not provided their revised food safety plan. Therefore, the FDA is unable to assess their promised corrective actions, as they do not have sufficient information. The FDA will verify the adequacy of their corrective actions during a future inspection.

  1. The firm failed to validate that the preventive controls identified and implemented are adequate to control the hazard.

Validation means obtaining and evaluating scientific and technical evidence that their control measure, or combination of control measures, or their food safety plan as a whole, when properly implemented, is capable of effectively controlling identified hazards, specifically, Listeria monocytogenes, E. coli O157:H7, and Salmonella.

  1. In the document “FSMA FDA Products Preventative Controls Program” for frozen pet food, code 190827, dated Aug. 26, 2019, the firm identifies (redacted) of materials in chubs or sealed packages as a process control for “BIOLOGICAL Vegetative Salmonella, Listeria, and E. coli growth and toxin production in (redacted) treated ingredients.” However, their firm does not have adequate validation for their (redacted) parameters. Specifically, the firm’s method for determining the sample size and the use of standard plate count as an indicator of log reduction, instead of inoculation with pathogens or an adequate indicator organism, are inadequate.
  2. In their document “FSMA FDA Products Preventative Controls Program” for frozen pet food, code 190826, dated Aug. 26, 2019, the firm identifies (redacted) as a process control for E. coli, Salmonella, and Listeria for pet food products that do not undergo (redacted). The study presented by their firm in support of this process control is (redacted). (Redacted) is also known as (redacted). This study pertains to food contact surfaces and was not designed to validate, nor is it adequate to validate, the antimicrobial efficacy of their process of (redacted).

The firm also provided what appears to be an unpublished study entitled, “(redacted).” This study uses (redacted) cubes of beef that are (redacted) for (redacted) minutes. This differs from their process, which includes (redacted) ground meat as it enters the (redacted).

The firm’s Sept. 13, 2019, response states they will conduct new validation studies for (redacted) that will include statistically valid sample sizes and inoculation of known quantities of various pathogens to substantiate a (redacted) reduction. Further, an email received from the firm on Nov. 20, 2019, states that they have scientific evidence showing (redacted) reduction kill rates for the (redacted) and will conduct a validation study to prove the log reduction under manufacturing conditions at their plant. The FDA will assess the adequacy and implementation of their validation study during their next inspection.

  1. The firm failed to identify and implement preventive controls to provide assurances that any hazards requiring preventive control will be significantly minimized or prevented. Preventive controls include controls at critical control points and at other points that are appropriate for animal food safety.

The firm’s document “FSMA FDA Products Preventative Controls Program” for frozen pet food, code 190826, dated Aug. 26, 2019, identified a (redacted) as a preventive control for certain biological hazards. However, biological hazards may be reintroduced during further manufacturing e.g., mixing, (redacted) or when the animal food is exposed to their manufacturing environment after the (redacted). As noted above, environmental sampling found pathogens in their facility. Without a food safety plan that controls biological hazards at all critical control points and other points appropriate for animal food safety in their manufacturing process, their preventive controls are insufficient to ensure the biological hazards are significantly minimized or prevented.

In their Sept. 13, 2019, response, they stated their firm will include the (redacted) of all raw meat and poultry as a preventive control for the bacterial hazards. Additionally, their e-mail dated Nov. 20, 2019, stated that they started working on the validation and implementation of (redacted) for all raw frozen diet products. While the FDA acknowledges this corrective action, their response did not provide a revised food safety plan with changes in their manufacturing process and did not include adequate documentation for the FDA to fully evaluate their responses. The FDA will verify the adequacy of their corrective actions during a future inspection.

Undesirable Microorganisms in Pet Food and Their Processing Environment
The firm manufactures pet food and many of the circumstances described above are ways in which the pet food they manufacture could become contaminated by undesirable microorganisms for which they have inadequate control. Undesirable microorganisms include microorganisms that are pathogens, that subject animal food to decomposition, that indicate that animal food is contaminated with filth, or that otherwise may cause animal food to be adulterated.

On Aug. 27, 2019, FDA collected a sample of (redacted) Beef Recipe lot (redacted) sample 1117252, that was manufactured on Aug. 26, 2019. FDA laboratory analysis of this sample identified the presence of non-O157 Shiga Toxin-producing E. coli O88:H25. FDA conducted whole genome sequencing (WGS) analysis on the E. coli O88:H25 found in their pet food product. As discussed with them on Oct. 18, 2019, the results revealed several virulence markers in the genome suggesting it is pathogenic.

During the FDA inspection, the FDA also performed swabbing for the presence of environmental pathogens. Sample number INV 1117248 consisted of 100 subsamples of environmental swabs (18) and sponges (82). The FDA laboratory recovered Listeria monocytogenes from 7 of 37 subsamples analyzed for this pathogen. FDA conducted WGS analysis of the L. monocytogenes strains found in environmental sample number 1117248. As discussed with them on Oct. 18, 2019, the WGS analysis found that the L. monocytogenes strain in subsamples 23, 30, and 31, from the cart wheel, drain near mixer, and drain near grinder, respectively, of the environmental sample is related to a strain found in (redacted) in 2016. (redacted).

On (redacted), the Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) collected a sample of (redacted)”, identified as “(redacted). The sample (MDA Sample Number # (redacted)) was analyzed by the MDA Microbiology Laboratory and tested positive for Salmonella Dublin. We discussed the MDA test results and FDA’s WGS analysis results with them on Nov. 6, 2019, and Feb. 27, 2020, respectively.

The presence of undesirable microorganisms in their finished product and processing environment is further evidence of the significance of their violations of the animal food hazard analysis and risk-based preventive control requirements and demonstrates that their practices are not adequate to prevent or mitigate biological hazards.

The full warning letter can be viewed here.

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As part of its enforcement activities, the Food and Drug Administration sends warning letters to entities under its jurisdiction. Some letters are not posted for public view until weeks or months after they are sent. Business owners have 15 days to respond to FDA warning letters. Warning letters often are not issued until a company has been given months to years to correct problems.

Lea-Way Farm Inc. dba Blue Ridge Beef
Statesville, NC

A raw pet food company in North Carolina is on notice from the FDA after inspectors found Salmonella, E. coli. and Listeria monocytogenes in their manufacturing facility. This warning letter serves as a reminder that raw pet food products contain raw meat and should be handled no differently than other raw meat products.

In a June 26 warning letter the FDA described a Sept. 30 through Oct. 25, 2019 inspection at Lea-Way Farm, Inc.’s raw pet food manufacturing facility. During the inspection, FDA investigators found serious violations of the Current Good Manufacturing Practice Hazard Analysis, and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals regulation.

The FDA’s inspection resulted in issuance of an FDA Form 483. The significant violations listed are:

  1. The firm did not examine their raw materials to ensure they were suitable for manufacturing and processing into animal food, and they did not handle them under conditions that will protect the animal food against contamination and minimize deterioration. Specifically:
  • The firm utilizes tissues from animals that have died otherwise than by slaughter in the manufacturing of pet food without first determining whether the animals suffered any type of illness, injury, and/or whether any medications may have been administered to the animals prior to their pick up from the supplier and subsequent use in manufacturing, such that tissues from the animals would be unsuitable for manufacturing and processing into their pet food.
  1. They did not construct and maintain their plant in a way that reduces the potential for contamination of animal food. Specifically:
  • The concrete floors of the kill floor (where whole animals are skinned and eviscerated), the cooler room (where carcasses are trimmed and held), and the grinder/mixing room (where pet food ingredients are ground, mixed, and packaged into finished product) are rough and pitted, with standing pools of water. These areas are not easily cleaned, creating a possible niche for undesirable microorganisms.
  1. They did not thaw their raw materials or ingredients in a manner that minimizes the potential for the growth of undesirable microorganisms. Specifically:
  • In their grinder/mixing room we observed thawing beef parts used to manufacture their pet food coming into contact with the concrete floor. As noted in violation 2, the condition of their  floors creates a possible niche for undesirable microorganisms that could contaminate the thawing ingredients.
  1. They did not take adequate precautions to ensure that their plant operations do not contribute to contamination of animal food. Specifically:
  • In the cooler, employees were observed performing sanitation procedures. Over-spray from the pressure washer was observed falling into open tubs of exposed meat held for use as pet food.
  • On the kill floor, while employees removed hides from three cow carcasses, stomach contents and fecal matter were observed spilling over onto exposed carcasses. The FDA did not observe these carcasses being rinsed before being rolled into the cooler area where the carcasses are further separated for pet food use.
  • On the kill floor and in the cooler, carcasses were observed being dragged on the floors, dropping from the railing system onto the floors and being trimmed from the floors in these rooms. As noted in violation 2, the condition of their floors creates a niche for microbial activity that could contaminate the carcasses.
  1. The firm did not maintain holding and conveying systems in a way to protect against contamination of animal food. Additionally, all plant equipment must be designed of such material and workmanship to be adequately cleanable and must be properly maintained. Specifically:
  • The overhead metal rails used to transport meat carcasses between the kill floor, cooler room and processing room were observed to be poorly maintained. When overhead rails were in use, chipping/flaking paint and product buildup was observed. Additionally, these rails are not easily cleanable due to the chipping/flaking paint.
  1. The firm did not keep their plant physical facilities in good repair to prevent animal food from becoming adulterated. Specifically:
  • On the kill floor, deteriorating, exposed insulation was observed in the ceiling directly over where exposed beef carcasses are trimmed and separated for pet food.
  • The cooler unit in the cooler room was observed to be in poor repair and dripping condensate directly into tubs of open, exposed beef leg bones, shanks, and neck bones used to manufacture pet food.
  1. The firm’s facility does not have plumbing designed, installed, and maintained to properly convey sewage and liquid disposable waste from the plant and to avoid being a source of contamination to animal food or creating an unsanitary condition. Specifically:
  • The hand washing sinks located on the kill floor and the cooler room did not have adequate plumbing hook-ups to prevent water from running directly onto the floor. As noted above, carcasses used to manufacture pet food are dropped, dragged, and trimmed on these floors.

The presence of undesirable microorganisms in their pet food is further evidence of their significant CGMP violations.

During our inspection, FDA collected final product and raw ingredient samples for microbiological samples. Sample #1098421 consisted of an in-process sample of raw ground beef intended to be used as an ingredient in your firm’s finished product. This sample was found to be positive for Salmonella London Group B1 and generic E. coli. Sample #1098422 of a finished product sample of Blue Ridge Beef Raw Kitten Grind was found positive for Salmonella Agona Group B and Listeria monocytogenes Type One.

The full warning letter can be viewed here.

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Public health officials continue to investigate an E. coli outbreak linked to raw pet food sold under the Carnivora brand.

Of four sick people identified so far, all had the same strain of E. coli O157 infection and all had been exposed to the raw pet food for dogs who had been fed it, according to an outbreak notice posted by Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

Riveriene Farm Ltd. operating as Carnivora Pet Foods of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, recalled six varieties of the Carnivora brand raw food. All were manufactured in Canada and widely distributed, possibly nationwide, according to a recall notice posted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

“The individuals became sick between early March and mid-May 2020. Two individuals have been hospitalized. No deaths have been reported. Individuals who became ill are between 3 and 43 years of age,” the outbreak notice states.

“The collaborative outbreak investigation was initiated because reports of E. coli O157 illnesses with similar genetic fingerprints were identified. All of the individuals who became sick reported exposure to Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food purchased at various pet stores before their illnesses occurred.”

It is possible that more recent illnesses will be reported in the outbreak because of the period between when a person becomes ill and when the illness is reported to public health officials. For this outbreak, the illness reporting period is between three and four weeks, according to the federal health agency.

The recalled pet food is labeled as follows, it has various date codes:

  • Whole Animal Chicken Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats
  • Chicken Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit
  • Whole Animal Beef Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats
  • Beef Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit
  • Whole Animal Turkey Diet, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats
  • Turkey Diet

This outbreak serves as a reminder that raw pet food products contain raw meat and should be handled no differently than other raw meat products. Canadians are advised not to feed any recalled Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food products to their pets. As the investigation is ongoing, it is possible that additional products will be identified. 

“If you do not have the original packaging of the Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food and are unsure whether these products are linked to this outbreak, throw them out just to be safe,” according to the public health agency.

What you should do to protect your health
Consumers should check to see if they have recalled Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food in their freezers, public health officials urge.

Use the following food safety tips to help prevent further illnesses:

  • If you have the affected product, do not feed it to your pet. Consumers should immediately stop using any of the affected pet food products and contact the retailer where they purchased the affected product for a full refund or exchange.
  • Wash and sanitize any containers, utensils and surfaces that the raw foods touched before using them again. This includes countertops, microwaves and refrigerators.
  • Always wash hands thoroughly with soap and warm water after feeding, handling or cleaning up after pets. Animals fed raw meat diets are more likely to be shedding harmful bacteria like Salmonella and dangerous strains of E. coli even when they appear healthy, compared to those fed commercial kibble or other cooked diets. Regularly clean surfaces that come into contact with pet food or pets.
  • When possible, store all pet food and treats away from where human food is stored or prepared and away from reach of young children.
  • If you suspect you have become ill after being exposed to frozen raw pet food, or pets fed these diets, and have symptoms consistent with E. coli O157 infection, talk with your health care provider.
  • The Public Health Agency of Canada does not recommend feeding raw pet food to pets, especially in households with young children, or individuals who have conditions that compromise their immune system that put them at greater risk for more serious illness. However, if you choose to feed your pet a raw food diet, it is recommended that you buy from companies that use meat-derived ingredients that have been prepared in sanitary conditions and passed inspection for human consumption. Also look for companies that have a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points protocol in place, which sets safety standards and practices, and helps to greatly reduce the risk of bacterial contamination.

About E. coli infections
Anyone who has handled any of the implicated products — or been around any pets who have eaten the food — and developed symptoms of E. coli infection should seek medical attention and tell their doctor about their possible exposure to the bacteria. Specific tests are required to diagnose the infections, which can mimic other illnesses.

The symptoms of E. coli infections vary for each person but often include severe stomach cramps and diarrhea, which is often bloody. Some patients may also have a fever. Most patients recover within five to seven days. Others can develop severe or life-threatening symptoms and complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

About 5 to 10 percent of those diagnosed with E. coli infections develop a potentially life-threatening kidney failure complication, known as a hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS). Symptoms of HUS include fever, abdominal pain, feeling very tired, decreased frequency of urination, small unexplained bruises or bleeding, and pallor.

Many people with HUS recover within a few weeks, but some suffer permanent injuries or death. This condition can occur among people of any age but is most common in children younger than five years old because of their immature immune systems, older adults because of deteriorating immune systems, and people with compromised immune systems such as cancer patients.

People who experience HUS symptoms should immediately seek emergency medical care. People with HUS will likely be hospitalized because the condition can cause other serious and ongoing problems such as hypertension, chronic kidney disease, brain damage, and neurologic problems.

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