FDA AND CDC ARE ADVISING THAT CONSUMERS AVOID ALL PIG EAR PET TREATS, AND THAT RETAILERS STOP SELLING ALL PIG EAR TREATS AT THIS TIME.
Pig ear dog treats are behind a multi-strain outbreak of Salmonella infections that has sickened 127 people in 33 states, according to the latest update from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Twenty-four (21%) of the illnesses are in children under the age of five.
Fifty-five (45%) of the victims are female.
Twenty-six (26) of the victims have been admitted to hospital. No deaths have been reported.
Illnesses started on dates ranging from June 16, 2015 to July 6, 2019. Outbreak victims range in age from less than 1 year to 90 years, with a median age of 40 years.
Illnesses have been reported to CDC from Alabama (1), Arizona (1), California (1), Colorado (3), Connecticut (1), Florida (3), Georgia (2), Hawaii (1), Illinois (7), Indiana (5), Iowa (23), Kansas (3), Kentucky (6), Louisiana (1), Maine (1), Massachusetts (4), Michigan (12), Minnesota (1), Missouri (6), New Hampshire (1), New Jersey (2), New Mexico (1), New York (15), North Carolina (2), North Dakota (1), Ohio (5), Oregon (2), Pennsylvania (6), South Carolina (2), Texas (2), Utah (1), Washington (1), Wisconsin (4).
Based on epidemiology, lab results, and traceback investigations, pig ear dog treats appear to be the source of the outbreak.
In addition to the Salmonella serotypes already identified in the outbreak, testing carried out by Kansas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and the FDA found Salmonella Panama, Salmonella Brandenburg, Salmonella Anatum, and Salmonella Livingstone in treat samples purchased from retailers.
CDC is reviewing its databases to determine whether any of the additional strains have been associated with reports of human illness.
Illnesses were linked to contaminated pig ear dog treats were imported from Argentina and Brazil, according to traceback investigations carried out by FDA. However, these two sources do not account for all of the 127 reported infections.
In addition to the existing Import Alert 72-03 on pig ear pet treats, FDA is increasing its scrutiny of pig ears imported into the United States through sampling and examination.
On July 3rd, Pet Supplies Plus recalled bulk pig ears stocked in open bins from its stores in 33 states.
On July 26th, Lennox Intl. Inc. recalled Natural Pig ears that were shipped to to nationwide distributors and/or retail stores from May 1st, to July 3rd, 2019.
On July 30th, Lennox expanded its recall to include packages of Premium Natural Pig Ears shipped to nationwide distributors and/or retail stores from November 1st 2018, to July 3rd, 2019.
More products may be recalled and more suppliers identified as testing continues.
“The FDA takes seriously our responsibility to protect both human and animal health,” said Steven M. Solomon, D.V.M., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. “Multiple products have tested positive for numerous types of Salmonella resulting in two company recalls to date. Given this and the links to human illness, we believe the most effective way to protect public health at this time is to warn consumers to avoid purchasing or feeding their pets all pig ear treats and for retailers not to sell these products. We also continue to advise those who may have come into contact with potentially contaminated products to practice safe hygiene, including thoroughly washing hands and disinfecting any surfaces that have touched pig ear pet treats. The FDA will provide additional updates as our investigation further progresses.”
ADVICE FOR PET OWNERS
- Do not feed any pig ear treats to your dog. Throw them away in a secure container so that your pets and other animals can’t eat them.
- Even if some of the pig ears were fed to your dog and no one got sick, do not continue to feed them to your dog.
- Wash containers, shelves, and areas that held any pig ear dog treats with hot, soapy water. Be sure to wash your hands after handling any of these items.
- People who think their pets have become ill after consuming contaminated pet food should first contact their veterinarians. Veterinarians who wish to have pets tested for Salmonellamay do so through the Veterinary Laboratory Investigation and Response Network (Vet-LIRN Network) if the pet is from a household with a person infected with Salmonella.
- FDA encourages consumers to report complaints about pet food products electronically through the Safety Reporting Portal. This information helps FDA further protect human and animal health.