Four Canadians between the ages of 3 and 43 have beccome infected with E. coli O157 since March 2020, according to a report from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC). Two of the individuals were hospitalized.
All four individuals became ill following exposure to Carnivora brand frozen raw pet food purchased at various pet stores.
There have been no reports of sick pets.
The four genetically linked outbreak cases were reported from British Columbia (1 case), Alberta (2 cases) and Manitoba (1 case).
Carnivora brand raw pet food is manufactured by Riveriene Farm Ltd. o/a Carnivora Pet Foods, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and is distributed through retailers across Canada.
Carnivora has recalled the following six items, which may be contaminated with E. coli O157.
- Carnivora Brand Whole Animal Chicken Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats (4 lb / 1820g bag; UPC 689076622271; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
- Carnivora Brand Chicken Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit (25 lb / 11.36 kg Bulk Box; UPC 689076619677; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
- Carnivora Brand Whole Animal Beef Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats (4 lb / 1820g Bag; UPC 689076622370; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
- Carnivora Brand Beef Dinner with Vegetables ‘n’ Fruit (25 lb / 11.36 kg Bulk Box; UPC 689076621076; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
- Carnivora Brand Whole Animal Turkey Diet, Ultra Premium Fresh Frozen Patties for Dogs & Cats (4 lb / 1820g Bag; UPC 689076623971; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
- Carnivora Brand Turkey Diet (25 lb / 11.36 kg Bulk Box; UPC 689076624800; Date codes 13 01 20 / 006, 15 02 20 / 042, 20 01 20 / 006 & 20 02 20 / 042)
The approximately 1803 recalled units were sold in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and may also have been distributed elsewhere in Canada.
Pet foods manufactured for export to the USA, the European Union and other countries must be accompanied by an export certificate certifying compliance with the requirements of the destination country. Likewise, pet foods imported into Canada must be accompanied by a government certificate attesting to the safety of the products.
Yet pet foods manufactured in Canada purely for domestic consumption fall into a regulatory No Man’s Land and are not subject to ANY requirements under either the Health of Animals Act or the Food and Drugs Act.
PHAC offers the following information and advice for consumers:
- 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.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not post recalls of either domestic or imported pet foods. Pet food recalls, if they are reported at all on a Government of Canada come under the heading of a Consumer Product.
It is only when a pet food has been linked to human illnesses or to widespread – and usually international – pet illnesses that Canadians learn about a contamination issue.